In High Spirits

first_img“Sita promises the river Ganga a thousand jars of wine if her exiled party were to return home safe. After they do so, Rama feeds her with his own hands with maireya, a spiced wine,” writes K.T. Achaya in Indian Food – A Historical Companion. Alpana Singh became the youngest Master Sommelier in the world at age 26. “I never thought I would end up in this profession” “Meanwhile the happy public in the city outside indulge in drunken orgies, and even the atmosphere of Ayodhya reeked of wine. In the Mahabharata, Krishna enjoys drinking freely with Arjuna and the Yadavas are finally killed in a drunken brawl.”You may find it hard to believe that in the straitlaced Indian culture even the gods were reputed to imbibe wine, but you need only glance at the sculptures on the walls of the Krishna temples in Mathura, the Sanchi Stupa or the Chalukyan temples in South India to see the drinking scenes of daily ancient Indian life. The Kamasutra, as well as Kalidasa’s plays, all evoke wine and Sanskrit literature describes the feisty taverns of Mauryan times where customers drank fermented and alcoholic drinks throughout the day and well into the night, eating salt to encourage their thirst.Indeed, long before there were wineries in Bordeaux, or the Napa or Sonoma Valley, Indians were into wine, big time! Sanskrit literature relates tales of Kapisayani, wine made from white grapes, imported from Kapisis, Afghanistan and Harahuraka, which is wine made from black grapes imported from Harahur, Afghanistan. The Vedas described intoxicating drinks distilled from fermented mahua and Kadamba flowers, dates or mangoes, and even now Madhira, the Sanskrit word for wine, is still used in our Hindi poems and Bollywood lyrics and, of course, shairis and ghazals, love poems from the Muslim ethos, have enough wine in them to cause a flood!Given everything else Indian Americans are into in this country, it was inevitable, that a few would venture into Sonoma and Napa Valleys, America’s wine country. When you drink fine wine in upscale restaurants in cities like Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco or New York, it may well be a bottle from an Indian American owned vineyard!So, how about a bottle of wine? Or better still, how about 1.5 million bottles of wine? Madaiah Revana: ” I wanted to make the best wine – not just the best Californian wine” The lush vineyards stretch over 650 acres in California’s verdant Napa Valley. Calvin Sidhu, real name Kulwinder, is just 37, but he’s certainly seen his share of the grape. He is chief executive officer of the well-reputed Freemark Abbey Winery, where his brother Dev, real name Devendra, is chief operation officer of this, one of the oldest wineries in California. Ever year, more than 125,000 cases of premium wine pass through their hands – just as basmati rice passed through the hands of their ancestors in the villages of the Punjab.“My father’s family had farms in the Punjab for 400 years. They grew wheat and rice,” says Calvin Sidhu. Their father left the village life for Canada in 1952, getting into commodities trading, mostly grain and lumber, things that kept him close to his agricultural roots. “It was our Punjabi blood, I guess,” Sidhu adds.The family moved to California when the boys were in their teens and they grew up in San Francisco. Calvin went to school for a year in Italy, where he fell in love with wine. Both he and Dev were fascinated with the wine culture from a consumer standpoint and it was only later that they thought about it as a viable business. The lush vineyards of Calvin Sidhu’s Freemark Abbey Winery stretch over 650 acres in California’s verdant Napa Valley “My family’s business was commodities trading and we didn’t want to do that anymore. But we fell in love with wine and at the same time we wanted to stay in business together so we started to look around and we got lucky,” says Sidhu. The brothers bought Freemark Abbey Winery in 2001 with an established history of high quality wines that had started in the year 1886. He says, “We didn’t start the wineries from scratch. We actually purchased very well established ongoing concerns. My father was very happy when he saw the vineyards, because he felt we still had something of agriculture in it.”To the well-reputed Freemark Abbey in Napa, they added two more wineries this year – Arrowwood in Sonoma and Byron in Santa Barbara, purchasing them from the Robert Mondovi Company. “These are the three best known wine areas in the U.S.,” says Sidhu. “There is some overlap, because in Arrowwood they also produce Cabernet and Chardonnay as they do in Free Mark Abbey, but they are distinct. Sonoma has its own flavor profile and Napa has its own. Byron is just pinot noir and chardonnay.”The brothers continue the tradition of crafting world-renowned wines as well as high quality, small lot production wines in the Napa Valley. Freemark Abbey currently crafts some 40,000 cases of wine each year, producing three Cabernets, a Napa Valley Cabernet, and the vineyard designated Bosche and Sycamore Cabernets. The winery also produces Merlot, Chardonnay, and Riesling, as well as very limited production wines, such as Viognier, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese, and Cabernet Franc. Depending on the climate and harvesting conditions, the winery also makes a luscious late harvest Riesling, known as Edelwein Gold. Rajat Parr is one of the leading celebrity sommeliers in United states: “It’s not just a job. It’s more of a passion, more of a lifestyle.”The wineries employ a staff of 82 people and offer wine tastings and excursions as well as a wine club with nearly 5,600 members, to whom wine is shipped directly at a discount and occasionally exclusive wines not available elsewhere.As CEO of the company, Sidhu is more involved with the marketing and sales, traveling constantly, while Dev as COO, handles the day to day running of the business. Says Calvin Sidhu, “We make a lot of different varietals, but at Freemark we are known for our cabernet sauvignons. At Byron we are known for our Pinot Noirs and at Arrowwood both our reds and our whites are world class.” They sell to many restaurants across the country, including Spark’s Steakhouse and Delfresco