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ISI’s new chief has an agenda: scuttle India-Afghanistan ties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a dramatic reshuffle, Pakistan has replaced the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar with Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar.The implications of the new appointment remain to be seen, but one can get a glimpse of Mukhtar’s strategy and his views on the relationship between India and Afghanistan and the troubled neighbourhood, in general, from his thesis ‘Afghanistan — Alternative futures and their implications’, written at the US Army War College.In his thesis, he speaks of taking ‘aggressive measures’ to undermine India and prevent Afghanistan from becoming its proxy, and allowing the US to employ diplomatic measures between India and Pakistan to ease tensions, especially on Kashmir.Intelligence sources here say that his role in the ISI had been drafted as early as in September by the then army chief General Raheel Sharif for his expertise in counter-terrorism and also for the role he played in Karachi, where he succeeded in manoeuvring the Mohajer political outfit Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM).A fierce critic of the Pakistan army so far, the MQM was controlled from London by its exiled leader Altaf Hussain. During his former stint at the ISI and as then head of the Karachi Corps, Lt Gen Mukhtar is believed to have led secret missions against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA).In his thesis, he speaks of taking ‘aggressive measures’ to undermine India and prevent Afghanistan from becoming its proxy, and allowing the US to employ diplomatic measures between India and Pakistan to ease tensions, especially on Kashmir.In sync with the trajectory upheld by the Pakistan military on handling the conflict-ridden Afghanistan, Mukhtar, in the thesis for his Masters in Strategic Studies, envisages the accommodation of the ‘moderate Taliban’ in the governance of the country.Mukhtar, who was elevated from his position as a corps commander in Karachi, had earlier served as the DG of the ISI’s counter-terrorism wing. His strategic mindset vis-a-vis Pakistan’s foreign policy on Afghanistan is reflected in his analyses on the future of the neighbouring country.Analysing Afghanistan’s transition when the US started withdrawing coalition forces in 2011, Mukhtar said that Pakistan needed to prevent the opening of another hostile front, should Afghanistan emerge as a proxy for India, and, to this effect, it “will closely follow India’s efforts to influence Afghanistan and may take aggressive measures to undermine India’s efforts in this regard.”India has huge stakes in the development of Afghanistan and has made major strides in the reconstruction of public infrastructure in the war-ravaged country through visible symbols like the new parliament building, Salma friendship dam, Afghan National Agriculture Science & Technology University, Kandahar, and many other projects in the health, power and education sectors.Its close alliance with Afghanistan in the civil-military sphere has made India a target of Taliban. Pakistan, too, views India as working against its interest in Afghanistan. Mukhtar presents four plausible future scenarios for Afghanistan, all of which include a positive outcome: accommodation of moderate Taliban factions as part of the governance structure.”Although India’s uncompromising anti-Taliban position has recently softened, India could still move to be a major destabilising force if it perceives that a return of a radicalised Taliban government is likely,” he writes.While acknowledging the indisputable power and role of the US in bringing long-term stability in Afghanistan, along with regional stakeholders, Mukhtar emphasises: “The US must employ major diplomatic measures to ease regional tensions, especially between India and Pakistan, with a focus on Kashmir.”

Returning hero Murray masters Cilic, Nishikori wins | Reuters

Returning hero Murray masters Cilic, Nishikori wins | Reuters

Updated: Nov 15, 2016 04:38 IST


By Martyn Herman

LONDON If Andy Murray was grateful to Marin Cilic for facilitating his rise to the summit this month it was not evident as he added the Croatian to his lengthening list of victims at the ATP World Tour Finals on Monday.It was Cilic’s defeat of Novak Djokovic at the Paris Masters that opened the door for Murray to seize the number one ranking he had spent his whole career pursuing.Murray repaid the favour with a 6-3 6-2 win — his 20th in succession — although it was far from a drubbing as Cilic tried his utmost to ruin the Scot’s homecoming.Four more performances like that at the O2 Arena this week should guarantee the 29-year-old will end 2016 leading the pack.Murray had lost his most recent meeting with Cilic, the Cincinnati Masters final in August, and on Wednesday he will face Japan’s Kei Nishikori who stopped him in the U.S. Open quarter-finals — Murray’s last Tour level defeat.Nishikori had earlier beaten Swiss Stan Wawrinka 6-2 6-3 in the John McEnroe group — although that match was as one-sided as the scoreline suggested with Wawrinka badly off key.Murray has been handed a tougher-looking group than Novak Djokovic, the man he deposed and who could still snatch back the top ranking, but he cleared the first hurdle in style in front of a near full house who welcomed him home like a returning hero.

