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India arrests local journalist for allegedly spying for China

India|: New Delhi: Police in India’s capital city on Saturday said they had arrested a local freelance journalist on allegations he was passing “sensitive information” to Chinese intelligence officers. In a statement, the Delhi Police said 61-year-old Rajeev Sharma was arrested earlier this week and officers had seized some confidential documents related to the Indian defence department from the journalist’s residence. One Chinese woman and her Nepalese partner were also arrested for allegedly supplying Sharma with “huge amounts of money” for “conveying information to Chinese intelligence”. The Chinese foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours. Reuters could not immediately reach any of the three individuals, who are under arrest, or their lawyers. “On interrogation, Rajeev Sharma has disclosed his involvement in procurement of secret/sensitive information and further conveying the same to his Chinese handlers,” Delhi’s Deputy Commissioner of Police Sanjeev Kumar Yadav said in the statement. The arrest comes amid heightened tensions between India and China at their border in the Himalayan region. The relationship between the neighbours has worsened since a clash in June that India says of 20 of its troops were killed. China suffered “far fewer” than the 20 deaths incurred by India’s military in the clash, according to a tweet this week by the editor-in-chief of the Global Times, which is published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party. The police said Sharma was tasked with providing information on India-China boundary issues and other matters in recent years. It added that between January 2019 and September 2020, Sharma received more than 3 million Indian rupees ($40,799.67) from one of his handlers. India has in recent months banned several Chinese apps and made it tougher for Chinese companies to make investments.

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Pakistan: Sindh government builds dam in desert town near Indian border

Pakistan|: Karachi: The Sindh government has said that a total of 60 small and big dams have been constructed in the province for storage of rainwater for cultivation of crops. According to Barrister Murtaza Wahab, one such small dam has been built in Nagarparkar town, a semi-desert Tharkarpar area bordering with India. Wahab said that the newly built Kali Das Dam had helped a lot in promoting agro-economy in the far-flung area of the province. SEE ALSO Photos: Stand Up Paddle Surfing festival in Moscow Race to rescue animals as Brazilian wetlands burn Bollywood: Anushka Sharma, Bhumi Pednekar and others share lockdown beauty tips Why Dubai is a ‘rising giant’ of global hotel industry He said that after construction of the dam, the area no more gave the look of any desert as it more looked like grassland. He said that chilli crop had been cultivated on several acres of land in the area due to availability of the irrigation water after construction of the dam. He said that cultivation of chilli crop had helped much the farmers of the area. Fast pace He said that border town of Nagarparkar would witness construction of total such 34 small dams as 18 such dams had been completed in the area. The work on the rest of the dams was in progress at a fast pace. He said that small dams completed in the area had filled to their maximum capacity due to recent spate of heavy monsoon rains in the region. The Sindh government’s spokesman said that the same dams would be utilized for supplying water to the desert area of Thar while other crops would also be cultivated in the area. He said that the vision to construct small dams in Thar desert area of Sindh had been given by former president Asif Ali Zardari who during his past visit to the area also directed the provincial government to construct reverse-osmosis water filtration plants for providing clean drinking to the underprivileged people. He said that the Sindh government of Pakistan Peoples Party would continue to complete and unveil more such development projects aimed at welfare of the people with the aim to do best public service in the province.

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Pakistan: Kaavan’s behaviour improving, say Austrian vets