in New York.What are the special challenges of the business? Sidhu says, “In our industry one of the challenges is consolidating business. A lot of the big guys are getting really, really big. We only concentrate on the very high end market so we would like to build our business and acquire other high end brands.” With an eye on their own young children, the brothers have named their business The Legacy Estate Group, hoping that the vineyards, with their hallowed past, will be something the children will take into the future. Calvin says, “It’s a wonderful family business.”What do their relatives back in the village think about their wineries? He says, “They are very proud, but they are somewhat bewildered at the prices of wine in the States. Some of our wines sell for $20 a bottle and that translated into rupees is a little overwhelming!” Ask Sidhu about the most rewarding thing about his business and he responds: “Going into a restaurant and seeing your wine on the wine list.” Karan F Billimoria, an Indian entrpeneur, in search of the perfect wine to go woth Indian food, scouted the vineyards of France, South Africa and Spain to  create General Billimoria Wines. Close to Freemark Abbey is Revana Family Vineyard, a vineyard and winery estate with a singular focus of producing world class Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyard, owned by a Houston cardiologist, Dr. Madaiah Revana, won awards and acclaim with its very first effort, the 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon. It was awarded 91 points by Wine Spectator and this commendation: “Rich, intense and sharply focused, offering complex flavors of roasted coffee, grain, currant and black cherry and finishing with a mix of ripe fruit and pretty vanilla oak. Drink now through 2013.”How did Revana, a medicine man, end up imbibing the grape? “It’s a passion actually. I started collecting fine wine about 15 years ago. I never thought I’d actually have a winery or a wine business,” he says.A busy cardiologist, his relaxation was going to wine tastings and seminars, where he made friends in the wine world. He accompanied a friend to Tuscany where the man’s best friend owned a winery in Chianti. Recalls Revana, “We stayed on the property and I just fell in love with it. It was so beautiful. I thought I should maybe get a property and have a small vineyard here. That’s how it all started, but I decided against this because of the distance.”When a meeting took him to Napa Valley in California, Revana met with realtors in the St. Helena area and looked for a small property there. He recalls, “I was just looking for land. I didn’t know anything about the business and I thought I’d better start from scratch – that way I would be able to ensure quality.” Raju Mirchandani’s wine bar La BateauIvre, which means “Drunken Boat in French,” serves different 300 wines by the glass.He bought ten acres of prime land, with a house, an open courtyard and olive trees – a little bit of Tuscany in the Napa Valley. The area was already known for producing some of Napa Valley’s most prodigious Cabernet Sauvignons and the gravelly soils, sloped pitch and excellent exposures of the property seemed perfect for growing grapes. Studies of the soil composition confirmed that it was an ideal location for premium Bordeaux varieties.After purchasing the property, Revana focused on assembling an expert team to create premium Cabernet Sauvignons: winemaker Heidi Peterson Barrett, who is widely considered one of California’s great winemakers, and Jim Barbour as vineyard manager. Says Revana: “I wanted to make the best wine – not just the best Californian wine – that was my intention. We did everything from the beginning to ensure high premium wine.”Revana has invested heavily in the talent to produce top wines. Revana Family Vineyard 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon won the Santé 2004 Gold Star Award, an elite designation granted to food, wine, and spirits products of exceptional quality. The Colorado Wine News Review noted: “The wine is elegantly styled with great acidity, balance, structure, and integration. Still tight and needs another three years in the bottle to show at its best. Excellent.”Yes, the uninitiated may think a wine is just a wine, but to people in the know it is as remarkable as a great novel or a poem, orchestrated carefully with soil, climate, fermentation, barrel aging and blending. It’s all about patience and love’s labor. After 18 months in barrel and an additional twelve months in bottle, the inaugural, limited bottling of 2001 Revana Family Cabernet was released in early fall of 2004.Dan Dawson of Backroom Wines observed, “With the resources to plant the best, hire the best, build the best, and make the best, Revana’s ability to sell was without question.” The winery also has a mail order division and wines are also sold at fine stores and at major restaurants like French Laundry in San Francisco and The Tribeca Grill in New York. These are fine wines that retail for $90 a bottle. Revana Family Winery produces just 2,000 cases a year, and sometimes less, depending on the yield.Revana, who hails from Bangalore, studied at the Mysore Medical College before coming to the United States some 30 years ago. He did his cardiology training at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas and is now in private practice in Houston. His winery may be in the Napa Valley, and he physically in Houston, but his passion keeps him connected: “I am pretty much hooked. I speak to my staff everyday, make a lot of decisions and visit it every month.”So does it make money or is it just for pleasure? “It will never be a huge money making venture. It might make a little bit of profit eventually,” says Revana. “But it gives me a lot of pleasure. I just want to concentrate and make the best wine.” It’s a break from his medical work, he says, and something to look forward to. In the future, when he is no longer practicing medicine, he hopes to be involved much more with the winery.What does he feel when he goes to a restaurant, and sees ‘Revana Family Vineyards’ on the label of a bottle? He laughs, “I can’t believe it! I feel very fortunate that I have something like this. Lots of people enjoy it