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Modi attacks Congress, says law won't spare those who toyed with national security

Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a sharp attack on Congress leaders Rahul and Sonia Gandhi on Saturday saying the law will not spare anyone who "toyed" with national security and suggested links between them and Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal.

 
Better roadways, trains & cheaper airline fares boost ease of living: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a sharp attack on Congress leaders Rahul and Sonia Gandhi on Saturday saying the law will not spare anyone who "toyed" with national security between 2004 and 2014 and suggested links between them and arrested British national Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper case.
 
Addressing a public rally here, he said the "society of thieves" was ganging up to remove the country's 'chowkidar' who was out to expose and catch them. 
 
Without taking the names of the either the party or its leaders, Modi said the Congress conspired to weaken the country's defence forces when it was in power between 2004 and 2014. He also congratulated "India's first woman Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for exposing those who misled the nation and played with the nation's security for their own entertainment."
 
"Between 2004 and 2014, they conspired to weaken the country's defence forces. The nation is now understanding that. And when our government is bringing the defence forces of the country out of their web of conspiracy, they are feeling pricked," he said.
 
Modi said the truth was hurting the Congress and its leadership because they were being exposed. 
 
"One letter of the middleman of helicopter scam and the 'raazdar' (holder) of Congress' secrets Christian Michel -- who has been extradited -- has exposed that he had deep friendship with top Congress leaders. He was well aware of every file movement (on chopper deal) in the Prime Minister's office. 
 
"Possibly, the middlemen knew more than even the Prime Minister at that time. He even got all information of meetings of the Cabinet Committee on Security which he used to send abroad," he said.
 
"I fail to understand if the Congress ran the government or Michel 'mama's darbar' (uncle's court). I want to clearly state today that investigation will take place against all those who worked for the interest of the middlemen instead of national interest," he added.
 
Modi said his government was taking strong decisions for the nation's security. "I assure you that those who did injustice to the nation's defence forces will be brought to justice. I assure you that law won't spare anyone."
 
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The Prime Minister started his speech with 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' and 'Vande Mataram' chants and said it was necessitated because "some people in our country have problem with these slogans as well".
 
In a reference to Rahul Gandhi, he said the leader of the country's oldest party asks why Modi greets people with 'Bharat Ma Ki Jai' slogans. 
 
"In Madhya Pradesh, a new government has been formed -- which has not even won a complete majority. And look at that government's priority -- the first thing the hung Assembly led by the Congress did was to attack 'Vande Mataram'," Modi said, referring to the Madhya Pradesh's order suspending singing of Vande Mataram on the first working day of every month in the Secretariat.
 
"It (the order) kicked up a storm and now they are trying to find a way out," he said. 
 
"Second thing they did was to try and stop the pension of those who fought against the Emergency to defend India's democracy. But due to efforts of the BJP workers, they had to take back their order on 'Vande Mataram', and now they would also have to reinstate the pension of those who fought against Emergency," the Prime Minister said.
 
He also attacked the Odisha government for not doing enough for women and said the Central government's efforts for women empowerment were not reaching the women of Odisha as "the state government is not serious about women welfare". 
 
He said Odisha was lagging behind on parameters related to women health and well-being.
 
IANS
 

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Cyclone Titli triggers flood-like situation in Odisha

Heavy rains triggered by the severe cyclonic storm Titli have caused flood-like situations in several districts of Odisha on Friday.

 
Cyclone Titli makes landfall in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh
Heavy rains triggered by the severe cyclonic storm Titli have caused flood-like situations in several districts of Odisha on Friday.
 
The situation remains vulnerable, especially in Ganjam, Rayagada and Gajapati districts where the remote areas have been cut off due to the incessant rains after Titli hit the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh coast on Thursday morning.
 
During a review meeting via video conferencing, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday directed the three district collectors to closely monitor the situation and shift the people living in vulnerable areas to safer places.
 
He directed them to focus on early restoration of power supply and emergency services.
 
The Chief Minister has also asked the collectors to submit crop and house damage assessment reports within seven days.
 
Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi said two Indian Navy choppers from Vishakapatnam will be pressed into action in Ganjam district to expedite the relief and rescue operations.
 
"The two choppers are on their way to Ganjam. They will carry out relief and rescue operations in Aska and Puroshotam areas," said Padhi.
 
He said 14 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and 12 Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) have been deployed in various districts.
 
Road and electricity restoration works were also in full swing in the affected districts.
 
Reacting to casualty reports, the Chief Secretary said: "We have seen media reports of the deaths of two or three persons in these districts. We are verifying it."
 
The water is flowing above danger level in Vansadhara, Rusikulya and Jalaka rivers. 
 
A total of 16 blocks have received about 200-300 mm rainfall in the last 24 hours while 60 blocks received 100-200 mm rainfall in the state. 
 
Some blocks received more than 300 mm of rainfall.
 
IANS

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8 die as cyclone Titli batters Andhra, Odisha coast

A very severe cyclonic storm, Titli, unleashed havoc in north coastal Andhra Pradesh and south coastal Odisha on Thursday, claiming eight lives in Andhra and causing widespread destruction, officials said.

 
Cyclone Titli makes landfall in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh
A very severe cyclonic storm, Titli, unleashed havoc in north coastal Andhra Pradesh and south coastal Odisha on Thursday, claiming eight lives in Andhra and causing widespread destruction, officials said.
 
The cyclone, which made landfall between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha early on Thursday, triggered widespread rains in the two states, uprooted trees, electricity poles, communication towers, damaged houses and crops and snapped electricity supply.
 
Srikakulam and Vijayanagaram districts of Andhra Pradesh were affected by the cyclone, which hit the coast near Palasa close to the border with Odisha. Srikakulam district bore the brunt as the strong winds uprooted a large number of coconut trees.
 
Officials said five deaths were reported from Srikakulam district while three persons were killed in neighbouring Vijayanagaram district. Six fishermen were among the dead.
 
According to the Visakhapatnam Cyclone Warning Centre, Titli crossed between North Andhra and South Odisha coast near Palasa with wind speed of 140-150 km per hour.
 
Parts of the two Andhra districts received heavy rainfall triggered by the cyclone. A few places in Srikakulam district got over 20 cm rainfall, flooding the low-lying areas and roads.
 
Uprooted trees fell on the roads, disrupting vehicular traffic. The state-owned road transport corporation suspended all bus services on the Andhra-Odisha border area.
 
Several trains were cancelled or diverted due to the cyclone.
 
According to East Coast Railway, railway stations were damaged at several places. The station at Palasa suffered massive damage. Teams of railway officials were studying the impact of cyclone between Palasa and Brahmpur.
 
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu reached Visakhapatnam on Thursday evening and left for Srikakulam by road to review the situation.
 
Titli triggered heavy rainfall in eight districts in Odisha. However, there was no loss of life in the state.
 
Heavy rains lashed Ganjam, Gajapati, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore districts as Titli left behind uprooted trees and displaced three lakh people.
 
Odisha is facing a possible flood in its coastal belt on Thursday, an official said.
 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places and extremely heavy rainfall at isolated places were very likely in Odisha in the next 24 hours.
 
"We believe that the entire state, except some western parts, is likely to receive rain throughout the day. Depending upon the rainfall, we may see some flood in coastal Odisha. However, there is no flood-like situation as of now," said Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi.
 
"There may be flooding of the Vansadhara river as Gajapati and Rayagada districts received heavy rainfall due to the cyclone," he added.
 
The officer said that Gajapati district, which was most affected, received more than 200 mm of rainfall while Mohana block in the district received the maximum rainfall of 315 mm.
 
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday reviewed the cyclone situation.
 
Around three lakh people have been evacuated in the coastal state and 1,112 relief camps set up for the evacuees. As many as 105 pregnant women in Ganjam and 18 in Jgatsinghpur were shifted to hospitals.
 