“It was a great reception,” Murray, Britain’s first ATP singles world number one, told reporters.”After a long kind of few months, it’s nice to know that I’m going to be finishing the year playing in that sort of atmosphere. It helps you get up for the matches a bit more.”Murray served four double faults in the early stages and came under a fierce assault by Cilic.But in his first match since officially taking over at the top, he showed all the attributes that have made him all but unbeatable since his French Open final loss to Djokovic.

Even when Cilic cancelled out an early break Murray responded immediately to move 3-1 ahead.He conjured an ace to stave off a break point in the next game and eventually took a high-quality opener in 45 minutes.Cilic had chances again at the start of the second set but it was Murray who struck in the fifth game with a blistering forehand winner. Murray then put the hammer down.

“A little bit unfortunate to go 6-3 6-2, it felt it was much, much closer in the first set, beginning of the second,” Cilic, who will play Wawrinka on Wednesday, told reporters.Wawrinka will have to improve considerably.The U.S. Open champion sprayed more than 30 unforced errors against Nishikori in a disappointingly one-sided clash.Wawrinka tried to pump himself up at the start of the second set, delivering a couple of signature backhands, but he looked a shadow of the player who claimed a third grand slam title by beating Djokovic in New York in September.”I thought I could play at a better level today. I was expecting a good match. Didn’t happen today,” Wawrinka said. (Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Nov 15, 2016 04:38 IST

Nadal stunned, Murray cruises, Kyrgios slumps in Shanghai | Reuters

Nadal stunned, Murray cruises, Kyrgios slumps in Shanghai | Reuters

Updated: Oct 12, 2016 21:39 IST


SHANGHAI Fourth seed Rafa Nadal was stunned by Serb Viktor Troicki in an upset-filled Shanghai Masters second round on Wednesday while Andy Murray breezed past American Steve Johnson and Nick Kyrgios slumped to a listless defeat.Troicki, ranked 31st in the world, overcame Nadal 6-3 7-6(3) in an hour and 34 minutes to secure his first ever victory in five previous attempts against the 14-time grand slam winner.The unseeded Serb broke twice to seal the opening set before Nadal came back strongly in the second. The Spaniard saved a match point at 5-4 down but was defeated in the tiebreak.”I played really well,” Troicki said. “I was aggressive, I served well, I hit the ball nice. It was a great feeling on the court playing like this… against Rafa Nadal, who is a great champion.”Twice Shanghai Masters champion Murray, who claimed the China Open title last week, had no such trouble as he won 6-3 6-2 as he won 70 percent of second-serve return points.

The second-seeded Briton, who scraped through a testing encounter with Johnson at the Rio Olympics in August, also saved the one break point he faced in the first set.He will play Frenchman Lucas Pouille in the third round.”I felt like I was creating a lot of chances on his serve. I thought I moved well for the first match in new conditions,” Murray told reporters.

“I was timing the ball well. I felt like I was controlling a lot of the rallies. Yeah, for a first match after playing pretty different conditions a few days ago, it was good.”Australia’s Nick Kyrgios lost to Germany’s Mischa Zverev 6-3 6-1 with another controversial display in which he appeared uninterested throughout, landing a series of half-hearted serves and barely moving to meet his opponent’s returns.

The 21-year-old also clashed with spectators before being booed off the court after a match that lasted just 48 minutes. Kyrgios, later apologised on his Twitter account, saying his performance was “not good enough”. Seventh seed Tomas Berdych lost to Marcel Granollers of Spain 7-6(4) 7-6(1), while third seed Stan Wawrinka, the U.S. Open Champion, beat Britain’s Kyle Edmund 6-3 6-4 and Canada’s Vasek Pospisil battled past Grigor Dimitrov 7-5 7-6(2). (Reporting by Ian Rodricks in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Include yoga modules in Physiotherapy courses: UGC to varsities

The University Grants Commission on Thursday asked Central Universities to include modules of yoga teaching and training in their Bachelor’s and Master’s courses in Physiotherapy.In a communication to Vice Chancellors today, UGC secretary Jaspal S Sandhu referred to a a letter received from the Union HRD ministry seeking inclusion of yoga in Bachelors and Masters of Physiotherapy courses from the forthcoming academic session. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Last week Joint Secretary in HRD ministry Ishita Roy had written to the UGC secretary in this regard and also informed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has desired that the possibility of giving preference to candidates with requisite knowledge of yoga, should be explored.
ALSO READ India inks historic pact with WHO to promote yoga, Ayurveda The Modi government also wants Universities to explore the possibility of a giving preference to candidates who have a certain level of expertise in yoga for admission to the Bachelor’s course in Physiotherapy. Earlier, a government appointed committee on Yoga Education in Universities, headed by HR Nagendra, who is also considered to be the Prime Minister’s yoga guru, had recommended yoga syllabus for a 4 year Bachelor’s course and a 2 year Masters course in physiotherapy. The committee had made several recommendations related to setting up of Yoga departments in Universities. Significantly, it had also recommended that expertise of Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth, S-VYASA Yoga University headed by Nagendra and some other institutes could be used for setting up of these departments.