and it gives a lot of pleasure to people – and that’s very satisfying.”From California, move to London. Karan F. Bilimoria, an entrepreneur of Indian origin, who, in his search for the perfect wine to go with Indian food, has scouted the vineyards of France, South Africa and Spain and created General Bilimoria wines, a division of Cobra Beer Inc. Bilimoria, a law graduate of Cambridge University and a chartered accountant with Ernst and Young, became obsessed with creating the perfect beer to go with Indian food in 1989. The result was Cobra Beer and in a country mad about Indian food and beer, the brand really caught on. Today the company is worth 80 million pounds at retail and sells a ton of beer. As Cobra CEO, Bilimoria has won many awards, including Business Person of the Year 2004 by the London Business Awards.He next turned his attention to wine and once again looked for the perfect fit with spicy Indian food. The result was a range of French, Spanish and South African wines under the General Bilimoria label, named after Karan’s father, Lt. General F. N. Bilimoria, who was quite a beer and wine connoisseur. The company has launched a reasonably priced range of South African, French and Spanish wines in the U.S. market, exposing wine drinkers to lesser-known varietals: The South African range captures the best the region has to offer from a crisp Colombard-Chardonnay to a fruity Pinotage and Chenin Blanc, the most planted grape in the area. The French vintage encompasses Terret Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah Grenache, while the recently added Spanish range cultivated along Valencia’s Mediterranean coastline includes Tempranillo and a Dry Muscat.“We are selling to hundreds of restaurants in London, including the two Indian restaurants which have Michelin stars, Zaika and Tamarind,” says Honshang Chenoy, vice president of marketing for Cobra Beer and General Bilimoria wines in New York. “These wines were paired to go specifically with Indian food. They are very easy drinking and smooth so they don’t clash with the food, they complement it.” General Billy, as the wines are affectionately known, sell over 350,000 bottles a year.As Chenoy points out, England has over 8,000 Indian restaurants. In America their reach in the Indian restaurant market is a lot lower, so they have broad streamed in America with their wines selling at Fresh Direct and Best Sellers chain of wine stores, and are served at several mainstream restaurants too.The potential for wine both for the domestic and the overseas market is not lost in India. Indeed, Kashmir and Maharashtra were populated with vineyards right up to the British days when the phylloxera pest destroyed crops. Wine was not a priority in the intoxicating days of independence for a newly born nation and for many years one heard little about Indian wines, nor was the country a big consumer. Now things are changing with enterprising vintners emerging, and a wine nascent culture developing in India with thousands of potential customers.Yes, wine is set to become big business in India and the grapevine connections go all the way to the United Kingdom and the United States“Today noses might wrinkle at the thought of an Indian sauvignon blanc or cabernet but tomorrow India’s winemakers hope it will be as acceptable as a Chilean merlot or an Argentinian shiraz,” wrote Peter Foster in the Daily Telegraph. “Wine has been produced in India for centuries but with help from French and Australian experts India’s wine industry is now seeking international acceptance.” The three main wine producers in India are Grover Vineyards, Chateau Indage and Sula Vineyards, and they are all exporting Indian made wines to the rest of the world. Sula was created by a returning NRI – Rajeev Samant. In 1990, after completing an undergraduate degree in Economics and a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University, Samant joined the hi-tech world. He became one of the youngest managers in the finance division at the headquarters of one the world’s largest software companies, Oracle in San Francisco.And then he decided to leave it all and plant alphonso mangoes in the family owned land in Nasik! Situated 120 miles from Bombay and 2,000 feet above sea level, Nasik is India’s biggest grape-growing region. Samant found it strange that no wine grapes were grown there at the time. After a little study he was convinced that the Nasik climate was perfect for wine grapes, at par with winegrowing regions in Spain, California and Australia.He headed back to California, back to Sonoma County and there he met Kerry Damskey, who is one of the region’s noted winemakers. The two experimented with planting Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc, both varieties that had never been planted in India before. The Sauvignon Blanc cuttings were flown in from France, the Chenin from California, and these were the first two varieties to be planted at Sula Vineyards, in early 1997. Samant and Damskey also created state-of-the-art 670,000-liter winery facilities that have all stainless steel tanks with chilling jackets, perfect for sub-tropical winemaking. With over 250 acres planted with wine grapes, Sula still remains the pioneer of Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Blush Zinfandel in India. Sula sells in Indian wine shops and restaurants, and also in Lavinia, France’s largest wine shop. Samant is also exporting Sula not only to Europe but also to the United States, so his excellent wine adventure has really come full circle.Indian Americans are not just into producing wine from Nasik to Napa Valley, however. They are also interpreting and serving it – as sommeliers. This fancy sounding name merely means the keeper of the wines, the one who knows everything about the soul of a wine, what wine goes with what food and what wine a customer really wants, even though he may not.The job, however, is far from simple. The sommelier must not only know everything from grape to vintage, but also just about all there’s to know about the history of the wines even if there are thousands of wines in his inventory.One of the leading celebrity sommeliers in the United States is Rajat Parr, wine director of the noted Mina group of