All schools, colleges and anganwadis would remain closed on Thursday and Friday. Trees have been uprooted in large numbers in the coastal belt.
 
The system is very likely to move northwestwards for next 12 hours and then re-curve northeastwards towards Gangetic West Bengal across Odisha.
 
The coastal alert has been put at 10 -- the highest with fishermen prohibited from venturing into the sea for the next few days.
 
IANS
 

Six coaches of Utkal Express derail near Muzzafarnagar in Uttar Pradesh

Six coaches of the 18477 Utkal Express, from Puri in Odisha to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, derailed at Khatauli, about 25 km from Muzzafarnagar, in Uttar Pradesh, this evening.
 
The mishap occurred around 5.46 pm today, railway sources said, adding that details of casualties were not immediately available.
 
Television pictures from the scene showed that one of the coaches had climbed on to the top of another coach, and one of its ends had crashed into a building on the side of the track.
 
Gas cutters were being used to cut through the mangled steel to pull out those trapped inside the coaches. 
 
"Our focus right now is on rescue and relief operations. Officers and staff from the nearby railway stations have reached the spot," Ministry of Railways spokesman Anil Saxena told journalists in New Delhi.
 
Khatauli is located on the Meerut-Saharanpur section of the Delhi Division of Northern Railway.
 
"We have geared up our rescue and relief machinery. Senior officials of Delhi Division have rushed to the accident site. Staff and officers from the nearby stations have already reached there," Mr. Saxena said.
 
He said personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) would also reach the site soon.
 
The train had left Puri yesterday and was due to reach Haridwar at 9 pm today, they said.
 
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said on micro-blogging site Twitter that he was personally monitoring the situation and had instructed senior officers to reach the spot immediately and ensure speedy rescue and relief operations. He said medical vans had been rushed to the site of the accident.
 
"Have instructed Chairman Rly Board, Member Traffic to oversee rescue and relief operations. I am personally monitoring situation," he said. "Instructed General Manager, other senior officers to ensure all possible help to the people."
 
"In close touch with @CMOfficeUP , State Government officials, district administration to coordinate rescue and relief operations," he said.
 
Mr. Prabhu said he had instructed the Member, Engineering of the Railway Board, the Director General, Health and other senior officers to rush to the scene.
 
"Have ordered inquiry into the unfortunate accident to ascertain the cause. Strict action will be taken against any lapse," he added.
 
Mr. Prabhu said Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha and Minister of State for Water Resources Sanjeev Kumar Baliyan were on their way to the scene of the accident.
 
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath told journalists that two State Ministers -- Satish Mahana and Suresh Rana -- have also left for the spot.
 
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Length of national highways in Odisha has more than doubled in last four years: Gadkari

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Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari today said the length of National Highways (NH) in Odisha had more than doubled in the last four years from 4,632 km in 2014 to 9,426 km in 2018. 
 
Addressing a public meeting in Jagatsinghpur, Odisha, Gadkari said the Centre is spending nearly Rs 1 lakh crore on building national highways in the state. 
 
Underscoring the need for a strong transport ecosystem, he said the Government was working to strengthen all modes of transport -- national highways, waterways and seaways -- so that Odisha is able to realize its full potential as a mineral-rich state.
 
Gadkari was in Odisha today to launch work on three NH projects of total length 132 km, worth Rs 2,345 crore. These include four-laning of the Talcher-Kamakhyanagar section of NH 200/23, Kamakhyanagar-Duburi section of NH 200 and Duburi-Chandikhole section of NH 200.
 
The Minister, who also holds the Shipping portfolio, later inaugurated port projects worth Rs 431 crore and laid the foundation stones for six projects worth Rs 3,206 crore at Paradip Port. 
 
He was accompanied by Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, who hails from Odisha.
 
Gadkari said NH projects worth more than Rs 6,000 crore had been completed in Odisha. Some of these include four-laning of Sambalpur- Bargad, Panikoili-Remuili and Bhubaneswar-Puri NH, six-laning of Bhubaneswar-Chandikhol NH, construction of four-lane NH upto Jharsuguda town, construction/ strengthening  of bridges on NH 57, NH 59 and some other highways. 
 
Several other projects worth more than Rs 4,500 crore are scheduled for completion this year. About 1,645 km of NH worth Rs 30,000 crore are envisaged under Bharatmala, including 93 km of Ring Roads around major towns,  and detailed project reports (DPRs) for these are being prepared. 
 
Talking about projects like the Coastal Highway, the second bridge over River Brahmani in Rourkela and some other projects which are stuck due to issues like land acquisition, forest and environment clearance, and so on, he called upon the state government to extend cooperation in getting the necessary clearances.
 
Gadkari announced that a 262-km waterway, combining Mahanadi and Brahmani, will be developed from Karimnagar to Dhamra and Paradip at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore. The waterway will carry 200 lakh tonnes of cargo and be a game changer for the state. It will give a boost to coal, iron and steel and other industries in Odisha and create huge employment opportunities for the local population, he said.
 
Talking about port-led industrialization in the state, the Minister said that 34 projects worth Rs 20,000 crore have been identified for Odisha under Sagarmala. The capacity and efficiency of Paradip Port is rising continuously, and this will bring a lot of prosperity to the state, he added.
 
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Gadkari to launch work on three National Highway projects in Odisha on Wednesday

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Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari will launch work on three National Highway (NH) projects of total length 132 km, worth Rs. 2,345 crore, at Kamakhyanagar in Dhenkanal district of Odisha tomorrow.
 
He will be accompanied by Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who hails from the state.
 
Gadkari, who also holds the Shipping portfolio, will later visit Paradip Port in the state and inaugurate port projects worth Rs 431 crore and lay foundation stones for six projects worth Rs 3,206 crore, an official press release said.
 
The NH projects for which foundation stones will be laid tomorrow include four-laning of the 41.726 km Talcher-Kamakhyanagar section of NH 200/23, (New NH 53 ) at a cost of Rs 795.18 crore; the 51.1 km Kamakhyanagar-Duburi section of NH 200 (New NH 53 ) at a cost of Rs 761.11 crore and 39.4 km Duburi-Chandikhole section of NH 200 (New NH 53 ) at a cost of Rs 789.23 crore. 
 
The above projects will have appropriate structures to reduce traffic congestion and ensure safety of road users. These would include three bypasses, one flyover, 19 vehicular underpasses, nine major and 39 minor bridges and 45 km of service roads, the release said.
 
These NH projects will ensure better connectivity of the mineral rich Angul and Dhenkanal districts of Odisha with the rest of the state, it said.
 
At Paradip, Gadkari will inaugurate a Multipurpose Clean Cargo Berth of capacity 50 lakh tons/year, built at a cost of Rs 431 crore.The berth (450m length x 30m wide x 16m draught) can take in capesize vessels upto 125,000 DWT. There is a railway line with full length siding (3.2 km). The container handling capacity will enable local industry to find global markets, the release said.
 
The Minister will also lay foundation stone for six projects at the port. These include an LPG Terminal at South Oil Jetty worth Rs. 690 crore, having a capacity of 7.5 lakh tons/year; mechanization of three coal handling berths at a cost of Rs 1500 crore; development of new coal import berth at cost of Rs 655 crore with capacity of 100 lakh tons/ year; development of Multi Modal Logistic Parkat a cost of Rs. 200 crore  over  350 acre; connectivity between Mechanized Coal Handling Plant and Iron Ore Handling Plant at a cost of Rs. 67 crore; and a second exit road including flyover from port at a cost of Rs 94 crore.
 
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Infrastructure development a priority for government, says Modi in Kerala

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at the inauguration of the Kollam Bypass on NH 66, in Kollam, Kerala on January 15, 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan at the inauguration of the Kollam Bypass on NH 66, in Kollam, Kerala on January 15, 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said infrastructure development was the priority of his government and the 13 km, two-lane Kollam bypass on National Highway (NH)-66 in Kerala that he dedicated to the nation earlier in the day was an example in this regard.
 