Pakistan|: Islamabad: As the expected departure of Kaavan - Pakistan’s only Asian elephant - to Cambodia draws near,a marked improvement is being noticed in his behaviour. Earlier the ‘killer’ elephant - as he was named after he crushed a zoo worker to death in 1992 - kept standing in a corner of his shed, most of the time moving his huge trunk from right to left and the zoo employees provided him with food and water from a distance. SEE ALSO Photos: Stand Up Paddle Surfing festival in Moscow Race to rescue animals as Brazilian wetlands burn Why Dubai is a ‘rising giant’ of global hotel industry From the editors: Global Village to boost consumer confidence However, now, thanks to the Austrian team of experts from the Four Paws International, the animal is being nice and less aggressive. Still many fear going near him. The team arrived last month on August 22 to examine the animal’s fitness and medical condition before its possible relocation. Four Paws team’s lead vet Dr. Amir Khalil is perhaps the only guy in years that the animal has allowed to come close. He says it took him weeks to win the pachyderm’s trust. Daily routine Daily, he does two sessions with the animal, first in the morning from 9.00 am to 12pm and secondly, from 4.30 p. to 6.30 p. In his daily schedule, there are no off days. “I make it a point to develop a daily routine of the animal. I talk to him, feed him and sing songs so that he might be familiar with human company,” he says. Seeing Dr. Khalil singing to the pachyderm is an incredible sight. In the beginning, unaccustomed to close human contact, the elephant grew a little agitated, however later it calmed down as Khalil played Sinatra’s classic melody “My Way” on the speakers of his cell phone and sang it. Both of them also take many rounds of the barbed place with the song playing in the background and during the walk, Khalil patiently waits for the animal to pick grass from the ground or sniff the branches of trees overhead. During the work, the Austrian vet is assisted by his team member Marion Lombard, Velizar and the Pakistani staff of the Wildlife Board. “These guys are a great help to me in my daily task as it is a risky business and everyone has to be extremely careful,” said Dr Khalil. While seeing him patting Kaavan playfully on the back, caressing him, talking and singing to him makes many of his team mates and even the zoo workers emotional. “It brings tears to my eyes,” said Marion. “I have not seen such a sweet creature in my life,” said she while feeding apples to Kaavan. A zoo worker also confirmed that never before Kaavan had allowed anyone near him. It is quite inexplicable for him to depart from his earlier aggressive mood. Natural habitat On Sunday, Dr. Khalil administered eye drops to Kaavan which he said were sour because of inflammation. Kaavan has been in the Zoo for 35 years while the average age of an elephant is 60 or 65. Now it is time for him to spend the rest of his life in peace in the natural habitat, he said.However, he admitted it was not a simple thing as it looked. First of all the Pakistani government is the competent authority to make a decision. Then a big crate big enough for a 5,000 plus kg elephant needed to be constructed. Then the animal will have to be trained to go inside that huge cage. For the relocation of the elephant we might need a jumbo, Antonov A-225 aircraft, he said. Though short of tools and faced with a number of challenges Dr. Khalil is quite hopeful about Kaavan’s future and keeps pinning his faith in the bond of trust that has been established between him and the animal. “Kaavan is everyone’s favourite but to me he is a buddy and he listens to me and follows me that I believe because of my luck, the melodies I play to him and the bond of trust between us.” The plight of the chained animal had invited international condemnation and an American vet Samar Khan launched a worldwide online petition to set the animal free. Some 400,000 people voiced their support and among Kaavan’s fans include music icon and activist Cher. However it was after the Islamabad High Court took notice of the poor condition of Kaavan and ordered his relocation in May this year that the government moved into action.

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IPL2020 in UAE: Indian Paunch League - Stars pilloried for 'healthy waistlines' in IPL opener

IPL|UAE|India|: New Delhi: Leading cricketers from Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings have been slammed for their "healthy waistlines" during the opening match of the Indian Premier League in Abu Dhabi. Some players were returning to professional cricket for the first time in six months after global sport was put on hold amid the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The virus-delayed Twenty20 tournament was postponed and then moved to the United Arab Emirates, with India's cricket-crazy fans watching Chennai outplay Mumbai on Saturday on their televisions and mobile phones. Many expressed surprise at seeing top players including Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma, batsman Saurabh Tiwary and Chennai spinner Piyush Chawla sporting a post-lockdown paunch. CSK player Piyush Chawla reacts after taking the wicket of Mumbai Indians Skipper Rohit Sharma. Image Credit: PTI "I have never played more than gully cricket but I am pretty shocked to see some players in the #IPL2020 looking so unfit," former India field hockey captain Viren Rasquinha wrote on Twitter. "I can't think of another physical sport where players at the highest level could cope with these fitness levels." Veteran commentator Harsha Bhogle tweeted that there were a "couple of healthy waistlines today". Social media users joked that the cash-rich IPL was now the "India Paunch League". "Indian Paunch League (IPL) looking at all the bulging waistlines..looks like a veterans series match..," one user tweeted. Meanwhile Chennai skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni stood out with his bulging biceps on his return to the cricket field after more than a year on the sidelines. The veteran wicketkeeper-batsman, who retired from international cricket last month, last played for India in their semi-final loss to New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup. Fans swooned at their idol's body, with one user tweeting: "Dhoni looks WWE ready".