restaurants. He is responsible for developing and managing the wine programs at each of their restaurants: Arcadia at the San Jose Marriot, Nobhill and Seablue at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and the most recently opened, Michael Mina at the Westin St. Francis, San Francisco, where he is sommelier. Three other restaurants are slated to open next year. As wine director, Parr structures the wine list in all the restaurants, makes the big volume decision and heads the sommeliers at all the restaurants.Michael Bauer, restaurant critic for the San Francisco Chronicle raved about Parr’s wine list at Michael Mina: “I can’t think of a list that’s more distinctive or exciting. The 1,500 selections crafted by wine director Rajat Parr are perfectly tailored to the complex combinations served at the restaurant.” Parr was the sommelier-recipient of Wine Spectator’s Grand Award in 2001 and has acquired his immense wine knowledge through experience. He began his career as an apprentice to the acclaimed Master Sommelier Larry Stone at the Rubicon, where he developed an expertise in wines from around the world. He recalls, “He’s a wine guru and the greatest sommelier in America. He’s the only one who’s a master sommelier and has the French master’s diploma – no one else has that in the world. He’s an incredible teacher. He’s a very hard person to work for, but he’s a very great teacher. I worked with him for three years and he’s still a mentor of mine.”Earlier wine director of Aqua Development Corporation, where he oversaw wine lists for seven restaurants, including Aqua in San Francisco, Parr also been the sommelier at Fifth Floor in San Francisco, which quickly received rave reviews and the Grand Award from Wine Spectator two years after opening. So how did this Calcutta boy land up in the fine restaurants of the world, telling people what they should drink?“It just happened,” he says. “I happened to be in culinary school and I fell in love with wine. I was planning to be a chef, but by the end of it all I knew I wanted to be in the wine business.”After earning a bachelors degree from the Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, he entered the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, New York. An internship at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore gave him the opportunity to work with such renowned guest chefs as Alain Ducasse and Jean-Louis Palladin. Parr, 32, is a much sought after speaker at wine seminars and tastings at prestigious food and wine events.“The wine list in San Francisco Michael Mina is very comprehensive – it has 2,200 wines – it’s very deep in Burgundy and is almost 70 percent French wines,” says Parr. It just won the Wine Spectator award last month in the very first year of operation and that rarely happens.What is the challenge of being a sommelier? He says, “The hardest part is to understand people and to follow what they want. You have to judge what they really want. You’re pretty much on your feet and you’re up till about 1 am. It’s a fun job, but it’s for people who are passionate about wine. : It’s not just a job – it’s more of a passion, more of a lifestyle. You can’t just be a sommelier for so many hours and say the rest of the time I’m going to be normal. It pretty much takes over everything you do.”One Indian woman who has really made a big splash in the world of wine is Alpana Singh: by the age of 21, she had passed the advanced sommelier exam and by 26 she had become the youngest Master Sommelier in the world, one of only 14 women to achieve this title. She is the sommelier at Everest, a renowned restaurant in Chicago, presiding over a cache of 1,500 wines.Singh, who grew up in Monterey, Calif., says: “I never thought I would end up in this profession. My parents both worked in the restaurant industry so working in a restaurant is very comfortable for me. I just never knew you could have a professional career working in wine.”As Singh recalls, she was barely of legal age to drink when she first got into wine. She started out waiting tables at a bistro, and one of the requirements was to know something about wine. She decided to pursue a wine education and went on to study for the rigorous Master Sommelier test, which is administered by the Court of Master Sommeliers, an international examining body for wine and beverage service in Devon, England.The goal of this exam is to turn out people with outstanding tasting and evaluation skills, wine knowledge and impeccable abilities in service and beverage department management. There are introductory, advanced and master exams, and the exam for master sommelier is not an easy one to pass. In fact the only 3 percent of those who sit in the exam pass, and there are only 104 master sommeliers in the world.“What amazed me about it was the study of the various aspects of science, history, geography and travel,” she says. “There is so much more to wine then just drinking it. You have to read and study. There’s no school you can go to; you’re on your own. You can have a mentor who’s already passed the test.”The MS exam is an intricate three-part process with several tests and a three year wine retail experience among its requirements. The tasting part is scored on the candidate’s verbal abilities in clearly and accurately describing six different wines. Inside 25 minutes, the candidate has to identify grape varieties, country of origin, district of origin and vintages of the wines tasted. She says, “Once I made the connection of the book knowledge to the flavor, wine became a definite passion for me.” She recalls, “My great grand-parents are from India and they were brought to Fiji by the British who owned Fiji as a colony. They were indentured servants and cut sugar cane and harvested rice on British plantations. They decided to stay in Fiji rather than returning to India therefore my grandparents and parents were born in Fiji. After emancipation the political climate was in turmoil so my parents thought it would be for our best future if they moved to the United States.”Indian parents generally have their hearts set on producing doctors and engineers so did her parents give her a hard time on her unusual choice of career? She says, “My parents did not have a