Kerala Governor Justice P. Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Union Minister of Tourism K J Alphons along with other dignitaries were present at the dedication ceremony.
 
Addressing a gathering at he Asramam ground in Kollam later, Modi said the project had got the final sanction in January 2015 and it had now been completed.
 
He said his government believed in "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas" for ease of living for the common man and appreciated the contribution and cooperation of the Kerala government in completion of the project.
 
The Kollam Bypass will reduce travel time between Alappuzha and state capital Thiruvananthapuram and decongest the traffic in Kollam town.
 
Talking about the projects in Kerala, the Prime Minister said that about 500 km of national highway has been added in Kerala since May 2014. He added that under Bharatmala, a detailed project report for the Mumbai-Kanyakumari corridor is under preparation. 
 
Modi said that the government is committed to ensure timely completion of all the projects.  He said that through PRAGATI, more than 250 projects worth Rs. 12 lakh crore have been reviewed at his end.
 
Highlighting the progress in road connectivity, Modi said that compared to the previous Government, the pace of construction in national highways and rural roads has almost doubled. More than 90% of rural habitations have been connected today compared to only 56% under the previous government.  He expressed hope that the government will reach the target of 100% rural road connectivity soon.
 
Regional air connectivity and expansion of railway lines have shown marked improvement resulting in creation of job opportunities, he said.
 
“When we construct roads and bridges, we do not only connect towns and villages. We also connect aspirations with achievements, optimism with opportunities and hope with happiness," he said.
 
About Ayushman Bharat, he said that 8 lakh patients have been benefitted under this scheme while the government has sanctioned more than 1100 crores rupees till date for the scheme. He urged the Government of Kerala to expedite the implementation of Ayushman Bharat scheme, so that the people of Kerala can be benefitted.
 
Modi said tourism is the hallmark of Kerala’s economic development and a principal contributor to the state’s economy. He added that recognizing the tourism potential of Kerala, the government has sanctioned seven projects in the state under the Swadesh Darshan and PRASAD schemes with funds worth Rs. 550 crore.
 
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He said India posted a growth of 14% over 2016 in the tourism sector while the world grew at an average of 7%. He added that India now stands at third place in Power Ranking in the 2018 report of the World Travel & Tourism Council. Foreign tourist arrivals in India increased by 42% from around 70 lakh in 2013 to about 1 crore in 2017. The foreign exchange earned by India due to tourism witnessed a jump of 50%, up from $ 18 billion in 2013 to $ 27 billion in 2017. He described the introduction of the e-Visa as a game changer for Indian tourism which is now available to nationals of 166 countries. 
 
Earlier in the day, Modi visited Odisha where he said the government was committed to the all-round development of the state and of eastern India as a whole.
 
He visited Balangir, where he launched several development projects worth Rs. 1500 crores and laid foundation stones of various projects.
 
He dedicated a Multi-Modal Logistics Park (MMLP) at Jharsuguda to the nation. The MMLP will make Jharsuguda the prime hub of logistics in the region. 
 
He also inaugurated the Balangir-Bichhupali railway line built at an estimated cost of Rs. 115 crore.
 
Noting that it was his third visit to Odisha in the past three weeks, he told a gathering at the Railway Yard in Balangir that his government was making continuous efforts for the development of the state and eastern India.
 
He also dedicated to the nation the new bridge over Nagavali River, doubling of railway lines between Barpali-Dungaripali and Balangir-Deogaon and electrification of 813 km of Jharsuguda-Vizinagaram and Sambalpur-Angul lines. 
 
He laid the foundation stone of Kendriya Vidyalaya in Odisha's Sonepur at an estimated cost of Rs. 15.81 crore. 
 
“Education leads to human resource development. But it is connectivity that transforms such resources into opportunity. Inauguration of 6 railway projects is an effort of our endeavour to enhance connectivity. It will facilitate movement of people, make mineral resources more accessible to industry and help farmers to take their produce to far-off markets, furthering ‘Ease of Living’ for Odisha’s citizens," he said.
 
Citing his commitment for the preservation of culture and heritage, the Prime Minister said that it would strengthen cultural links and enhance the tourism potential in the state. He expressed his happiness over the renovation and restoration works at the Nilamadhav and Siddheswar temples in Gandhaharadi (Boudh). 
 
Modi also inaugurated restoration and renovation work of Ranipur Jharial group of monuments in Balangir and Asurgarh Fort in Kalahandi.
 
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Finance Commission lauds women empowerment in Odisha’s local government bodies

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Odisha was a shining example of women's empowerment with 10 of 16 representatives of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) being women - actual representation going even beyond the legislated 50%, the 15th Finance Commission said today.
 
The Commission’s visit to Odisha began with a meeting with the PRI and ULB representatives. The Commission was unanimous that all the three tiers of Panchayati Raj Institutions must get a part of the financial devolution. 
 
It was felt that enhancing revenue capabilities was essential to their viability. The Commission was concerned that levying of property tax was still not allowed -- it deserved priority along with other measures to make the PRIs and ULBs self-sufficient.
 
The Commission headed by N K Singh held a meeting with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Also present were the Ministers of Finance, Parliamentary Affairs & Rural Development, Health & Family Welfare of Odisha along with senior officials of the State. 
 
The Commission expressed appreciation for the steps taken by the State Government for Odisha’s progress. On the health sector, the Chairman said while Odisha was doing well in IMR and MMR, the ratio of the number of doctors to population was well below the acceptable level. 
 
He said there was a need for more medical colleges and institutes to improve the quality of health care, especially in rural Odisha.
 
In the sphere of education, the Commission felt that Odisha required to put more emphasis on the sphere of R&D and also in HRD. Multi-pronged development is required in the primary, secondary and higher secondary education sector.
 
The Commission, while complimenting Odisha for the reduction in poverty across the State, felt that it still had some distance to cover to level with the national standards.
 
It assured the State Government of support in the issue of clean energy cess to be spent on coal mine areas. The Commission also promised to give its full consideration on the State’s proposals on disaster management and other matters.
 
The Commission has appreciated the State Government for its project ‘Kalia’, for the handling of the natural disasters and for Women Empowerment. It expressed the hope that identification of intended beneficiaries would meet the benchmark of transparency and credibility.
 
Earlier, the Chairman and members of the 15th Finance Commission had what was described to be “a most productive and enriching interaction” with representatives of the various political parties in the state.
 
There was an exchange of ideas and opinions, some familiar and some innovative. Both sides expressed unanimity in bringing cess and surcharge within the divisible pool. Most importantly, the Commission felt that if there is constructive impediment, Finance Commission must take this into account in its vertical devolution. 
 
The idea of a heritage university and disaster management institute was discussed. The Commission felt that given the proneness of the state to disaster, such management institutions are constitutional impairment and deserve careful consideration. Political parties shared the concern on progressive erosion of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution.
 
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Centre committed to Odisha's development: Modi

 
Modi inaugurates several development projects in Odisha
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said his government is fully committed to Odisha's development as he dedicated a slew of projects worth thousands of crores to the public here.
 
"Starting from infrastructure to development of the Odisha people -- all steps are being taken. I assure you that this work will continue," said the Prime Minister.
 
Modi inaugurated the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bhubaneswar built at a cost of Rs 1,260 crore and said "I got the opportunity to dedicate IIT Bhubaneswar to the youth, for which Rs 1,260 crores have been spent. 
 
"This grand campus will not only be a centre of dreams for the youth of Odisha but will also provide employment opportunities." 
 
"The central government is fully committed to the overall development of Odisha," he told a gathering here as he also laid foundation stones and unveiled various projects worth Rs 14,000 crore. 
 
He appealed to the people to move ahead together and make efforts for the state's development.
 