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IPL 2020 in UAE: Can show potential with bat in death overs, says Sunrisers Hyderabad's Rashid Khan

Dubai: Sunrisers Hyderabad all-rounder Rashid Khan on Sunday said that he can give his best performance with the bat in hand during the death overs of an innings. Sunrisers Hyderabad will be taking on Royal Challengers Bangalore in their opening match of IPL 2020 on September 21. The match between both sides will take place at the Dubai International Stadium. "I think I always have the thing in my mind, whenever there are three or four overs left in the innings, I think I can give the best performance with the bat. It depends on how the situation is, when I play the Big Bash, I have been told by the coaching staff as to how I need to go after the 15 overs mark. When you get such a positive response from coach and captain, it is really good," Rashid replied to an ANI query during a virtual press conference on Sunday. "I should not be thinking much about I can bat, I should just focus on what I can do in the entire match, I will try my best to do well for the team," he added. Talking about his battle with Virat Kohli in the upcoming match against RCB, Rashid said: "I think whenever you are bowling to anyone, you are under pressure. Virat is a world-class player in all three formats, I love it when somebody like him is batting against me, it is the best competition and you want it as a bowler, I will enjoy bowling to him, it will be a proud moment bowling to him. As a bowler, I will try to bowl the best deliveries." The 22-year-old spinner also said that he has not developed any new deliveries for the upcoming tournament and his focus would just be to remain consistent for the Hyderabad-based franchise. "I have been working hard on all my deliveries, I haven't developed any new delivery to a 100 per cent so I cannot afford to try new balls in a match like situation, I have been working hard, bringing new balls to a game would be hard for me. I need to be smarter compared to the last few years. The more consistent I bowl, it will help me," said Rashid. "Spinners will be key in this competition as it goes on, wickets might get better for the spinners as the tournament progresses, the grounds are bigger as well and that helps as a spinner. Sharjah is a small ground but the wicket would be good for the spinners," he added. Rashid was last seen in action for the Barbados Tridents in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020 and he has to come to UAE from a bio-secure bubble. Talking about his extended stay in a bio-secure bubble, Rashid said: "Living in a bubble is something new, it is a requirement, you have to follow rules if you want the tournament to go ahead smoothly, it has been tough as a player, you have to be strong mentally. We are used to it now and we spent 15 days in quarantine when we went to play CPL, luckily we just had six days of quarantine in the UAE, we are happy that cricket is back. We need to focus on what we need to do on the ground. It hopes that bubble life does not stay longer and we go back to normal soon." Lastly, Rashid was quite impressed by the crowd noise technology used by the IPL organisers and the spinner said that it will help players to remain fresh in the middle. "Playing without a crowd was a bit tough in the CPL, I was reminded of club cricket initially, the crowd noise helps you on the ground, the best idea from the IPL organisers has been to have crowd noise to keep players fresh in the middle. The crowd gives you extra energy in the ground but we know they are watching us from television," said Rashid.

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Ashfaq Wani: Teaching Israeli combat technique Krav Maga in Kashmir