choice as far as what I wanted to do. They respected my judgment and supported my passion. I think more Indian parents should be as encouraging rather than trying to box their children into a career path that they have chosen for them. I could have been a doctor, but that would not have made me happy. I think all parents want what is best for their children and my parents realized that a career in wine was going to make me happiest and most successful. So far I have not proven them wrong.”She might not have an MD after her name but she does have MS – Master Sommelier!Everest, a renowned four-star restaurant atop the Chicago Stock Exchange, where Alpana is sommelier has received several awards, including the Five-Diamond Award from AAA, and top ratings from the Zagat Survey and Maitre Cuisiniers de France. She met its famed chef Jean Joho at a wine and food event who invited her to interview for the position in 2000. The restaurant’s $1 million, award winning wine inventory boasts the largest selection of Alsace wines outside of Alsace, and includes a rare wine, the 1982 Petrus Bourdeux, a bottle of which goes for $2,800.Yet ask her which wine is the jewel in the Everest crown, and she says: “All of our wines are the crown jewels. We have no favorites. If the wine weren’t good it wouldn’t make it to the wine list. So they are in essence all my favorites.” She suggests the Alsace Pinot Gris with pate, the Rieslings with cream sauces and the Cabernet Sauvignons from California with the heavier meat items. If you’ve ever wondered what happens to an open bottle of wine when wine is ordered by the glass in a fine restaurant, Singh gives you the inside story: “Usually we will pour the entire bottle during a night’s service. All left over wine goes to the kitchen for use in cooking. We begin each day with fresh bottles of wine.”Are cheap wines always bad or can one find reasonably priced wines that can enhance a meal? What would she recommend? She says, “There are many great values out there. You just may have to go outside of the box to get them. Try wines from Spain, Argentina or Australia for good bargains.” Singh has never visited India, but would like to some day. The country’s emerging vineyards will certainly be virgin territory for her to explore. The young wine connoisseur has traveled extensively and does see a difference in people’s attitude toward wine in different countries: “The younger generation is definitely more into wine than older generations. In Europe wine is viewed as a food item meant to be enjoyed in moderation on a daily basis as part of a healthy diet. In the U.S., we are slowly beginning to adopt this attitude.”Wine continues to be her big passion, both inside and outside the restaurant. She is in demand as a speaker and also teaches a class at Just Grapes, besides hosting the Emmy award-winning dining show “Check, Please!” on Chicago’s local public broadcasting station. She says, “I enjoy helping viewers learn about restaurants and neighborhoods they normally would not have tried.” She is currently working on a charity project for Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago and adds: ” I’m sure wine will always be a part of my life.”Raju Mirchandani is another Indian whose passion for wine has taken him into an entirely different world – the world of wine bistros and cigar bars. Mirchandani understood the pleasure and intimacy of wine and cigar bars and opened his first whiskey and cigar bar in 1991, called Hudson Bar and Books. The concept was so popular that in 1998 he opened the Lexington Bar and Books. Mirchandani calls them the world’s most refreshingly civilized places to meet, and they’ve certainly proved popular. He’s opened Tynska Bar and Books in Prague and is currently in Budapest opening the Rosetti Bar and Books. He has plans to add Bar and Books in Berlin, Warsaw and New Delhi.In 1999 Mirchandani brought the French bistro concept to New York when he opened Le Bateau Ivre, which means “Drunken Boat” after a poem by 19th century Frenchman Arthur Rimbaud. It offers French wines by the glass along with raw and grilled seafoods, served in true bistro style from 8 a.m. to 4 a.m. It’s a place to have a real French breakfast, lunch or dinner with a glass of wine fine. It offers Burgundies, Bordeaux, and Beaujolais, and has received strong reviews in The New Yorker, New York and Time Out. It serves 300 wines by the glass and features representation of every winemaking region in France. Says Arun Mirchandani, managing partner of the Bar & Books, about Le Bateau Ivre, “It’s a popular theme. It was created out of the visible void in the market and no one had conceptualized and capitalized on this in the past. In New York there isn’t any other restaurant devoted completely to French wines in the classic bistro setting.”Arun, who is Raju’s nephew, says of the Bar and Books in Manhattan, which focus not so much on wine as on whiskey and are two of the premier smoking lounges out of just six in the entire city: “We have a well balanced wine menu, but the primary focus is on whiskey of which we carry 125 different kinds of whiskey from all over the world, and premium cigars.” Do Indian-Americans frequent the bars? He says: “There is a well-represented Indian clientele that visits our establishments – young, successful professionals.”Indeed, as more and more young Indian Americans come of age – drinking age actually – some are bound to be fascinated by the encyclopedic number of wines available in the country, for America is indeed a melting pot of fine wines from all parts of the globe. Each immigrant brings from his country of origin his own native favorite – be it from Portugal, Argentina, Brazil or Australia – and the varieties are just mind-boggling.And in this kingdom of entrepreneurship where the improbable becomes probable, America offers a huge array of careers in the wine industry; as time passes we are bound to see not only sommeliers and winery owners, but also winemakers, distributors and vineyard managers of Indian descent. So big bucks and big satisfaction don’t lie just in IT, engineering or medicine – the impetus for a whole new lifestyle can be in your next sip of fine wine. We’ll drink to that!   Related Itemslast_img read more