dna Morning Must Reads: From fresh sting video on Harish Rawat, Djokovic winning Madrid open; Game of Thrones and more

1. Uttarakhand crisis: New video stings Harish Rawat, gives BJP fresh ammoAs Congress and BJP prepared for a crucial test of strength in the Uttarakhand assembly on May 10, a new purported sting video targeting deposed chief minister Harish Rawat has sparked off a fierce political row.Read more here<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. We require more than 70,000 judges to clear pending cases: CJI TS ThakurThe country requires more than 70,000 judges now to clear the mounting backlog of cases, Chief Justice of India T S Thakur said on Sunday, making a fresh push for speedy appointments to the judiciary.Read more here3. Haji Ali Dargah has every right to ban women: Congress leaderThe grand old party Congress, which is already reeling into Augusta Westland chopper controversy, raked up another one on Sunday, when one of its senior leaders hailed the ban on women in the sanctum sanctorum of Mumbai’s famous Haji Ali Dargah. Nizamuddin Rayeen, chief of Mumbai Congress’ minority, also condemned efforts of the activists seeking “an equal right to pray”. Read more hereGame of Thrones: How the events of Tower of Joy led to the R+L=J theoryDepending on whose version you believe, it was either a love story or an abduction that sowed the seeds of the continuing political turbulence in Westeros. Read more here.5. Madrid Open: Djokovic defeats Murray to win 29th Masters titleWorld number one Novak Djokovic beat defending champion Andy Murray 6-2 3-6 6-3 in the Madrid Open final on Sunday to capture a record 29th Masters crown. Read more here

Resurgent Nadal sinks Murray to reach final | Reuters

MONTE CARLO, Rafa Nadal continued hisresurgence with a thrilling 2-6 6-4 6-2 victory over world number two Andy Murray on Saturday to reach the final of the Monte Carlo Masters.

Eight-times champion Nadal has struggled since losing the 2013 final to Novak Djokovic but overcame a strong early showing from Murray to book a spot in the final against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Gael Monfils who meet later in the day.

Nadal started sluggishly, allowing an aggressive Murray to take the opening set before breaking serve in the seventh game of the second to take the initiative.

Another Nadal break at the beginning of the third set was asign of things to come and the Spaniard demonstrated his mastery on clay as the momentum slipped away from the ill-tempered Murray.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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Former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma passes away at the age of 68

Former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma passed away on Friday after a brief illness at Delhi’s RML Hospital. He was 68.Sangma was the Speaker of the Lok Sabha from 1996 to 1998.Purno Agitok Sangma was born on 1 September 1947 in village Chapahati in the picturesque West Garo Hills District of the State of Meghalaya in North East India.After completing his graduation from St. Anthony’s College, he went to Dibrugarh University in Assam for his Masters degree in International Relations. Subsequently, he also obtained a degree in Law.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He was a co-founder of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). He was also a chief minister of Meghalaya from 1988 to 1990.Lok Sabha was adjourned till March 8 after paying tribute to Sangma.”We deeply mourn the passing away of PA Sangma ji, I had learnt how to run Lok Sabha with a smile from him,” said Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.Taking to micro-blogging site, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “Shri PA Sangma was a self-made leader whose contribution towards the development of the Northeast is monumental. Saddened by his demise.”He further added, “Shri PA Sangma’s tenure as Lok Sabha Speaker is unforgettable. His down to earth personality & affable nature endeared him to many. Sangma ji was deeply influenced by Netaji Bose.”Expressing his condolences, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, “Shri PA Sangma was a distinguished parliamentarian and a wonderful human being. His demise is deeply saddening. May his soul rest in peace.””Sangmaji made friends in almost all political parties. He was a leader who never had animosity for political opponents,” he added.A Congressman who was one of the founding members of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), was expelled from it in July 2012 when he refused to accept his party’s decision to quit the race for India’s President. In January 2013, he had formed the National People’s Party.

