41 Oppermann Drive, Ormeau.Triple M’s super sales agent Lauren Fitch is sadly waving goodbye to her family home at Ormeau.The glamorous account manager has been commuting from 41 Oppermann Drive to the radio station’s headquarters at North Quay on and off for the past six years. Lauren Fitch“It’s an easy commute and it is worth it, as I love that house,” Ms Fitch said.Her parents, Robyn and Julian, purchased the elevated five-bedroom property at auction around 17 years ago.More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North8 hours ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa1 day ago41 Oppermann Drive, Ormeau.“I have moved rooms three times because there’s so many,” Ms Fitch joked.“The view from the deck is amazing, so is the space for all my clothes.”Ms Fitch has relocated a number of times but has always enjoyed returning to her family’s hilltop retreat.“I’ve moved back home three times now,” she laughed. 41 Oppermann Drive, Ormeau.“It’s a bit sad knowing I won’t have that option in the future.”The two-storey sprawling home offers a spectacular 180-degree view over cane fields to North Stradbroke Island.It’s listed for sale with NGU Real Estate’s Drs Paul and Amy Howe.“The construction is of an extraordinarily high standard that you just don’t see these days,” Dr Paul Howe said.“Its location is also a wonderful plus as it’s surrounded by acreage properties, yet access to the M1 and Brisbane’s CBD or Gold Coast beaches is extremely convenient.”The home is described by Dr Howe as a grand Federation home.The property oozes character with its vaulted ceilings in the entrance, gold taps, picture rails, ornate cornices, ceiling rosettes and intrically laid Italian tiles.
FILE PHOTO: Rafael NadalMelbourne, Australia | AFP | Rafael Nadal hopes home fans will still love him after he broke their hearts by completing an Aussie hat-trick at the first Grand Slam of the year.The Spanish world number two has only faced Australians so far at Melbourne Park — and sent all three packing in double quick time.James Duckworth, Matthew Ebden and the nation’s number one Alex de Minaur were all brutally dismissed from the Australian Open as the “Spanish Bull” roared into the fourth round without dropping a set.Told by reporters he might be public enemy number one after his demolition job, the affable Spaniard was taken aback.“What do you mean, popularity going down?” he smiled.“I don’t think so, no, no. My feeling is people here understand the sport. People here love the sport.“I think Australians don’t see me like an opponent. I have been always friend from Australia.” Share on: WhatsApp At least Nadal won’t be exacerbating the situation by making it four Aussie scalps in a row. He faces Czech Tomas Berdych in the last 16 on Sunday, hoping to feel the love once more.“I think the fans appreciate that I feel close to them. I feel a good connection with all the people there.“When I’m on court, I feel the love of all of them, no?,” said the 2009 Australian Open champion.“It is a feeling that is difficult to describe,” added the man who is gunning for an 18th Grand Slam crown.
The Rollers of Mighty Barrolle line up before kick off against traditional rivals Invincible Eleven LISCR draw another matchIt was a repeat of the first leg between Liberia’s two oldest rivals, Invincible Eleven and Mighty Barrolle, yesterday at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium after striker Julius Woto came off the bench to get the winning goal for Mighty Barrolle in their 2-1 win against rivals Invincible Eleven.Striker Woto got the winning goal in the 86th minute through a counterattack that secured the Kayan Pepper Boys their 5th win of the season.The first leg between the two sides also ended 2-1 with the Rollers taking the day after the striker came off the bench to get the winner in the 79th minute.In yesterday’s match, the Sunshine Yellow Boys took the lead in the 13th minute through striker Morris Sando’s header from close range.Sando directed right-back Aaron Kwateh’s cross from about 19 yards with a diving header that bounced on the goalpost before crossing the goal line.After making several efforts to get the equalizer in the first half, without success Barrolle returned in the second half with much force and were able to get the equalizer in the 49th minute.Though both teams continued to struggle in the league, the rivalry between the two sides is always a different scene.The win for the Rollers increased their points to 17- leveling with LPRC Oilers-but remaining in the relegation zone on goal difference.With four games left to end the season, their rivals IE are still lingering at the bottom of the table with seven points from 18 league matches.Earlier in the first game, undefeated LISCR FC recorded their 10th draw in the championship after 1-1 against 3rd placed Monrovia Club Breweries.Striker Christopher Jackson put LISCR in front in two minutes added the time of the first half; sending the Shipping Boys to the break on a one goal lead.The Shipping Boys later in the second half broke down in the midfield and created space for MC Breweries to mount pressure throughout the second half.Breweries finally got the much-anticipated equalizer in the 80th minute after Curtis Koon headed in a free kick cross from the left angle of LISCR’s penalty area.The result put FC Fassel in a comfortable position on top of the table with six points above LISCR and seven above 3rd placed MC Breweries.