M.P. returns over 25% of target under PMAY

first_imgMadhya Pradesh has surrendered more than a quarter of its allotted Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Grameen) houses for this financial year, giving up 2.32 lakh out of a total 8.32 lakh houses. This is the first time any State has done so, according to senior officials from the Union Rural Development Ministry which administers the scheme.The housing scheme aims to ensure that every rural Indian family has a pucca house with basic amenities by 2022, and expects to build a total of 2.95 crore houses by then. The nationwide target for this financial year 2019-20 is 60 lakh houses.“The State targets were determined in February 2019 and Madhya Pradesh was allotted a total of 8.32 lakh houses under the Annual Action Plan approved by the Empowered Committee. However, on July 31, we got a letter from the MP government that they wished to surrender 2.32 lakh houses this year,” a senior Rural Development Ministry official, who did not wish to be named, told The Hindu. “The State indicated that it was not in a position to construct [the original target] this year.”“This is an unprecedented situation and it is not good for the State to reduce its target. At the end of the day, it delays housing for lakhs of its people,” said another senior Ministry official, who also did not wish to be identified. “It seems that the Congress government’s farm loan waiver scheme may be reducing the State’s ability to meet its share for other schemes.”Under PMAY (G), each beneficiary is given a total of ₹1.2 lakh to construct a pukka home, with a hygienic kitchen space. (The amount is ₹1.3 lakh for hilly States, difficult areas and tribal and backward districts which come under the Integrated Action Plan.) The cost is split in a 60:40 ratio between the State and Central governments in plain areas, and a 90:10 ratio in northeastern and Himalayan States. Thus, State governments must bear a share of the cost of the flagship Central scheme.In the last three financial years, Madhya Pradesh has been second only to West Bengal in the number of houses constructed under PMAY (G), completing more than 13 lakh houses since 2016, according to government data.Soon after the Union budget was presented in July, MP Finance Minister Tarun Bhanot had complained that the State’s share of tax revenue had been slashed by ₹2,700 crore, calling it a “huge loss” and a “betrayal” of the people of the State by the NDA government.When the State’s Congress government presented its own maiden budget, it increased its budgetary allocation for farmers by 145% over the previous year to ₹22,736 crore. In keeping with poll promises to implement a farm loan waiver scheme, the State’s Finance Minister said the loans of 20 lakh farmers had been waived, to the tune of ₹7,000 crore, over two months. Asn additional ₹8,000 crore was set aside for the remaining farmers, he said.The Congress government has been slow to come on board with some other flagship schemes of the Central BJP-led government. Only 9,304 of MP’s approximately 80 lakh farmers had received the first instalment of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)scheme’s annual income support of ₹6000, Union Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told the Rajya Sabha in June. With regard to the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat, on the other hand, MP has created its own version of the health insurance scheme and re-christened it as Maha Ayushman, increasing the amount of coverage and the number of beneficiaries as well.last_img read more

Ind vs WI 2nd Test: Ishant shines as India take 34-run lead

first_imgA superb three-wicket burst by speedster Ishant Sharma, who grabbed career-best six for 55, helped India dismiss the West Indies for 190 in their first innings and put themselves into a comfortable position on the rain-affected third day of second cricket Test here. Score | PhotosIshant took the last three West Indies wickets off five balls for just one run to end the West Indian resistance in the post-lunch session to give India a slender 11-run first innings lead at Kensington Oval.India, who had scored 201 all out in their first innings, were 23 for no loss from 5.4 overs in their second innings when the stumps were drawn as only four deliveries were bowled in the final session due to rain and bad light. Tea was also taken 10 minutes earlier than scheduled due to rain.The visitors have now taken an overall 34-run lead with all their second innings wickets intact. Openers Murali Vijay and Abhinav Mukund will resume tomorrow on three and eight respectively.Altogether, 42 overs were played on Thursday, an improvement from the 25.3 on Wednesday.Ishant picked up the last two wickets off successive balls — Ravi Rampaul (0) and Fidel Edwards (0) — after dismissing West Indies captain Darren Sammy (15) in the earlier over towards the close of post-lunch session to keep India ahead in the Test.He added three more wickets on the third day to the three he scalped on the second day to grab his second career five-wicket haul in an innings.Playing in his 33rd match, the 22-year-old Delhi pacer completed his 100 wickets in Tests during his inspirational spell when he dismissed Sammy for his fourth wicket of the innings in the post-lunch session.advertisementWest Indies were marvelously served by returning batsman Marlon Samuels who remained unbeaten on 78 from 178 balls with eight fours.The home side were 189 for eight when the rains came in the post-lunch session and immediately on resumption, they lost their final two wickets for a mere one run.India though had to labour for wickets as the West Indies, led a resolute Samuels, denied them much success in the morning session.The visitors got just one wicket in the opening session in the form of Chanderpaul, who fell to rookie pacer Abhimanyu Mithun in the penultimate over before lunch.India struck at the fag end of the opening session to reduce the West Indies to 138 for six.Overnight batsmen Chanderpaul and Samuels batted resolutely for most part of third day morning whose start was delayed due to rain by adding 36 runs in 17.4 overs before India got the breakthrough by removing the former in the penultimate over before lunch.Rookie pacer Mithun claimed the scalp of steadfast Chanderpaul (37). Chanderpaul was unlucky to edge a pull off a delivery which did not rise and crashed into his stumps.West Indies, who resumed at 98 for five in reply to India’s 201 all out, added 40 runs from 19.3 overs possible in the morning session.Chanderpaul and Samuels added 77 runs for the sixth wicket which was the most resolute batting put up by the hosts in the series so far.Till Chanderpaul’s dismissal, West Indies had showed a rare batting resolve.Early showers once again delayed the start of the third day’s play by an hour but the West Indian pair lost little time in falling into their groove.Ishant Sharma steamed in and his new-ball partner Praveen Kumar showed his characteristic energy but the unruffled pair were determined to hang around at the crease.- With inputs from PTIlast_img read more