He also inaugurated an archaeological museum at Lalitgiri, which provides evidence of the 2000-year-old early Buddhist settlements in the region and a 100-bed upgraded ward of the ESI Hospital in Bhubaneswar.
 
The Prime Minister said the Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga Yojna is moving fast towards providing gas through a pipeline in eastern India as he laid the foundation of the Paradip-Hyderabad Pipeline Project (PHPL) by the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) and the Bokaro-Angul section pipeline project (Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga) by Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL).
 
The Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone of a six-lane stretch Chandikhol-Bhadrak of National Highway-16, a four-lane stretch of National Highway-16 between Cuttack and Angul, 6 laning of the Tangi-Puintola section of NH-16 and Kandagiri flyover on NH-16.
 
The Prime Minister released a commemorative coin, stamp and Buxi Jagabandhu chair (research laboratory) at Utkal University to celebrate 200 years of the Paika Rebellion against British rule.
 
"Besides honouring the heroes of Paika, the government is working to show the rich spiritual heritage of Odisha to the world," said the Prime Minister.
 
Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union Ministers Jual Oram and Dharmendra Pradhan were also present on the occasion.
 
Patnaik reiterated the demand to declare the Paika Rebellion against the British Raj in 1817 as the first freedom movement of the country and to run a new train for Odisha in honour of Buxi Jagabandhu.
 
With the Union Government proposing to set up a memorial on the Paika Rebellion, he assured to provide land free of cost and all necessary support.
 
IANS

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KCR, Naveen for unification of regional parties to counter BJP, Cong

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TRS president and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao on Sunday said there was a need for unifying regional parties in the country, as he met BJD president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
 
Both the leaders met at Naveen Niwas, residence of Naveen Patnaik, to build a consensus on brining regional parties together.
 
"There is a dire need for the unification of regional parties in the country. We strongly believe that there has to be an alternative to BJP and Congress," said Rao.
 
He said they have just begun the dialogue.
 
"It is certain that the country needs a change, qualitative change for which dialogue has begun. We are making our efforts. However, nothing has come out concrete now," said the TRS president.
 
"We have just begun the dialogue. We need to talk with more leaders. We just started the dialogue and we will meet again to discuss how to take things forward. There is a need to talk to some more people," said Rao.
 
On allegations that he is the B-team of BJP, the TRS president said that it is the big joke of the country.
 
"Narendra Modi in Hyderabad said I am the B-team of Congress while Sonia and Rahul (Gandhi) alleged me as the B-team of BJP," said the Telangana Chief Minister.
 
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said, "We discussed several things including friendship among the like-minded parties."
 
Telangana Chief Minister said he supports the move of Odisha Chief Minister on 33% reservation for women in Parliament and state assemblies.
 
He also praised Naveen Patnaik for his recent KALIA scheme for farmers and other social welfare schemes.
 
IANS
 

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N-capable Agni-IV successfully test-fired off Odisha coast

File photo of Agni-IV missile
File photo of Agni-IV missile
Nuclear-capable strategic ballistic missile Agni-IV was successfully test fired from APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast on Sunday.
 
The Strategic Forces Command of Indian Army successfully test fired the surface-to-surface intermediate range ballistic missile from launchpad number-4 of the integrated test range at 8.30 a.m.
 
The missile was test-fired as a part of user training exercise, said defence sources.
 
The missile, which has the latest features to correct and guide itself for in-flight disturbances, is equipped with state-of-the-art avionics, 5th generation onboard computer and distributed architecture.
 
Earlier in December, Agni-V was successfully test fired from APJ Abdul Kalam Island.
 
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Lack of consistency and self-belief led to India’s failure in the World Cup

The 14th edition  of the Men’s Hockey World cup  produced a new champion in Belgium, thus ending the hegemony of  Australia, The Netherlands and Germany - who have been  dominating it for the last  two decades.
 
For India, hosting the World Cup for the third time (after 1982 and 2010) this time also turned out to be a frustrating experience.
 
The Indian performance at the World Cup can be best described as two-toned. They exhibited some flair and fluency against lower ranked teams but lacked self belief and conviction when pitted against superior ranked ones.
 
They   overran South Africa 5-0 in clinical fashion in their opener, thus laying the foundation of a good show in the quadrennial tournament.
 
It was number three Belgium in their next pool match. India ranked two places behind the Rio Olympics silver medalists were hopeful of bagging three points as were their rivals, too, as the top team of each group would make a direct entry to the quarter final.
 
However, they fell in arrears midway in the first quarter with Alexander Hendrickx's penalty corner strike. Even though the Belgians had better ball possession and pass accuracy, India fought back tenaciously not only equalising through a penalty stroke conversion by Harmanpreet Singh but taking the lead eight minutes later with a splendid finish by Simranjeet Singh. 
 
The Red Lions thereafter played full press with 3D skills deploying pops and jinks in and around the Indian striking circle to draw level four minutes to the final hooter.
 
Canada was the opponent in their last pool game and India needed a win to top the pool. After taking the lead off Harmanpreet's flick, they lost the initiative in the third quarter after conceding the parity. However It was a possessed India in the final quarter as they mesmerized their opponents, pumping in four strikes in twelve minutes. It was surely their best encore and now were being tagged as one of the teams that could go all the way.
 
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However, their fourth fixture, the quarter-final against three-time champions the Netherlands was  their last in the quest for glory in this World Cup. They failed to cope with the high pressure situation of a World Cup quarter-final with the full-throated houseful crowd having an overwhelming effect.
 
The difference between good teams and very good ones is that the latter do not fall into the noise trap. They adapt to such situations making it advantageous as extra gas and not as handbrakes on their mental machines.
 
The Dutch played with short passes and hurt India on the turnarounds. India tried to rush things in the match after taking the lead but played into the hands of their more seasoned opponents.
 
While the Dutch managed to hold the ball getting it past their opponents' first line of defence, India's inability to do the same highlighted their inexperience, particularly in the central midfield. 
 
Coach Harendra Singh had talked about  his squad's attacking mindset but, for most part in their last-eight fixture, India resorted to overhead passes to get the ball out of their own half. Eventually the Dutch came out trumps winning 2-1 to keep their all-win record intact against India in the World Cup. This was the end for India with the only consolation that they finished sixth in the overall standings, three spots higher than in the last edition at The Hague in 2014.
 
According to veteran hockey writer Prabhjot Singh, “One probable reason for this big match inconsistency is poor or knee-jerk planning. Indian teams, both men and women, had maximum exposure in the year 2018. They played more international games than any other Asian nation. Did it help?"
 
“I think  neither the Hockey India nor the team management knew when they want our teams to peak - in Commonwealth Games,  Champions Trophy , Asian Games or World Cup for men.
 
“After ten months of training and competition, each player tends to burn out. Though some minor changes were made in Indian teams for different events but the bulk of the team remained the same.
 
"Could not we plan to prepare our teams for each and every tournament in a manner that fatigue and burnouts are avoided?” he asked.
 
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Belgium win their maiden World Cup title, Netherlands miss history and cup

Playing to the script, Belgium held their nerves and downed favourite The Netherlands 3-2 in a penalty shootout sudden death to win their maiden Hockey World Cup at Kalinga Stadium here this evening.
 
In the process, Belgium became the sixth -- and third European -- team to win this prestigious title while the Netherlands ended runners-up for the second time running. 
 
Three-time champions Netherlands and Olympic silver medallists Belgium played an engrossing 60-minute regulation period in which they failed to score, leading to penalty shoot-out.
 
In the shoot-out, Dutch led 2-0 but Belgium made it 2-2 to end the deadlock. Sudden death was applied and Florent Van Aubel beat Dutch goalkeeper Pirmin Blaak to put his side ahead 3-2.
 
However luck eluded experienced Dutch striker Jeoran Hartzberger at the crucial moment. He beat the goalkeeper but his reverse flick was wide of the target.
 