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Since no clear signals from space aliens have yet arrived in 40 years of looking, SETI thinkers are asking why. They’re coming up with a variety of explanations. Here are three possibilities from recent articles.Too Soon to Tell. Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute, writing in the September cover story of Astronomy Magazine, isn’t ready to call it a failure. He gives the standard SETI response that we’re unsuccessful so far because the search has only just begun. Considering the number of stars to search, it may take centuries to cover the sky adequately. Sagan, Drake and others knew this and have been saying it all along. But new technologies are rapidly accelerating the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, and could give us an answer within 20 years. So remain optimistic, he says, and stay tuned to the stellar radio dial.Narrow Window. Frank Drake, SETI pioneer and author of the Drake Equation, surmises that the parameter L (lifetime of an intelligent civilization) may be the most telling factor, but it needs to be qualified by our recent human experience, according to an article on New Scientist August 4. Detectability was predicated on an assumption that radio “leakage” from earth would be visible to aliens, and vice versa. Our own leakage has dropped significantly, however, since cable TV and direct-broadcast satellites became popular. This means that when the last “I Love Lucy” broadcasts reach the aliens watching from a distant star, the earth may appear to go silent. The bad news is that maybe advanced civilizations only have a narrow window of time during which they would broadcast radio toward us, either on purpose or inadvertently through broadcast leakage. The good news is that SETI researchers don’t necessarily have to be discouraged at the silence. Perhaps a switch to optical SETI (searching for laser beacons) can fill in the gaps.Look Up, Look Down. Aussie astrobiologist Paul Davies, never shy about proposing ideas “at the extreme end of the spectrum of speculation,” has a new detection strategy. If aliens were trying to send us a message, radio would be a wasteful method, he claims in an August 10 piece in the Sydney Morning Herald. Why would aliens keep radio beacons going for centuries with little hope of them being detected? Leaving artifacts like plaques or big chunks of metal, on the other hand, would incur horrendous shipping costs, with no guarantee they would survive millions of years of erosion or burial. Get ready for his surprise solution, as he role-plays the alien messengers in council:The ideal solution would be to encode the message inside a large number of self-replicating, self-repairing microscopic machines programmed to multiply and adapt to changing conditions. Fortunately such machines already exist: they are called living cells.Although this sounds uncannily like an argument used by Intelligent Design scientists,* Davies means something very different. That he’s not talking about evidence for a Creator God is clear from his next sentence: “The cells in our bodies, for example, contain genetic messages written by Mother Nature billions of years ago.” Like any good Darwinist, he believes cells and their genomes evolved in the usual Darwinian way. But, he speculates, aliens might have left messages in the so-called “junk DNA.” (See 06/03/2004 headline). He proposes, therefore, that SETI researchers should turn their attention to hidden messages in the large, non-coding regions of our own genomes: “There is plenty of room there for ET to etch a molecular message without damaging any vital genetic functions,” he claims, particularly because “scientists in the United States have discovered whole chunks of human and mouse junk DNA that seem to have remained virtually unchanged for tens of millions of years.” (See 05/27/2004 headline.) Those regions would be good places to store messages, he thinks, kind of like how we encoded messages in radio beams and on the Voyager record. What about the shipping cost? His tale gets curioser and curioser. Since viruses can insert genes into a host cell, “An alien civilisation could, for negligible cost, dispatch tiny packages across the galaxy, loaded with customised viral DNA.” We might just find that “The truth is inside us.”