Sunday, December 4, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
As security personnel were making a final check at the PCA Stadium ahead of Pakistan’s World Cup semifinal clash against India, a dust storm lashed Mohali and adjoining areas. It was followed by rain and thunderstorm.
Rain is good news for Pakistan. If it does rain enough to wash out the day’s play today, then there is a reserve day — Thursday — when the match can be played. If rain also washes out play on the reserve day, then the rain rule states that, “If following a tie, weather conditions prevent the one over eliminator from being completed, or if the match is a no result, then the team that finished in the higher position in the Group stage shall proceed to the final.”
In that case Pakistan, since they topped Pool A, will progress to Saturday’s final. However, the unseasonal downpour is unlikely to affect today’s match with the meteorological department forecasting a partly cloudy sky to prevail in this region with a little chance of light rain by Wednesday evening.
Tuesday night’s rain could add juice to the Mohali pitch that was earlier expected to be batting friendly. It is expected that it could assist pacers more with all the moisture in it at least for the first hour or so.
Meanwhile, just before the sudden showers, Pakistan had their pre-match meeting over dinner at The Taj in Chandigarh. Though a decision over the possible inclusion of Shoaib Akhtar was delayed till this morning, a well-placed source told The News that it was highly unlikely that the maverick pacer will be included in the playing eleven.
That means Pakistan are likely to take the field against India with an unchanged team. India, too, seem set to retain the same team that helped them conquer Australia in the quarterfinals though team sources have said the management has mulled the possibility of bringing in left-arm pacer Asish Nehra and even allrounder Yusuf Pathan.
Pakistan were in an upbeat mood on Tuesday even though Shahid Afridi, their captain, declared India as the favourites Pakistan have already punched above their weight to march into the World Cup semifinals with an enviable ease and are now looking for a win against the Indians.
At this World Cup, Pakistan have overcome two of the pre-tournament favourties — Sri Lanka and Australia — and they are now looking to scalp the Indians. It’s a gigantic task, but Shahid Afridi is confident his troops can achieve it.
“It’s our dream to win the World Cup and tomorrow we hope to take a big step towards by beating India,” Afridi told The News on Tuesday. Afridi heaped praise on his players, saying that they were itching to take the field for the high-pressure match. “A few of the players are playing really mature cricket especially youngsters like Umar Akmal and Asad Shafiq. They have been waiting for this game,” he said.
Afridi and his men will have to tackle a strong Indian batting line-up that is spearheaded by the great Sachin Tendulkar. All eyes will be on the little master, who will be looking for his 100th international hundred. The master blaster has featured in all four of India’s World Cup wins against Pakistan, scoring 54 not out, 31, 45 and 98.Off the field, India is in a complete frenzy.
In Mohali and the adjoining cities of Chandigarh and Panckhula, it seems everybody is obsessed with the idea of getting hold of a match ticket. The Tricity has become the nerve centre of India. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistan counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani will be flying in to hold talks on the sidelines of the semifinal. Business tycoons and Bollywood starts are bringing their private jets here. All roads, it seems, lead to Mohali.
Monday, March 21, 2011
The evacuation brought to a standstill some of the work on restoring the plant's electrical lines and restarting the water pumping systems needed to keep nuclear fuel from overheating and releasing even greater amounts of radiation.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Hiroshi Aizawa said the evacuation was prompted by smoke rising from the area of the spent fuel storage pool at the plant's Unit 3 reactor building. However, nuclear safety agency official Hidehiko Nishiyama later told reporters in Tokyo he didn't think the smoke was linked to the fuel pool.
"We are checking the cause of the smoke," nuclear safety agency official Hidehiko Nishiyama said in Tokyo.
There had been no explosion, and no immediate spike in radiation at the plant, Nishiyama said.
Japanese officials had reported some progress over the weekend in their battle to bring the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant under control after it was damaged during the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeast Japan and likely left more than 18,400 people dead. But there also were hitches, including an unexpected surge in pressure in the reactor core at the troubled Unit 3.
And the nuclear crisis was far from over, with the discovery of more radiation-tainted vegetables and tap water adding to public fears about contaminated food and drink.
The toll of Japan's triple disaster came into clearer focus Monday after police estimates showed more than 18,000 people died in the quake and tsunami, and the World Bank said rebuilding may cost $235 billion.
The safety of food and water was of particular concern. The government halted shipments of spinach from one area and raw milk from another near the nuclear plant after tests found iodine exceeded safety limits. But the contamination spread to spinach in three other prefectures and to more vegetables — canola and chrysanthemum greens. Tokyo's tap water, where iodine turned up Friday, now has cesium. Rain and dust are also tainted.