With that, the Netherlands hopes of regaining the title for the fourth time after a gap of two decade and equalising Pakistan’s record of four wins, went up in a smoke on the blue turf of Kalinga Stadium.
 
Belgium, playing in their sixth World Cup, their previous best being 5th in 2014, had meticulously planned for this game. The Shane McLeod-coached team stuck to a script and same was the case with Netherlands.
 
The two teams dished out a classical, well-paced European hockey. The teams took no chances, and gave no quarter to each other.
 
Both teams looked tentative as the title contest opened, as one was seeking its maiden title, other wanted to regain it for the fourth time. 
 
The game was a closely marked affair. The teams marked each other’s players tightly. There was also a zonal marking, so the flourish was missing but the teams obviously were not playing for the galleries but for title.
 
In the 60-minute regulation period, the Dutch earned two penalty corners in the 29th and 30th minutes but both were wasted. After that it was a keen affair with teams trying to keep possession of the ball with them.
 
 As there were no gaps, no space, it became difficult to make tearaway moves, though there were some moves from the flanks, but they were aborted by the alert defenders from both the sides.
 
As time ticked away, Belgium started dominating and Artur van Doren made moves from the flank but fumbled inside or near the circle. Dutch striker 32-year-old Hertberger tried some solo dashes but he could not get past the rivals' crowded defence.
 
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There was some excitement in the last quarter of the game as goalkeepers of both the sides brought off a few good saves.
 
In the shootout, Belgium goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch outmatched his Dutch counterpart Pirmin Blaak by making four saves to hand his side their maiden World Cup title. While Hertzberger and Jonas de Geus scored for Netherlands, Florent van Aubel and Victor Wegnez were on target for Belgium.
 
However, the shoot-out was full of drama as Belgium needed Arthur de Sloover to score from their fifth and last attempt to win the game and he did so, sending the Red Lions bench into wild celebrations.
 
But Dutch goalkeeper rushed to the umpire seeking referral for a foot and the goal was later withdrawn after TV replays showed the ball indeed touch De Sloover’s feet .
 
The reversal meant the match went into sudden death and Van Aubel was given the responsibility by Belgium to take the first opportunity and he duly converted it.
 
Now it was Netherlands turn to score and continue the sudden death but Hertzberger faltered this time as Belgium goalkeeper Vanasch came up with another brilliant save to hand his teammates the biggest win of their careers.
 
Belgium goal keeper Vincent Vanasch was declared Man of the Match while their young striker Artur van Dornen was named player of the tournament. Spain won the fair play trophy.
 
 A jubilant Belgium coach Shane Mcleod said, “We are deserving winners, the boys have been working hard for the last four years and their dedication paid off today. My salute to my boys."
 
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Australia humiliates England 8-1 to claim Hockey World Cup bronze

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A rampaging Australia pumped out all their pent up frustration on helpless England, handing them an 8-1 humiliation to clinch the bronze medal in the 14th Hockey World Cup at Kalinga Stadium here on Sunday.
 
Australia, who failed in their chase to create history as they lost to the Netherlands in the semi-finals, vent their fury on England whom they blew to smithereens to claim their fifth bronze in the World Cup.
 
For the Australians, who led 3-0 at half time, the goalscorers were Blake Govers (8th), Tom Craig (9th, 19th, 34th), Trent Mitton (32nd), Tim Brand (34th) and Jeremy Hayward (57th, 60th) while for England Barry Middleton (45th) reduced the margin.
 
In the pool stage of the tournament, Australia had beaten England 3-0. With this, the two teams have faced each other 29 times, with the team from Down Under winning 22 times and England only four times.
 
It was the second successive nightmarish encounter for England, who lost to Belgium 0-6, in the semi-finals on Saturday.
 
Australia took some tome to settle down but once they got into their groove they launched a frontal assault that sent the rivals scurrying for cover.
 
In fact, the 8-1 score line is not a real indicator of the dominance the Aussies enjoyed over their rivals. The former champions should have won by double digit margin but for the missed chances and poor marksmanship. 
 
Australia opened their attack that fetched them the first penalty corner in the sixth minute but Govers’ flick was deflected well over the post. However two minutes later the Aussies surged ahead with Govers scoring the goal, his seventh of the tournament, with a reverse hit after receiving a through ball.
 
A minute later, the three-time champions doubled their lead when Craig scored from close range after rebound from Brand’s pass (2-0). England retaliated but Australia keeper Tyler Lovell made a good save to frustrate Liam Ansell from close quarters.
 
Australia went up 3-0 four minutes into the second quarter through Craig who was set up Jake Harvie and Govers.
 
Just seconds into the third quarter, England secured a penalty corner but Luke Taylor’s attempt was easily saved by Charter.
 
It was 4-0 in the second minute of the second half when Trent Mitton scored off a rebound after Hayward’s try from a penalty corner was saved by Gibson.
 
Even before England could settle down from the setback, Australia pumped in two more goals within a minute to reduce the contest to a one-sided affair. Brand scored off a fine Mitton pass for the fifth and then Craig made it 6-0 for his side and completed his three-goal tally with another super goal.
 
England scored a consolation goal just seconds from the end of the third quarter with Middleton finishing on an empty goal from Phil Roper pass. Australia scored their seventh goal in the 57th minute when Hayward converted a penalty corner.
 
As if that was not enough, Australia secured back-to-back penalty corners in the final minute, the second of which was converted by Hayward to seal off a convincing win.
 
“We played the game, they way we wanted and won,” coach Colin Batch said. “It is good to have podium finish at this level of competition.”
 
England finished the last two matches conceding 14 goals while scoring one. This was England’s third straight loss in the bronze medal contest, having earlier finished fourth in 2010 in Delhi and in 2014 at the Hague.
 
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FIH reprimands Indian coach Harendra for his outburst against umpires

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The International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Sunday officially reprimanded India’s chief coach Harendra Singh for his vitriolic outburst against on-field umpires after the hosts lost to Netherlands in the hockey World Cup here.
 
The reprimand was handed to Harendra after he and India’s analytical coach Chris Ciriello were called for an official hearing by the FIH on Saturday.
 
India lost 1-2 to Netherlands in the fourth and last quarter-final to crash out of the tournament on Thursday. Soon after the defeat, Harendra lashed out at the umpires squarely, blaming them for India’s loss.
 
He went on to say that it was time for the FIH to seriously address the issue (umpiring) as his side (India) had been at the receiving end of poor on-field decisions twice this year.
 
However, his fiery remarks did not go down well with the FIH, with its technical delegate Christian Deckenbrock terming the coach’s outburst as “inappropriate” and “unacceptable”.
 
“The FIH Technical Delegate has decided that India’s coach Harendra Singh committed a breach of the Code of Conduct (Level 1.2.k: Public criticism of, or inappropriate public comment in relation to an incident at the press conference following the match between India vs Netherlands,” the FIH said in a statement on Sunday.
 
“As of result of this breach, Harendra Singh received an official reprimand. The FIH Technical delegate asserted that the statements from the coach at the press conference regarding umpires were unacceptable.
 
This reprimand means that the Indian coach has to be very careful in his utterances regarding the umpires or other FIH officials or he will face serious consequences.
 
The FIH made it clear that the official reprimand will be recorded by the FIH and can be taken into account if Harendra breaches the Code of Conduct again at a future event.
 
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FIH slaps two-match suspension on Indian striker Akashdeep

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After coach Harendra Singh, it was the turn of striker Akashdeep Singh to face the ire of the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
 
The FIH slapped Akashdeep with a two-match suspension for breaching the Code of Conduct at the end of India’s quarter-final loss against the Netherlands in the ongoing World Cup.
 
According to a statement from the world body, the International Hockey Federation’s technical delegate had recommended Akashdeep’s case to FIH’s disciplinary commission.
 
As per the recommendation, Akashdeep faces a possible two-match suspension at the next top FIH event.
 