*ID scientists have argued that if intelligence can be detected in coded messages from space, why cannot intelligent design be detected in coded messages within living cells? For example, see “Is Intelligent Design Testable?” by William A. Dembski on www.arn.org.Welcome to the SETI Bizarre (intentional spelling), where a rainbow of imaginative speculations is colorfully displayed and dished out on the cheap. The Bizarre is popular because of all the free advertising provided by the gullible media. Isn’t science thrilling? Too bad those church-going fundamentalist types operate only on faith. Remember an old childhood prank? A smart aleck walks up to a gullible kid and gets him to follow his hand: “Look up. Look down. Look at my thumb. Gee, you’re dumb.” Try it on the next astrobiologist you meet, except with the following interpretive expansion: Look up (at the heavens, the anthropic universe, and the cosmic order). Look down (at the earth, the lithology, the biosphere, and the improbable convergence of parameters that makes life possible). Look at my thumb (biology, anatomy, physiology, and all the molecular machines, organs and integrated systems that make muscular motion and vision function nearly instantaneously, and the consciousness that gives sense to the observations). Astoundingly, you appear philosophically challenged and willfully ignorant (if you think this all just happened by chance). Which leads to a suggested revision of the Davies proverb: not, “the truth is inside us,” but rather: “the thumbprint of the Truth is inside us.”(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Johannesburg, Saturday 24 October 2015 – Brand South Africa commends the Springboks for their well-played game against the All Blacks from New Zealand in 2015 Rugby World Cup.Speaking from Johannesburg, Brand South Africa’s CEO Mr Kingsley Makhubela said, “We commend the Springboks for fighting for South African success in the World Cup. You were brave and fearless and despite the outcome of the game, we thank you for playing your part to put South Africa on the global sporting map.”“We remain proud of your endurance, tenacity and courage,” concluded Mr Makhubela.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest President Trump submitted his FY 2020 budget proposal to Congress drawing the praise ad the ire of many with regard to agricultural spending that cuts $2.2 billion from federal food and farm programs.“Our economy is booming, and unemployment is the lowest it’s been in decades. While the agriculture community still faces challenges, the Trump economy is creating new opportunities for all Americans to thrive,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “President Trump’s budget is fiscally conservative and lays out a vision for an accountable federal government that cuts spending. With our national debt soaring to over $22 trillion, we can no longer kick the can down the road. The time to act is now and USDA will actively do its part in reducing federal spending. We are stewards of other people’s money and must be diligent in spending it more carefully than we would our own when it comes to delivering our programs. At the same time, we will maintain a safety net for farmers, ranchers, foresters, producers, and people who need assistance in feeding their families.”U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said President Trump’s budget makes significant, unacceptable cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Brown said the 90% — $270 million — cut would negatively affect Ohioans, as the GLRI is a highly successful program that has jumpstarted restoration efforts to protect, maintain, and restore the chemical, biological, and physical integrity of the Great Lakes like Lake Erie.“Ohioans rely on Lake Erie for jobs, clean drinking water, and a place to enjoy with their families. Instead of investing in Ohio communities so they can grow and create jobs, President Trump is asking Ohioans to pay for tax cuts for millionaires by gutting Great Lakes programs and eliminating economic development efforts,” Brown said. “Senator Portman and I have always fought to ensure the GLRI is at full strength as communities work to keep Lake Erie clean. I will continue fighting for Ohio priorities throughout this budget process.”Trump’s budget also:Cuts funding for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, USDA’s only farmer-driven agriculture research program, in half.Cuts funding for the Food Safety Outreach Program in half, just as the first wave of Food Safety Modernization Act inspections are beginning for the nation’s produce farmers.Eliminates the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program.Cuts funding