Early Monday, the Health Ministry advised Iitate, a village of 6,000 people about 30 kilometers (19 miles) northwest of the Fukushima plant, not to drink tap water due to elevated levels of iodine. Ministry spokesman Takayuki Matsuda said iodine three times the normal level was detected there — about one twenty-sixth of the level of a chest X-ray in one liter of water.
In all cases, the government said the radiation levels were too small to pose an immediate health risk.
But Tsugumi Hasegawa was skeptical as she cared for her 4-year-old daughter at a shelter in a gymnasium crammed with 1,400 people about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the plant.
"I still have no idea what the numbers they are giving about radiation levels mean. It's all so confusing," said Hasegawa, 29, from the small town of Futuba in the shadow of the nuclear complex. "And I wonder if they aren't playing down the dangers to keep us from panicking. I don't know who to trust."
The World Bank said in report Monday that Japan may need five years to rebuild from the catastrophic disasters, which caused up to $235 billion in damage, saying the cost to private insurers will be up to $33 billion and that the government will spend $12 billion on reconstruction in the current national budget and much more later.
All six of the nuclear complex's reactor units saw trouble after the disasters knocked out cooling systems. In a small advance, the plant's operator declared Units 5 and 6 — the least troublesome — under control after their nuclear fuel storage pools cooled to safe levels. Progress was made to reconnect two other units to the electric grid and in pumping seawater to cool another reactor and replenish it and a sixth reactor's storage pools.
But the buildup in pressure inside the vessel holding Unit 3's reactor presented some danger, forcing officials to consider a deliberate release of radioactive steam to release the buildup. The tactic produced explosions of radioactive gas during the early days of the crisis.
"Even if certain things go smoothly, there would be twists and turns," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters. "At the moment, we are not so optimistic that there will be a breakthrough."
Growing concerns about radiation add to the overwhelming chain of disasters Japan has struggled with since the 9.0-magnitude quake. The resulting tsunami ravaged the northeastern coast. All told, police estimates show more than about 18,400 died. More than 15,000 deaths are likely in Miyagi, the prefecture that took the full impact of the wave, said a police spokesman.
"It is very distressing as we recover more bodies day by days," said Hitoshi Sugawara, the spokesman.
Police in other parts of the disaster area declined to provide estimates, but confirmed about 3,400 deaths. Nationwide, official figures show the disasters killing more than 8,600 people, and leaving more than 13,200 people missing, but those two lists may have some overlap.
The disasters have displaced another 452,000, who are living in shelters.
Friday, December 17, 2010
European Union leaders agreed to create a permanent financial safety net starting in 2013, and the European Central Bank will nearly double its capital to cope with bigger credit risk.
European bank stocks were hit hard after Moody's slashed Ireland's credit rating by five notches.
U.S.-listed shares of Allied Irish Bank (AIB.N) fell 4.6 percent to $1.24 in premarket trade, while Barclays (BCS.N) also fell 2.1 percent to $16.25.
"We are headed for a sluggish open because of European woes ... but since this isn't something we weren't expecting, I don't see the market selling off much," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners in New York.
S&P 500 futures were down 0.2 point and below fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 11 points, while Nasdaq 100 futures lost 0.75 point.
U.S. stocks, bucking a trend of late-day selloffs, ended higher Thursday as economic bellwether FedEx Corp (FDX.N) offered a bullish profit outlook that augured well for broad growth.
Market volume and volatility could increase later in the day as traders adjust or exercise derivative positions on four different types of expiring equity futures and options contracts, also know as "quadruple witching."
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a compromise deal between President Barack Obama and Republicans late Thursday to extend expiring tax cuts -- a high-stakes gamble to create jobs at a cost of deepening the U.S. debt. Congress was racing to enact the legislation as it faced an end-of-year deadline when the Bush-era tax cuts were set to expire.
The Conference Board releases its report on November leading economic indicators at 10:00 a.m. EST (1500 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey forecast a 1.1 percent rise, compared with a 0.5 percent increase in the prior month.
Ford Motor Co (F.N) intends to raise its 30 percent stake in Jiangling Motors Corp (000550.SZ), a major Chinese light commercial vehicle maker, a source said.
Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) agreed to restructure about $7 billion of the remaining debt tied to its 2007 purchase of Equity Office Properties Trust, the largest leveraged buyout ever, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Oracle Corp (ORCL.O) forecast current-quarter profit will beat estimates as it reported that new software sales surged. Oracle rose 4.4 percent to $31.60 premarket.
(Reporting by Angela Moon; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)