The striker had allegedly “used foul language or gesture(s) that was seriously obscene and offensive or having a ‘seriously insulting nature to another participant or any other third person at the conclusion of India’s quarter-final against the Netherlands on Thursday”.
 
In his decision, FIH technical delegate Christian Deckenbrock indicated that if India had still been in the competition, he would have suspended Akashdeep for the next two matches.
 
However, in accordance with tournament regulations, Deckenbrock decided to give written notice of his decision to FIH CEO Thierry Weil and to recommend him to refer the case to the FIH disciplinary commission..
 
“Furthermore, the delegate stated that he will recommend that a suspension should apply for the next FIH top-tier competition (including FIH Series Final) at which India will participate and that it should also be considered whether the number of players which India may use in these matches will be limited according to 5.1 of the FIH tournament regulations,” the statement further added.
 
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Cyclone Phethai likely to cross Andhra Pradesh coast on Monday afternoon

Cyclone Phethai (pronounced Pay-Ti) over southwest Bay of Bengal is very likely to intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm during  the next 24 hours and cross the Andhra Pradesh coast between Machilipatnam and Kakinada tomorrow afternoon, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said today.
 
A bulletin issued by IMD at 0530 hours today said Phethai had moved further north-northwestwards with a speed of 17 kmph during the past six hours and lay centred at 0230 hrs IST today over southwest Bay of Bengal near latitude 11.1°N and longitude 84.5°E, about 450 km east-northeast of Trincomalee (Sri Lanka), 510 km southeast of Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and 670 km south-southeast of Machilipatnam (Andhra Pradesh). 
 
"It is very likely to intensify further into a Severe Cyclonic Storm during next 24 hours. It is very likely to move north-northwestwards and cross Andhra Pradesh coast between Machilipatnam and Kakinada during 17th December afternoon," the bulletin said.
 
Under its influence, rainfall is very likely at most places over coastal Andhra Pradesh today and tomorrow, with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places, it said.
 
Extremely heavy falls (20 cm or more) were also likely at isolated places over north coastal Andhra Pradesh on December 17.
 
Rainfall was likely at many places over adjoining districts of north Tamil Nadu today, with heavy falls at isolated places.
 
Rainfall was also likely over most places in Odisha and Chhattisgarh today and tomorrow, with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places.
 
Rainfall is also expected over Jharkhand and Gangetic West Bengal today and tomorrow, it said.
 
The bulletin said squally winds, with speech reaching 45-55 kmph, gusting to 65 kmph, are likely to commence along and off South Andhra Pradesh, north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts from this morning. They are very likely to increase gradually, becoming gale winds with speed of 80-90 kmph, gusting to 100 kmph, along and off central Andhra Pradesh coast and Yanam district of Puducherry tomorrow.
 
Gale winds with speed reaching 60-70 kmph, gusting to 80 kmph, are likely to prevail along and off the remaining parts of Andhra Pradesh coast and squally winds with speed 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, are likely to prevail along and off north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts on December 17.
 
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The bulletin said gale winds with speed reaching 60-70 kmph, gusting to 80 kmph, would prevail over southwest and adjoining southeast Bay of Bengal. They are very likely to increase gradually and become gale winds with speed reaching 80-100 kmph, gusting to 110 kmph, over westcentral and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal tomorrow.
 
The sea condition is high over southwest and adjoining southeast Bay of Bengal. The sea condition is very likely to be high to very high over southwest and adjoining westcentral Bay of Bengal from today morning and over westcentral and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal from today evening to tomorrow evening.
 
It is very likely to become rough to very rough along and off south Andhra Pradesh, north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts from today morning and very rough to to high along and off central Andhra Pradesh coast and Yanam district of Puducherry from today evening to tomorrow evening.
 
Storm surge of height of about 0.5 m to 1.0 m above the astronomical tides is likely to inundate the low-lying areas of coastal Andhra Pradesh (East & West Godavari, Vishakhapatnam, Krishna and Guntur districts) and Yanam district of Puducherry at the time of landfall, the bulletin said.
 
The cyclone could cause damage to thatched huts and  minor damage to power and communication lines due to breaking of branches. There could be major damage to "Kutcha" and damage to "Pucca" roads. 
 
There could be uprooting of small trees and some damage to paddy crops, banana, papaya trees and orchards. Sea water inundation is likely in low-lying areas after erosion of "Kutcha" embankments.
 
The bulletin advised total suspension of fishing operations along and off Andhra Pradesh coast today and tomorrow. Fishermenn were advised not to venture into southwest and westcentral Bay of Bengal and along and off Andhra Pradesh, north Tamilnadu and Puducherry coasts till December 17. Those who are out in deep sea areas were advised to return to the coast.
 
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Hockey: Netherlands oust Australia to enter final after two decades

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Amid nerve-wracking tension and high drama, The Netherlands knocked out defending champions Australia  4-3 in penalty shootout via sudden death after the two teams were levelled 2-2 at the end of the regulation period to storm into the final of the 14th Hockey World Cup after two decades  at Kalinga Stadium here this evening.
 
In the process, Netherlands took sweet revenge for the 1-6  defeat they had suffered at the hands of Australia in the  final of the 2014 edition of the World Cup.
 
Three-time champions The Netherlands will take on Belgium in an  all-European final  after two decades. In 1998,  the Netherlands had beaten Spain in an all-European contest. Before that, in 1975, it was an Asian affair with India beating Pakistan in Kuala Lumpur.
 
This will also be for the first time since 2002 that Australia will not figure in the final of the Cup.
 
In an edge-of-the-seat affair, Australia proved nothing is over till it is over.  Trailing 1-2 till the last minute, the outgoing champions came alive from the death with Eddie Ockenden scoring a stunning equaliser in the last 24 seconds of the game to take the match into penalty shoot out.
 
In the regular period, Gleen Schuurman (9th) and Seve Van Ass (20th) scored a goal each for Belgium while for Australia Tim Howard (45th) and Eddie Ockenden (60th) were the goalgetters.
 
However, in the shootout, the teams were levelled at three each when sudden death was applied and here luck deserted the Aussies as Daniel Beale failed to convert after Jeroen Hertzberger had put the Dutch ahead.
 
In the shootout, Daniel Beale, Tom Craig and Jake Whetton converted for Australia while Aran Zalweski and Tim Brand failed. For the winners, Jeoran Hertzberger, Deeve Van ass and Thjis Van Dam scored while  Mirco  Pruijse and Robbert Kemperman  failed.
 
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This is the match Australia had a edge, they attacked relentlessly and after conceding two goals in the space of 11 minutes virtually laid siege around the Dutch goal. Time and again, the Aussies attacked created opening and set up their strikers but all their efforts were in vain. It was simply not their day.
 
Dutch goalkeeper Pirmin Blaak was their hero. He brought off some stunning saves and in the  sudden death kept his nerve to see his team through to final, denying the Aussies a chance to create history by becoming the first team to win a hat trick of titles.
 
"I am proud of my boys, they kept their nerves, they remained focused," said Dutch Coach  Max Caldas. “We played well."
 
Australian coach Colin Batch offered no excuses. "We had our chances, many chances but then we could not convert them.  We dominated the  game but they won. This is what sport is all about."
 
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Belgium midfielder Simon Gougnard gets news of father's demise on morning of match

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Though Belgium's thrashing of England looked like a thoroughly professional job, there was a lot of emotion behind it. The joy of reaching their first World Cup final was tinged by a sadness. 
 
Midfielder Simon Gougnard got the news at 2 am in the morning that he had lost his father to cancer. But the professional player that he is he focussed on what lay ahead -- a chance to create some sporting history for his country. The team took the field wearing black arm bands.
 
In the 22nd minute, Gougnard scored the second goal for Belgium. There were not  any gestures, just hugs all round as his teammates egged him on.
 