for Conservation Technical Assistance by $71 million (10%).Recommends a $75 million increase for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) compared to FY 2019, and an additional $100 million to address aging research infrastructure.Proposes $25 million will be needed to relocate the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture; a plan widely opposed by food and farm groups, including the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC).Reintroduces the Harvest Box proposal, which was widely criticized by anti-hunger and food access organizations when it was first floated in the President’s FY 2019 budget.The proposal also makes several recommendations that would require policy changes and/or affect farm bill mandatory spending, including:Eliminates the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).Cuts $17 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).Reforms to federal crop insurance and commodity programs, including: reduction of the average premium subsidy for crop insurance from 62% to 48%; limiting commodity, conservation, and crop insurance subsidies to those producers that have an Adjusted Gross Income of $500,000 or less; capping underwriting gains at 12%; tightening commodity payment limits, including eliminating the separate payment limit for peanut producers and limiting eligibility for commodity subsidies to one manager per farm.“While the budget released today doesn’t give us all the details on the President’s priorities for FY 2020, the $2.2 billion in cuts targeted to agriculture and food programs sends a clear message that America’s farmers and rural communities don’t make the list” said Wes King, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition senior policy specialist. “The 2018 Farm Bill made historic investments in key initiatives like support for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, organic research, and local/regional food systems, and that is the path on which we need to keep moving in FY 2020. Implementation of the farm bill’s programs – including new programs like the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) and long-standing programs like SARE and CSP — need adequate funding to do the work mandated by Congress. We ask that Congress not turn their backs on the promises of the 2018 Farm Bill, and that they instead build upon the bill’s pledged investments.”
Tags:#2009 Redux#web#Year in Review At the beginning of this year, analyst firm Gartner released a report that highlights eight up-and-coming mobile technologies which they predict will impact the mobile industry over the course of the next two years. According to Nick Jones, vice president and analyst at the firm, the technologies they’ve identified will evolve quickly and will likely pose issues that will have to be addressed by short term strategies. Editor’s note: This story is part of a series we call Redux, where we’ll re-publish some of our best posts of 2009. As we look back at the year – and ahead to what next year holds – we think these are the stories that deserve a second glance. It’s not just a best-of list, it’s also a collection of posts that examine the fundamental issues that continue to shape the Web. We hope you enjoy reading them again and we look forward to bringing you more Web products and trends analysis in 2010. Happy holidays from Team ReadWriteWeb!The eight technologies identified include the following:Bluetooth 3.0 This is one of the no-brainers on the list. The Bluetooth 3.0 specification will be released this year and devices will start to hit the shelves by 2010. At this point, it’s expected that the 3.0 spec will include faster speeds, reportedly transferring files at 480 megabits per second in close proximity and 100 megabits per second at 10 meters. It will also feature an ultra-low-power mode that Gartner predicts will enable new peripherals, sensors, and applications, such as health monitoring. The technology will be backwards compatible, allowing old devices to communicate with new ones, so there’s no reason for it not take off in the upcoming years. Mobile User Interfaces + Mobile Web/WidgetsMobile user interfaces and mobile web/widgets were listed separately, accounting for two items on the list, but we think they can be lumped together. They all point to how mobile computing is rapidly becoming a new platform for everything from consumer mobile apps to B2E (business-to-employee) and B2C (business-to-customer). (Gartner did not include B2B on their list.) Modern day smartphones like the iPhone, Android, Blackberry, the upcoming Pre, and others deliver better interfaces for browsing the web, thus making it accessible to more people. Widget-like applications, including those that replicate thin client technology, will become more common especially in B2C strategies. Yet