Umar Khalid not a terrorist but has poor judgement: Bollywood actress Swara Bhaskar

Bollywood actress Swara Bhaskar, a JNU alumnus, has written an open letter to varsity’s student Umar Khalid, who is being searched in connection with a sedition case.Khalid is among the students, who are being looked out by police in connection with an event at JNU against hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru during which anti- national slogans were allegedly raised.The varsity’s students’ union president Kanhaiya is in judicial custody in a sedition case over the incident. In an open letter to Khalid, Swara who studied Sociology at JNU, has also questioned him for hiding from police saying, that is being taken as the most incriminating evidence of his guilt of being a terror sympathiser.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”No, you are not a terrorist Umar Khaled, you are a radical and an idiot with poor judgement of what to say where, but you do NOT deserve to be jailed, tortured or killed for that,” she said in the letter.”I am a JNU alumnus. I spent two years doing my Masters in JNU at CSSS and am now a Bollywood actress. I was never a member of any student political party in JNU though I voted Left. I scoffed and chatted with friends about how silly Democratic Students Union (with which Khalid was formerly associated) still was.”That was until Kanhaiya was arrested and you and six or seven others went underground, everyone got slapped with sedition charges and the public discourse in this country erupted into the most emotive and also most polemical discussion about patriotism and sedition,” she added.

‘Ashamed to refer to the institution as alma mater’: TERI alumna slams Pachauri reinstatement

In light of the latest developments in the RK Pachauri case, a growing number of former students at TERI University and employees at TERI have been speaking out. The following is a letter from a TERI University alumna who is concerned about the message TERI is sending out by reinstating Pachauri despite the grave allegations against him:

I am an alumna of TERI University. It is the place where I, as a Masters student of Natural Resource Management way back in 2008, was exposed to inspiring teachers and a wonderful peer group. It is where I explored my own interests as a young woman and budding researcher. TERI University served me well and I have proudly watched it expand. Today, TERI alumni hold important posts in prestigious organisations, tackling some of the most critical problems of our generation — from climate change to energy access, from disaster management to environmental policy.

File image of RK Pachauri. AFP

File image of RK Pachauri. AFP

And so, the events of the past year sadden and anger me deeply. What actually happened? In mid-February, 2015, a young female employee of TERI lodged an FIR against Dr RK Pachauri on charges of sexual harassment amounting to molestation and criminal intimidation. Despite these charges, he continued to be the Director-General of TERI and the complainant quit the organisation, frustrated with inaction within TERI. Despite being removed as IPCC chief and remaining under investigation, Dr Pachauri was recently appointed as a vice-chairman with executive powers at TERI.

As an alumna and (until now) proud member of the TERI community, this development is a significant letdown. Over this week, alumni across batches have united to demand the governing council to reconsider its decision to reinstate Dr Pachauri. Several others have taken to social media to put pressure on the GC.

The key points about which we, as alumni, are concerned are as follows:

-Continued silence from the governing council, all of whom are eminent public intellectuals and leaders in their fields, and must surely realise that Dr Pachauri’s appointment empowers him to continue to intimidate witnesses of the case, legitimately.
-The message TERI is sending out to their employees and TERI University students by creating an environment of fear and intimidation — where people may feel persecuted for raising their voices against injustice, misconduct, malpractice, discrimination — or in the fear that the alleged accused will be back in a more powerful position.
-The precedent this sets for the wider discourse of gender discrimination and sexual harassment at workplaces in India.

TERI is an internationally renowned organisation — one that has nurtured a wonderful cohort of intellectuals and practitioners. However, the GC’s apathy, Dr Pachauri’s continued appointment, and the complainant’s year-long fight makes me wonder if TERI deserves the stoic support its alumni has always given it. Across batches, alumni are unitedly saying that they are ashamed to refer to the institution as their alma mater. As professionals and individuals committed to safe and fair workspaces, they are asking the TERI GC to reconsider its decision and reinstate the trust of all its employees, student and alumni in the institution once again.

For without its people and their passions, any institution, no matter how tall, is hollow.

Chandni Singh,
MSc Natural Resource Management (TERI University’s batch of 2008)

Here is the petition signed by a number of TERI alumni:

Cover Letter TERI

Bangalore University results announced for 2016

Students who have been waiting for the Bangalore University results can now check them as the University has announced the results. The tests were conducted by the University in November and December 2015.The University offers Integrated Programmes, Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees apart from Diplomas and Certificates in many disciplines.You can check the results on the official website or you can also log on to http://www.attristech.com to check BCA, BA, BBA results.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>How to check Bangalore University results 2016:- Visit the official website of Bangalore University or click at this link.- Click “Results” and then ‘BBM, BCA Results 2016’- Enter registration number, date of birth and click on submit- You will see the results will be on the screen.- Check the results and save them for further reference.

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