“It was difficult. His father was pretty sick, not really well. It is a shame he couldn't be there with his father but he really wanted to play. So we dedicate the victory to his father. Today our memories are with him, especially with Simon and his father. He (Simon) was really close to his father. You always hoped that he passed away when Simon was there but he couldn't be there with his family, that's a hard part,”said Thomas Briels, captain of the Belgium team.
 
Coach Shane Mcleod described the sombre but determined mood in the team on the morning of the match. “We had words, we spoke and he shared the news with the group. If anything, it brought the group closer together. It's something you may not wish upon any one,, circle of life and so on. He played for his father today and played a fantastic game.”
 
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FIH makes Junior World Cup biennial event, Senior World Cup to remain 16-team tourney

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Asserting that it does not want to lose out a generation, the FIH on Saturday announced that the Junior World Cup will be held every two years henceforth.
 
“The Junior World Cup will be held every second year from now on. We need to support youth in sport and give every generation a chance to participate in the Junior World Cup. If we don't, we lose a generation of players,” FIH CEO Thierry Weil told mediapersons.
 
However the FIH has yet to decide about the venue and year regarding the next edition of the event . The decision was taken in its Executive Board meeting only on Friday, but they are yet to figure out the host nation and exact timing of the next edition.
 
Asked about when and where the next edition of the Junior World Cup and Senior World Cup will be held, Weil said “I think it is in 2021, but please let us confirm that you before putting out a wrong message,” Weil said.
 
“We had already presented the plan for selection (of venues) for the 2022 World Cup. We have launched the (invitation of) bids. We have set two windows in July 2022 and in January 2013. The bidding process will finish in February. Then we will collect all the documents,” he said.
 
“We will start bids for potential candidates for the Junior World Cup soon. This decision will also have to be taken in 2019.”
 
He, however, made it clear that from now on the World Cup will be a 16-team affair but said they will work on curtailing the duration of the tournament.
 
“There is no intention to increase but maintain the number of teams in the World Cup. We will definitely stick to it (16 teams). It's long for some people. We will listen to the national associations who are participating. I cannot tell you now, how will it exactly work. Potentially more games in one day,” Weil said.
 
He also said that there will be no title sponsor and broadcaster for the upcoming Pro League and it will be known as FIH Pro League.
 
Besides, the FIH also took a few important decisions on the launch of Hockey 5s, a new upgraded ranking system and international calendar during its meeting on Friday.
 
“By the end of February 2019, we will take a decision how we want to conduct Hockey 5s. It's nothing new. It's just that FIH has decided to bring it to a new level, in areas where people are, to showcase the beauty of hockey. There are a lot of people out there who have never seen the game. The short format will allow us to go in areas where 11-a-side cannot be played,” he said.
 
“We will also work on a new ranking system that is simple and allows every country to collect points. That's quite important," he added.
 
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Coach Harendra Singh in trouble as FIH hints at action for his attack on umpires

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Coach Harendra Singh’s vitriolic attack on the umpires after India lost to the Netherlands in the quarter-finals of the Hockey World Cup is going to cost him dear, FIH hinted on Saturday.
 
Taking a tough stand, International Hockey Federation (FIH) CEO Weil Thierry told mediapersons that the federation has taken a very serious view of the outburst. "We will not review anything, what we will review is complaints made against the umpires. That is not acceptable.”
 
The coach after the defeat had squarely held the umpires responsible for the defeat and to that Thierry’s reaction was that “If you lose, you have to accept it and look forward”.
 
“I think the beauty of sports, in principle, is that you have a winner and a loser. The day you win, you are happy. The day you lose, you are sad, which I understand. Even Argentina team cried on the bench," he said.
 
"When you lose, what you have to do? You have to look forward to play better and win next time. To blame umpires is not the hockey style. I would just recommend (that) and definitely say umpires have a tough job, decision to be made within seconds. It (questioning umpires) is not acceptable," he said.
 
FIH president Narinder Batra who was present at the press conference fully supported his CEO and said “They (umpires) have only two eyes...what Thierry already said is they are doing a job, a thankless job. Be graceful whether you win or lose. You have to accept their decision.
 
“Being the FIH President I have to follow certain protocols and I have my strong reservations against this kind of behaviour. A sport has to be played in the right spirit,” he added. 
 
Harendra’s job has been under the scanner ever since India failed to defend its Asian Games title in Jakarta and the World Cup was his last opportunity.
 
Batra, who also heads the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and was former chief of Hockey India, further indicated that some radical changes are on the offing.
 
“I am here till the 17th December and then I will return to Delhi. After 17th I will give my statement on the issue as NOC (National Olympic Committee) President,” he said.
 
Batra was visibly pleased with the conduct of the World Cup at Bhubaneswar, saying “From the feedback we at FIH have received so far, it has been a fantastic tournament. There has been an all-round appreciation about the way crowd has behaved and about the superb Infrastructure."
 
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We were done in by the umpires: Indian coach Harendra Singh

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A furious and fuming Indian coach Harendra Singh lashed out at the umpires, squarely blaming them for the hosts' defeat at the hands of The Netherlands in the Hockey World Cup on Thursday.
 
"We have been done in. We were pitted against 13 players, 11 players and two umpires,” Harendra, trembling with anger, told mediapersons.
 
"Can anyone define Amit Rohidas' 10-minute yellow card? What about this gentleman (Manpreet), when he was pushed from behind? Why not yellow card there? We have lost two major tournaments (Asian Games the other) this year (because of umpiring)," he said, raising his voice.
 
However, the Dutch coach Max Caldas who was also present at the briefing took a different position. “In the end, the umpires didn't play the game. The team with most chances wins the game. We won the game. That's the bottom line."
 
“We never discuss umpires. I think we always talk about it, playing as good as we can, to make sure that the ball goes the other way and can't cost us the game. In the end, the umpires didn't play the game."
 
Harendra, on the other hand, continued with umpire bashing. “Two times we got a card when we hadn't done anything. But when it happened against us, he (umpire) said nothing. They need to improve. We have lost two major tournaments. People ask, why Indian hockey is not improving."
 
He said he would like to tender his apologies, “We could not do what we had to. I am not going to stop today. If they (umpires) don't improve, we will face this type of results."
 
Talking about his team, he said, “In patches, I am satisfied (with the team's performance). Overall, I say that Holland played their game. If you are not there to score goals, it's another thing but we created the chances."
 
About the way his team played, the coach tried to explain saying, “When we don't have the ball, all players are defenders. We were there, tackling, not handing back and giving space.
 
"We have improved in one-to-one tackling. It's a mix of attack, midfield and defence . When your structure is good, you can do that and create pressure. So credit goes to the entire team."
 
Skipper Manpreet said, “We lost. We are out of the tournament" and added that the team put in all the effort. "I am happy that all boys gave their 100% and were not short on confidence."
 
Dutch coach Caldas explained that “in my team’s thinking, 'You might have', 'You should have', 'You could have' do not exit. We review games, not umpires. We review our own performance."
 
“It happened at the Champions Trophy when the call went against us and we had a draw against India. Umpires do their job. It's a very fast-paced game."
 
“I told my boys to just play the game. I knew it was going to be a battle. Sometimes we win, you lose, we are happy the way we could change things and keep our cool," he added.
 
Dutch skipper Billy Baker said, “I think we are pretty happy with the officials. In the end, India were asking for penalty corner. It doesn't matter if they had the referral. Sometimes in sports things don't go like you want. That's something you have to deal with."
 
“In my opinion, we are a really good team, also adapt to those situations. Of course, it is difficult. But we also have those moments sometimes. But I think the referees did a good job.
 
“Good positioning is one of the really important things to win games. India have a lot of young players, lot of potential but they are also vulnerable getting into good positions. In my opinion, we did that better. For us, the result only counts. That was the right decision for us to play this way."
 
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India go down 1-2 to Netherlands and out of World Cup

At the end it was a heart break as India bade a tearful adieu to the World Cup.
 