the mobile web still has challenges ahead. For example, there are no standards for browser access to handset services like the camera or GPS, the report notes. Location AwarenessLocation sensing, powered by GPS as well as Wi-Fi and triangulation, opens up new possibilities for mobile social networking and presence applications. Technology’s earliest adopters are already familiar with social networks like Brightkite and Loopt which let you reveal your location to a network of friends. But we’re still on the tip of this iceberg. Take for example, the iPhone IM client Palringo, they’re just now adding location services to their application. This allows users to see how far away their contacts are, introducing a whole new dimension to mobile communication. Over the next year or two, this sort of technology is expected to become more commonplace, but it will also raise questions about privacy. Will you want your network of online friends and acquaintances to really know your exact location? Will turning off location awareness signal that you’re up to something sneaky (so asks the suspicious wife, husband, boss, etc.)? As a society, we will have to answer these questions and more in the near future. Near Field Communication (NFC) NFC is a technology that provides a way for consumers to use their mobile phones for making payments, among other things. It’s something that has taken off in many countries worldwide, but certainly not all, and definitely not in the United States just yet. Unfortunately, Gartner predicts that the move towards mobile payment systems will still not occur this year or the next in mature markets like the U.S. and Western Europe. Instead, NFC is more likely to take off in emerging markets. Other uses of the technology, such as the ability to transfer photos from phone to digital photo frames, will also remain elusive to more developed markets. 802.11n & Cellular Broadband802.11n, a specification for wireless local area networks (WLANs), initially gave us pause. Although not ratified as an official standard yet, the technology is already commonplace. However, until it “goes gold” so to speak, it won’t really infiltrate the mobile world. Even the ubiquitous iPhone only supports 802.11 b/g at the moment. On the flip side, the other Internet connection technology, cellular broadband, has the potential to make Wi-Fi almost unnecessary, at least for achieving high speeds. In addition to mobile phones, laptop makers will likely continue to incorporate this technology into their netbooks and notebooks using modern chipsets that provide superior performance to our current crop of add-on cards and dongles.Display Technologies Display technologies will also see improvements in the upcoming years. New technologies like active pixel displays, passive displays and pico projectors will have an impact. Pico projectors – the tiny portable projectors we saw being introduced at this year’s CES – will enable new mobile use cases. Instant presentations in informal settings could become more common when there isn’t large, cumbersome equipment to set up. The different types of display technologies introduced in 2009 and 2010 will become important differentiators between devices and will impact user selection criterion, says Gartner. For more information on these above technologies, you can read through the full report available here on Gartner’s web site. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments on how you think the mobile space will be impacted in the future. sarah perez Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market
View comments LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City “And so this is what systemic oppression looks like — a man with power comes to the game, tweets a couple things out and leaves the game with an attempt to thwart our efforts.”Pence, who flew to Indianapolis from Las Vegas and was scheduled to head back west to California, was criticized in other quarters as well.“After all the scandals involving unnecessarily expensive travel by cabinet secretaries, how much taxpayer money was wasted on this stunt?” US congressman Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, said in a tweet. BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Members of the San Francisco 49ers kneel for the National Anthem before the start of the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. FILE PHOTO/Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFPUS Vice President Mike Pence walked out of an NFL game Sunday when some players kneeled for the national anthem, the latest twist in a running saga over the controversial protests against racial injustice.Pence said that he departed after seeing players kneel during “The Star-Spangled Banner” ahead of the clash between his home team the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa LATEST STORIES Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients Trump took credit for the departure of Pence and his wife from the stadium in a later tweet, saying, “I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.”San Francisco safety Eric Reid, one of the players to embrace the anthem protest after it was initiated by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick last year, said Pence’s walk-out looked like a publicity stunt.