India|: Srinagar: Ashfaq Wani sports a warrior attitude while imparting combat training to Kashmir’s youth. As Kashmir’s first certified Krav Maga instructor, Wani is the Valley’s lone wolf when it comes to teaching the self-defence technique. With a never-say-die attitude, he has been trying to master multiple martial arts for 21 years. The multi-media journalist started training when he was 7. “I was seven when I enrolled in an academy in Baramulla. I owe a lot to Dr Shabir Ahmad Bagwan and Professor Khursheed Ahmad Bhat. They have proved their credentials in martial arts of Jammu & Kashmir. I am indebted to both of these pioneers,” Wani told Gulf News. What is Krav Maga? Krav Maga is a military self-defence and fighting system developed for the Israeli army and security forces. It is derived from a combination of techniques sourced from aikido, boxing, wrestling, judo, and karate. Krav Maga is known for its focus on real-world situations and its extreme efficiency. Ankle-weights The rigorous training left bruises on his knuckles, fists, shins, and foot but he did not give up, perfecting the martial art in a single-room academy in Varmul. Ashfaq’s training routine involves running on an empty stomach to ascend the stairs while carrying ankle weight. “When I talk about combat or self defence, I mean the pragmatic methods to counter violence. I believe if you want to survive a violent confrontation, you need to be better at violence than your attacker,” Ashfaq said. “The psychopathic criminals out there don’t care about your morals, ethics, career goals or your gender. They are there to wage violence and inflict as much damage as possible. The question is – are you prepared to deal with such unfortunate situations if you ever encounter them?” At 29, Wani has already scripted history by becoming Jammu and Kashmir’s first-ever certified Krav Maga instructor. The passionate athlete was trained at one of the top Krav Maga institutes- the Krav Maga Training India (KMTI) in Hyderabad. At 29, Wani has already scripted history by becoming Jammu and Kashmir’s first-ever certified Krav Maga instructor. Image Credit: Tahir Ibn Manzoor It’s affiliated with Krav Maga Training in Italy and serves as the member of Sami Combat System in Austria. It is also ratified by the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI). KMTI boasts of training elite commandos in India. “I take great pleasure in it, and it is a proud moment for me to become the first from J&K to get certified by Special Forces instructors and to become certified Krav Maga instructor,” Wani said. He has trained himself in jeet kune do (Bruce Lee’s fighting method), kung fu, Taekwondo, muay thai, judo, sanshou (Chinese kick-boxing) and MMA before making it big on his own. Apart from serving as a combat instructor in Kashmir, he is also black belt in kung fu and taekwondo and a certified jeet kune do instructor. Wani has dared to tread an unconventional path. To top this, he has been imparting self-protection training to the youth, including girls, in the Kashmir Valley, often free of cost. “As a combat instructor, I have developed a programme called Counter Violence Training or CVT. It is an amalgam of principles and tactics sourced from various reality-based combat systems; and real life CCTV violence-based footage. We analyse and read the real life violent encounters and update our programme accordingly,” Ashfaq remarked. But now, Wani has emerged as a contact-combat instructor. Though he is doing a very tiring and exhausting job, he cherishes the gruelling training. “The beautiful part of training was to live and experience military code of conduct and to train like commandos,” Wani said. “Such training offers many life lessons and ethos. They transform you into a ‘fighting gentleman’.” Wani has dared to tread an unconventional path. To top this, he has been imparting self-protection training to the youth, including girls, in the Kashmir Valley, often free of cost. Image Credit: Tahir Ibn Manzoor As the blend of reality-based techniques, Krav Maga aims to transform people into human fighting machines to counter urban violence. “Indeed, it’s a massive achievement to get trained in the military combat system,” he said. He added: “We use to get up at 6am and training would continue and stretch out for around 10 to 12 hours each day. It included endurance training, hand-to-hand combat, armed, unarmed combat and counter violence training under real-life scenarios, followed by first aid treatment, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and nutrition to name a few,” he said. Across the globe, more and more youths are practising Krav Maga that teaches empowerment and to fight back with resilience. “Training has been brutal and ruthless, and at the same time, it has been scientific and efficient,” Wani noted..

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Britain is at COVID-19 tipping point, health minister says

Europe|: London: Britain is at a tipping point on COVID-19, health minister Matt Hancock said on Sunday, warning that a second national lockdown could be imposed if people don't follow government rules designed to stop the spread of the virus. COVID-19 cases have risen sharply in recent weeks to more than 4,000 per day, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling it a second wave and stricter lockdown measures being introduced in areas across the country. "The nation faces a tipping point and we have a choice," Hancock told Sky News. "The choice is either that everybody follows the rules ... or we will have to take more measures." Hancock later told the BBC that a second national lockdown was possible option. "I don't rule it out, I don't want to see it," he said. Johnson announced fines of up to 10,000 pounds ($12,900) on Saturday for people in England who break new rules requiring them to self-isolate if they have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19. In addition to tighter rules on social gatherings across the country, several cities and regions in Britain have had 'local lockdowns' imposed, limiting even more strictly when, where and how many people can meet up socially. Asked about comments from London mayor Sadiq Khan, who said on Friday new restrictions were increasingly likely in the capital, Hancock said: "I've had discussions this week with the Mayor of London, and the teams are meeting today to discuss further what might be needed."  COVID-19 rule-breakers The new rules will apply from Sept. 28 to anyone in England who tests positive for the virus or is notified by public health workers that they have been in contact with someone infectious. "People who choose to ignore the rules will face significant fines," Johnson said in a statement. Fines will start at 1,000 pounds for a first offence, rising to 10,000 pounds for repeat offenders or cases where employers threaten to sack staff who self-isolate rather than go to work. Some low-income workers who suffer a loss of earnings will receive a 500 pound support payment, on top of other benefits such as sick pay to which they may be entitled. Current British government guidance tells people to stay at home for at least 10 days after they start to suffer COVID-19 symptoms, and for other people in their household not to leave the house for 14 days. Anyone who tests positive is also asked to provide details of people outside their household who they have been in close contact with, who may then also be told to self-isolate. To date there has been little enforcement of self-isolation rules, except in some cases where people have returned from abroad. However, Britain is now facing a rapid increase in cases, and the government said police would be involved in checking compliance in areas with the highest infection rates. Johnson has also faced calls to reintroduce more wide-ranging lockdown rules for the general public. However, the Sunday Times reported he was poised to reject calls from scientific advisors for an immediate two-week nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the disease, and instead reconsider it when schools take a late-October break.