India missed a chance to script a new chapter as they went down 1-2 to The Netherlands in an edge-of-the-seat quarter-final of the 14th Hockey World Cup at Kalinga Stadium here on Thursday evening.
 
With this, the last-four line-up of the World Cup was completed; England will take on Belgium, while The Netherlands will face defending champions Australia in the semi-finals on Saturday.
 
India had a chance to get into the semi-finals of this competition after 43 years but the Dutch upped the ante in the last quarter and came out with a winner in the 50th minute off a penalty corner and held tenaciously to that slender lead.
 
Thierry Brinkman (15th) and Mink van der Weerden (50th) scored a goal each for the winners while Akashdeep Singh scored first for hosts in the 12th minute.
 
The Indians gave the formidable Dutch a run for their money as they matched them move for move, attack for attack. In fact, in the second and third quarters,  the hosts enjoyed an edge over their rivals. But it all boiled down to converting even half chances.
 
The teams opened the game under different kinds of pressure. There was a packed stadium expecting India to dominate, while the Netherlands, thrice winner, had their reputation at stake.
 
It was a tentative start to the tense last quarter-final and the teams were not willing to take risks and kept probing each other for six or seven minutes. The ball was confined in the middle with midfielders playing their role feeding their strikers but the defence of both sides making some good saves.
 
The Dutch, after warding off afew Indian moves, made an incisive move through Jeroen Hetrzberger but Kothajit and Surender combined well to foil the attack. Another attack this time, again from left, saw Mirco Pruijser into action but he too failed to cut through the defence.
 
India generated a counter move which unsettled the Dutch defence and they conceded the penalty corner. Harmanpreet’s flick was cleared but on the rebound Akashdeep sent the ball home, leaving the defenders bewildered (1-0) and the stadium erupted.
 
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The jubilation lasted barely a minute as the Dutch made a furious counter and caught the Indian defence off guard as unmarked Thierry Brinkman inside the circle deflected a shot from the middle into the net (1-1) and silence descended on the stadium.
 
The Indians started the second quarter on an aggressive note with Simranjeet Singh and Lalit Upadhyay creating good moves while Akashdeep and Nilakanta Sharma in the middle kept the flanks moving with good distribution.
 
The Dutch, surprisingly, were edgy. Their interceptions were not as clean and time and again they fumbled inside the Indian circle. It was very unlike the three-time winners who looked a bit off colour
 
Towards the end of the third quarter, Thierry Brinkman made a dangerous but abortive move as Indian defenders closed on him to take the ball away.
 
Three minutes into the last quarter, Simranjeet made a fantastic run into the circle but his shot went abegging in front of the goal. It was a sitter for his teammates but no one could get their stick to turn it in. In hindsight, this was the missed chance that cost India the match
 
Two minutes later, the Dutch countered and they won a penalty corner and Mink van der Weerden converted it (2-1) to the dismay of the packed stadium.
 
The crowd came alive when a couple of minutes later Chinglensana Singh earned a penalty corner after Sander Baart felled him. But Harmanpreet Singh could not beat Pirmin Blaak who pulled of a good save. Four minute to go, coach Harendra Singh took out the goalkeeper and the Indians went on  an all-out attack for the equaliser but that was not to be. The Dutch managed to ride roughshod in the remaining period to make their 10th entry into the semi-final in this tournament.
 
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Hockey: Belgium upstage Germany 2-1 to book semi-final berth in World Cup

Playing with clinical precision, Belgium upstaged two-time winner Germany 2-1 to make their maiden entry in the semi-finals of the Hockey World Cup at Kalinga Stadium here on Thursday.
 
Germany, looking a pale shadow of the team of yore, took the lead through Diieter Linnekogel (14th). Belgium, silver medallist at Rio Olympics equalised through Alexander Hendrickx (18th) and Tom Boon (50th) gave them the winner.
 
Germany, who have made the semi-finals 11 times till date but finished only sixth in 2014, again failed to cross the quarter-final hurdle as Belgium set up a semi-final clash with England slated for December 15.
 
The Germans took the initiative to open up the game and in the third minute Christopher Rhur intercepted a ball and set up an opening but the Red sticks not only foiled the move but launched a counter-attack .
 
The two-time winners kept pressing and the Belgians were forced to fall back to defend their citadel. Having some of the game's best attackers, the Germans gained control of the midfield and pushed rivals on the backfoot .
 
Belgium regrouped themselves and launched the counter which created some commotion in German defence who however warded off the challenge. Another Belgium attack followed and they earned a penalty corner from that.
 
Alexander Hendrickx‘s flick was deflected for a long corner. Germans retaliated with Tom Grambusch making a super run down into the Belgium circle and tried to set up fellow striker but his cross was well intercepted by defender Sebastien Dockier.
 
The former champions kept up the pressure and the Belgium defence finally collapsed in the 14th minute when a counter move created panic in the defence and Dieter Linnekogel, taking advantage of the chaos, slammed the ball home to give Germany the lead (1-0).
 
Belgium hit back strongly and earned a penalty corner in the final minute of the quarter. It led to a second penalty corner, which was superbly saved by Tobias Walter but that led to a third penalty corner and Walter made another save.
 
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Belgium started the second quarter strongly and made two good attacks from right flanks through Simon Gougnard and were rewarded with a penalty corner and this time Alexander Hendrickx flicked the ball home. (1-1).
 
Buoyed by this equaliser, the Belgians started raiding the German citadel and forced five more penalty corners but each time they found Tobias Walter a tough nut to crack.
 
The Germans suddenly looked stressed out. They seemed to have lost steam and the will to fight back for which they were once so famous.
 
As the Belgians stepped up the pressure, the Germans became panic-ridden and clueless. Their attacks lacked cohesion and they hardly looked threatening.
 
The Red Sticks upped their ante and in the 49th minute they earned their ninth penalty corner. Hendrickx’s shot was cleared by the goalkeeper.
 
The Belgians earned the crucial breakthrough in the 50th minute. Belgium skipper Thomas Briels made a good move but Walter again came to his side’s rescue but on a rebound Tom Boons intercepted the ball and slammed it into the cage, and that turned out to be the winner.
 
Belgium deserved to win and they won.
 
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Bhubaneswar to host one of Hockey Series Finals from June 6-16 next year

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Bhubaneswar, the venue of the ongoing World Cup, will host one of the three Hockey Series Finals to be held from June 6 to 16 next year.
 
This was announced by Odisha Sports Minister Chandra Sarathi Behera in the presence of International Hockey Federation (FIH) President Narinder Batra here on Wednesday.
 
"After the successful hosting of World Cup, Bhubaneswar will once again welcome international hockey when it will host the Hockey Series Finals from June 6 to 16 next year. It is a privilege for us to be recognised as one of the sought-after destinations for hockey,” Behera said.
 
The Hockey Series is open to national teams that are not playing in the Hockey Pro League. The Hockey Series takes place in two rounds, the Open and the Finals. The nine highest ranked teams in the FIH World Rankings (as of 9 June 2017) skip the Open and advance directly to the Finals. 
 
All other countries play in the Hockey Series Open, which features eight regional events with up to six teams each. Fifteen teams will qualify from the Hockey Series Open to the Hockey Series Finals, for a total of 24 teams in the Finals.
 
Those teams will play in three events, with eight teams per event (three automatic qualifiers and five that advanced from the Open).
 
The top two placed teams in each of the Finals events will qualify for the Olympic qualification events. In this qualification event, they will be joined by the top four placed teams from the Pro League, and the four highest ranked teams not already qualified. The teams will be drawn and play a two-legged tie to determine seven qualified nations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
 
While India will host the second of the Hockey Series Finals, Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur will host the first event from April 23 to May 1.
 
The last Hockey Series Final will be hosted by Le Touquet, France from June 15 to 23.
 
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