“With the information I have, the last time he went to a Colts game was three years ago, so this looks like a PR stunt to me,” said Reid, noting that the picture Pence had tweeted of himself and his wife in Colts apparel appeared to be the same as one taken at a game three years ago.The vice president also tweeted a picture of himself, clad in a button-down shirt and blazer, and his wife standing for the anthem on Sunday.“He knew our team has had the most players protest. He knew we were probably going to do it again,” Reid said.ADVERTISEMENT Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH “I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” Pence wrote on Twitter.While Colts players stood arm-in-arm at their home game in Indianapolis, more than 20 of the opposition San Francisco 49ers players knelt during the song.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutIt was a less organized gesture than the team’s demonstration last week, when 30 players kneeled with hands on hearts while teammates stood behind them, but it should have come as little shock to Pence, an Indiana native who tweeted his photo in Colts cap and shirt before the game.“While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I don’t think it’s too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem,” Pence tweeted. “I stand with President Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem.” Makabayan bloc defends protesting workers, tells Año to ‘shut up’ PLAY LIST 02:11Makabayan bloc defends protesting workers, tells Año to ‘shut up’00:50Trending Articles02:11CJ Peralta assures fair decision on Marcos poll protest vs Robredo01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Curry scores 40, Warriors rout Wolves in Shanghai Read Next MOST READ
Early in cricket’s never-ending and completely tiresome match-fixing scandal, sports writers with a sense of history turned their gaze to the infamous 1919 baseball rigging scandal in the US. That year the Chicago White Sox had lost the World Series to the underrated Cincinnati Reds and eight of its players,Early in cricket’s never-ending and completely tiresome match-fixing scandal, sports writers with a sense of history turned their gaze to the infamous 1919 baseball rigging scandal in the US. That year the Chicago White Sox had lost the World Series to the underrated Cincinnati Reds and eight of its players were disgraced and banned for life.The star batsman of the team, Joe Jackson-nicknamed “Shoeless” in a literal indication of the near-poverty that led him to temptation-is still seen in baseball annals as the great American fallen angel, the sort of anti-hero Kapil Dev or Mohammed Azharuddin would be if convicted.MD AZHARUDDINThe IT raid found * Evidence of three flats in Mumbai, undisclosed property in Hyderabad, lavish personal effects. The legal upshot The IT team has to go through Azhar’s returns for a decade to decide if he possesses black money. Only if so can the CBI ask if it’s a slush fund.Tortuous.KAPIL DEVThe IT raid found Five properties in Delhi, probable irregularities in coal business, “gifted” cars. Rs 5 lakh jewels in only one locker. The legal upshot Most Indian businessmen have a tax problem. So to try and link his wealth to fixing will require a process similar to Azhar’s. Section 420 looks some distance away.AJAY JADEJAThe IT raid foundThree properties in Delhi, suspicions of more. Name appeared in abookie-business partner’s records. The legal upshot That his nameappears in Hiren Hathi’s diary is not enough.The hawala case precedentis there. Besides knowing shady characters is per se not a crime.NAVJOT SIDHUThe IT raid found Unexplained property. A VDIS declaration of Rs 81 lakh.Plus “gifts” from admirers amounting to Rs 65 lakh. The legal upshotPrima facie the IT-CBI team may be able to ask some sticky questions tothis man. Nevertheless, it has to be proven that his donors were bookies bribing him.NIKHIL CHOPRAThe IT raid found Some inexplicable property papers and foreign exchange. His biggest”crime” seems being Mukesh Gupta’s neighbour. The legal upshot Like anumber of Delhi cricketers, seems to have, unwittingly or not, met a lot of bookies. But there is no direct link of “gift” leading tounderperformance. Can’t be held responsible for neighbours. That final point is crucial for the parallels between baseball’s year of darkness-it was the