Ind vs WI: Time is on my side: Harbhajan

first_imgOnly the third Indian bowler to touch the 400-wicket mark in Test cricket, off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said his best is yet to come as tweakers tend to get better after turning 30.”I’m only 31…and even though the last seven wickets have made me work harder, (I’m hopeful) the next 200 will come very soon,” said Harbhajan after the end of second day’s play in the third and final Test against the West Indies here.Harbhajan accounted for Darren Sammy (20) and Carlton Baugh (60) within a space of 9 balls to reach the milestone, a summit which only two other Indians and 10 bowlers overall have ever managed in the history of the game.Harbhajan, who has spent over 13 years in international cricket, then went down the memory lane and recalled the difficulties he endured to come thus far.”I have faced a lot of ups and downs in my career -mostly downs. I’ve worked hard for these wickets. Spinners mature with age. Most of them, be it Anil (Kumble) bhai, Shane Warne, (Muttiah) Muralitharan took a lot of wickets after they turned 30.”Time is on my side; I am still very young and there is a lot of cricket left in me. I have to start doing even better for Team India and start taking a lot of wickets. If I keep myself fit, I will be able to do it.”It’s not easy to take even one wicket in international cricket. Batsmen are watching you all the time. You have to keep adding variations. Just line and length is not enough.You have to make sure you are not left behind. Off-spinners now are coming to bowl from round the wicket. You have to keep trying new things,” Harbhajan said.advertisement”Batsmen these days come and play their shots. I remember 10 years back, all the bowlers were averaging 25, 26 or 27. These days the normal average is 30 plus.”When I have my good days, I take wickets. On bad days, I try not to give too many runs,” he added.The ‘Turbanator’ looked back at the last few years; the seasons when he bowled without Anil Kumble at the other end. “Anil bhai was a very big bowler for Team India. After he left, there’s been a lot of responsibility. The good thing is that Zaheer has been there to take it.”I have the greatest of regard for Anil bhai. It was he who made us believe that we could win Tests abroad. We had a meeting in Sri Lanka where he said we should be number one in two years time. Exactly two years later, we are number one,” he said.”I respect him the most. He was a great bowler and a greater individual. He has helped me a lot to become what I am today. I know when I need his help, he is just a phone call away. “In the same breath, Harbhajan also remembered how his friend, the iconic Sachin Tendulkar, helped him add variations to his bowling.”Whenever I bowl to Sachin in the nets, I ask him what I should be doing. When I tour Australia or New Zealand, I take his advice. He showed me how to bowl a slider, a kind of outswinger, which I have used in ODIs and even taken wickets in Tests. But a slider can only be bowled with a new ball.”Bhajji remembered his former captains and the support he has had from some outstanding fielders in the close cordon.”My first captain was (Mohd) Azharuddin. Then I played a couple of games under Sachin. When Sourav became captain, he gave me a lot of confidence. I took a lot of wickets under him. He supported me all the way. (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni has been great with Team India. I just hope he continues doing what he is doing. Under each captain, I know I have given my 100 per cent.”During my time, Shiv Sunder Das was very good in close-in cordon. Sadagopan Ramesh normally sleeps a lot but that day he was awake to take a blinder offered by Warne. It gave me a hat-trick. Aakash Chopra was outstanding. Cheteshwar Pujara was very good in South Africa.”Then Rahul Dravid is very special. He has taken 50 catches off me. I hope another 50 will come very soon.”  With inputs from PTIlast_img read more

Tendinitis

first_imgDefinitionTendinitis is inflammation, irritation, and swelling of a tendon, which is the fibrous structure that joins muscle to bone. In many cases, tendinosis (tendon degeneration) is also present.Alternative NamesCalcific tendinitis; Bicipital tendinitisCauses, incidence, and risk factorsTendinitis can occur as a result of injury, overuse, or with aging as the tendon loses elasticity. It can also be seen in persons with body-wide (systemic) diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes.Tendinitis can occur in any tendon, but some commonly affected sites include the:ElbowHeel (Achilles tendinitis)ShoulderWristSymptomsPain and tenderness along a tendon, usually near a jointPain at nightPain that is worse with movement or activitySigns and testsThe health care provider will perform a physical exam and look for signs of pain and tenderness when the muscle attached to the tendon is used against resistance. There are specific tests for specific tendons.The tendon can be inflamed, and the overlying skin may be warm and red.TreatmentThe goal of treatment is to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.Rest or immobilization of the affected tendons is helpful for recovery. This may be achieved using a splint or a removable brace. The application of heat or cold to the affected area can help.Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen, can also reduce both pain and inflammation. Steroid injections into the tendon sheath can also be very useful in controlling pain and allowing physical therapy to start.Physical therapy that stretches and strengthens the muscle and tendon is essential. This can restore the tendons ability to function properly, improve healing, and prevent future injury.advertisementRarely, surgery is needed to physically remove the inflammatory tissue from around the tendon.Expectations (prognosis)Symptoms improve with treatment and rest. If the injury is caused by overuse, a change in work habits may be indicated to prevent recurrence of the problem.ComplicationsLong-term inflammation raises the risk of further injury, such as ruptureTendinitis symptoms returnCalling your health care providerCall for an appointment with your health care provider if symptoms of tendinitis occur.PreventionAvoid repetitive motion and overuse of the arms and legs.Keep all your muscles strong and flexible.Warm up by exercising at a relaxed pace before engaging in vigorous activity.ReferencesChoi L. Overuse injuries. In: DeLee JC, Drez D Jr, Miller MD, eds. DeLee and Drez’s Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:chap 14.Drezner JA, Harmon KG, O’Kane JW. Sports medicine. In: Rakel RE, ed. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 29.Review Date:8/14/2012Reviewed By:Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.last_img read more