culmination of betting syndicates’ insidious influence on the game and actually led to a purge-and cricket’s moment of infamy are striking. The most marked similarity relates to the legality of the match-fixing case. When the baseball commissioner punished the guilty players, he did so “regardless of the verdict of juries” and on the day after they were acquitted by the court.advertisementThe reasons for their acquittal sound suspiciously familiar. Some players initially confessed and then retracted their confession. Important documents “disappeared” mid-trial. Nobody was sure precisely which law was infringed in fixing a baseball game. Defendants such as Jackson kept changing their minds, stating they had heard rumours of fixing, had refused offers, had accepted money without meaning to throw matches.Eight decades later Hansie Cronje read from an identical script. Eight decades later the CBI-despite the great drama of the Income-Tax (IT) Department’s “Operation Gentleman”-is on as sticky a legal wicket as the Ohio judicial system was in 1919. In sum, India’s premier investigators admit that nailing the cricketers on the charge of match fixing is well nigh impossible.That is why they are hoping that the trauma of an IT raid and interrogation and sheer public opprobrium will lead to some Indian cricketer cracking up and spilling the beans. After all, it was psychological pressure and that wily being called conscience that did in Cronje and his teammates.Yet, as a cynical Delhi lawyer who represents a senior cricket official snorts, “South Africa ke cricketer bewakoof hain. Hamare cricketer bewakoof nahin (The South African cricketers are fools. Our cricketers are not).” So expect nothing close to the truth-with oath, without oath, in spite of oath. The CBI’s last hope, then, is a slender one.That, however, is getting ahead of the story. For a start, top lawyers can’t even agree if a plain case of cheating under Section 420 can be registered against the cricketers for match-fixing and if so who the complainant should be.Mumbai lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani says, “Any paying spectator can complain that he was made to part with property (ticket fees) to see an unfair match.” While Section 420 is applicable and the matter could even go to court, Jethmalani, Azharuddin’s lawyer, says, “it will be virtually impossible to prove” and obtain a conviction.R.K. Anand, one of Delhi’s leading criminal lawyers, is simple in his verdict: “There is no case.” His logic is that under Section 420 “Whoever cheats and thereby dishonestly induces the person deceived to deliver any property to any person … shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to seven years”spectators cannot file a complaint because the cricketers have not “induced” them to pay to see the match. The only possible aggrieved party is the BCCI, which is committed to paying cricketers a set fee for an optimum performance. Even here, argues Anand, “building a case under section 420 is very far-fetched”.Ashok Arora, another lawyer in the capital, is far more optimistic. “A case under Section 420,” he says, “is absolutely on.” The spectator has paid to see a fair fixture and can be the complainant. “It is a cognisable offence and the police will be forced to investigate.” When it comes to securing a “guilty” verdict, however, Arora is less certain. While “tapes of conversations and the like are evidence on record and admissible if not doctored and so authenticated”, they need to be corroborated.advertisementArora should understand the importance of “corroborative evidence”, a phrase much used in the hawala case, in which he was a defending lawyer and which came back as a whipping memory when, after the IT raids, there was talk of “incriminating diaries”. Apparently, at the homes of certain bookies diaries and books were found with amounts marked against names of cricketers. Hiren Hathi of Ahmedabad, for instance, had-to quote a tax offi-ciala diary seized “with the names of Ajay Jadeja and Kapil Dev written against sums of money”.The chargesheet in the hawala case was filed in 1996 on exactly such a flimsy basis-entries in the diaries of the Jain brothers, showing sums of money against the names of politicians to whom they had allegedly been paid. The case was thrown out of court and the hawala accused walked out unblemished. Now legal circles are wondering if the cricket swindle will be hawala II.Anyhow, with hope in its heart and prayer on its lips, CBI is looking at three stages to a denouement-or mirage.Step I: First the agency has to establish that there are bookies who run a gambling grey market in India and accept bets on cricket. This is relatively simple. Some 100 bookies have been questioned by the CBI since the beginning of May-25-odd are still absconding.Most of the bookies questioned have admitted accepting cricket-related bets-the menu of betting options actually ranges from horse racing to speculation on who will read the evening news on television. Less than 20 bookies have admitted to “links” with cricketers. Eight Indian players figure prominently on this list, six are Delhi-based-including a former Indian captain who is a compulsive punter and even bets while teeing of f at the Delhi Golf Club-and the other two are from Mumbai and Hyderabad.Step II: This involves proving that cricketers were in touch with bookies on match days and kept tabs on odds. The CBI is tentatively optimistic here, particularly due to the mobile phone records of cricketers and big bookies. These indicate regular conversations between the Indian dressing room and the betting nodal rooms as it were.advertisementHowever, all this will lead to is a rough conclusion that Indian cricketers were perhaps punters and could be prosecuted under the Gambling Act (maximum punishment: Rs 500 fine). It will not establish rigging.Step III: The CBI could register a case against a bookie or a player under Section 420 after establishing a direct link between underperformance in a match and monetary consideration. This is where the danger gong is sounded. How do you make clear the channel by which bookies paid corrupt cricketers? Bank deposits? Hawala? Lifetime achievement awards from rich NRIs?Plaintiff’s PointDefendant’s CounterThe CBI’s possible case And the cricketers’ likely answerThey’re cheats: Register cases under Section 420, accusing fixers of cheating spectators of a fair game.Diary items: Names of cricketers have been found against sums of money in bookies’ diaries.Take a gamble: Charge cricketers under the Gambling Act by accusing them of links with bookies.Liar, liar: Invoke sections such as 191 and 193, charge cricketers with hiding or fabricating evidence.Tax evasion trick: The IT raids reveal huge assets, perhaps the result of ill-gotten, fixing-time gains.The King route: Set up a South Africa-type commission, appeal to cricketers to come clean.Who’ve we cheated?: Section 420 requires “inducement” of property (money) from victim. Sticky point.Remember hawala: The hawala case collapsed because diary entries alone were insufficient evidence.Damp squib: It still doesn’t prove match-fixing. Besides the Gambling Act entails only a Rs 500 fine.Truth or dare: Will only work if you prove they’ve lied under oath. Besides real fixers may still get away.Penalty corner: Charge the usual tax penalty and leave us alone. Every second Indian evades taxes anyway.Royal salute: Indian player-fixers are too shrewd to let a minor being like a conscience prick them. In Delhi, one cricketer was gifted a house worth Rs 50 lakh by a noted bookie. The many expensive gifts cricketers receive from overseas “fans” are sometimes used as a conduit to “pay cricketers for services rendered”. The point is: can you link these with the tanking of a specific match? Nishit Dhruva, senior advocate, Bombay High Court, says, “For the prosecution to prove the linkage will be very difficult.”The CBI certainly isn’t confident. As an officer says, even the IT raids haven’t really helped because a particular cricketer’s wealth will have to be correlated with a chosen bookie’s allegation of payment at a given time. Since bribes are rarely paid by crossed cheques that are instantly deposited, this logic has a snowball’s chance in hell of working.It is for reasons such as these that the CBI privately admits it is likely to end its investigations in a couple of months without filing a chargesheet and submit a report explaining its limitations to the Government-and cricket will presumably go back into its complacent slumber. No wonder Adhik Shirodkar, a top Mumbai lawyer, says, “This is no way to go about fixing the fixers. Even if you begin a criminal trial, it will take 10 years.”Shirodkar recommends a BCCI-imposed ban on grounds of “reasonable suspicion”. Arora has a slightly different strategy. If you analyse the secretly recorded Manoj Prabhakar tapes, he says, the testimony offered by some cricketers and officials before the Justice Y.V. Chandrachud Commission and then before the CBI and, should trial begin, before the court, you are likely to find “huge contradictions”.Obviously some people are saying one thing in private and another in public, to protect their friends in a conspiracy of silence, even if they themselves are not guilty. Arora proposes that they be charged under Sections 191 and 193 for giving false evidence and “sent to jail to put the fear of God into others”. Like a crafty bowler, cricket’s cleansing agents may have to resort to a legal googly. Bowling a tidy length doesn’t seem to be getting them anywhere.-with V. Shankar Aiyar in Mumbai
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