Stoke deserved a point against Liverpool, says Mark Huges

first_imgStoke City matched their fancied opponents Liverpool on Sunday and did not deserve to lose their Premier League opener, according to manager Mark Hughes.In a game which saw few chances created, Stoke conceded in the 86th minute of the game from a brilliant 25-yard strike from Liverpool midfielder Philipe Coutinho.”It was a game of very few chances to be perfectly honest, and I don’t think anybody inside the stadium will have walked away thinking Liverpool deserved to win it,” the Welshman told the club website (www.stokecityfc.com).”In the end Coutinho has produced a moment of absolute brilliance and that has proven to be the difference between two very even sides I would suggest.Also read: Arsenal erred, Chelsea held in first weekend of new EPL season”It’s hard for the guys to accept the result today because we were very even, and I didn’t think they created anything of any real note today.”I think that both teams had pretty much accepted that the game was going to end in a draw, and I think we would have all been satisfied with that.”Hughes felt despite Liverpool spending over 70 million pounds reportedly in the summer it did not translate in their performance on the pitch.”We matched them toe-to-toe today; they have spent a lot of money during the summer and I didn’t think that was evident at all given both sides’ performances,” the 51-year-old added.Hughes was, however, encouraged by the performance of three of his new recruits but acknowledged it will take a few weeks until they fully find their feet at the club.advertisement”I thought Ibrahim Afellay was superb for us, but he tired towards the end, Marco van Ginkel produced a good performance too and Glen Johnson just reminded everybody what he has been for a long, long time, a very accomplished full-back,” he said.”It will take four or five games until the guys are right up to speed, but we always knew that would be the case. That said, I was very encouraged with what I saw today.”Meanwhile, Inter Milan midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri, who has been heavily linked with the club, was spotted at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday.”It’s fair to say we are hopeful we can do something. But until he’s at the training ground with a shirt on, you never know,” Hughes was quoted as saying to the Stoke Sentinel.”By virtue of the fact he’s here, it shows that we are encouraged and hopeful, but these days it’s never easy and the more it goes on the more cautious you are.”last_img read more

Marrakech: 16th Marrakech International Film Festival (A)

first_imgAmericus : Hundreds attended a vigil to show their support for the families of Americus police officer Nicholas Smarr (A) Beverly Hills : Actor Kirk Douglas?s birthday celebrations(A) New York: 11th annual Billboard Women in Music (A) Manila: Masked protesters march for a rally near the Presidential Palace (B) Walker : President-elect Donald J. Trump during his “USA Thank You Tour” (A) Hamburg: Closing session of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Hamburg, (A) Kabul : Army Gen. John Nicholson speaks at a news conference (A)SPORTS Sant Joan Despi : FC Barcelona?s Lionel Messi during a training session (A) Marseille: ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Marseille (A) Athens: File..Shot put medalists of the 2004 Olympic Games(A) Windsaor: FINA World Swimming Championships (A) Mumbai: India vs England 4th Test (A) Guwahati: 1st Elite (Senior) Men?s National Boxing Championship (B) Rourkela: Sand sculpture wishing Rural hockey (B) PTI PHOTO VNA? UPTO 134 AKGlast_img read more

Europa League final would be ‘perfect’ end to Manchester United season, says Jose Mourinho

first_imgPlaying in the Europa League final in Sweden next month would be the “perfect” way to end a difficult season for Manchester United, manager Jose Mourinho has said ahead of his side’s quarter-final second leg against Anderlecht on Thursday.With United struggling for consistency in the league and struggling to finish in the top four, winning the Europa League would bring the club not only a trophy they have never won but also an automatic berth in next season’s Champions League.Mourinho’s side are currently fifth in the Premier League on 60 points, four behind Manchester City but with a game in hand. Only the top four finishers are assured entry to Europe’s elite club competition.”It will be the perfect end to the season,” Mourinho, who took over at United last May, told British media.”A difficult season, lots of matches, trying to build a team, trying to recover a certain mentality, trying to finish the season playing a European final.”It will be the perfect finale for Manchester United.”Mourinho added that reaching the final would also be a good way for striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to end his season.The 35-year-old, who is United’s leading scorer this season, is set to be honoured with a statue at the Friends Arena in his native Sweden where the final will be played.”For Zlatan it would be fantastic to play the final in Stockholm, in his country. It would be beautiful,” Mourinho added.last_img read more

Rafael Nadal withdraws from Queen’s tournament on doctors’ advice

first_imgFrench Open champion Rafa Nadal has withdrawn from next week’s Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club after advice from his doctors to rest, organisers announced on Tuesday.”I am very sorry to say that I am not going to be able play Queen’s next week. I am sad to make this decision because I love Queen’s, I won the tournament in 2008 and every time I reached the Wimbledon final it was after playing Queen’s,” said Nadal.The Spanish world number two is back to his best after being hampered by injuries in recent years and claimed a 10th Roland Garros crown on Sunday after winning titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid over the past two months.”I was hoping to take some days off and then be ready, but at 31, and after a long claycourt season with all of the emotions of Roland Garros, and after speaking to my team and doctor, I have decided my body needs to rest if I am going to be ready to play Wimbledon.”The Aegon Championships will feature world number one and defending champion Andy Murray, U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka, 2014 winner Grigor Dimitrov, and last year’s runner-up Milos Raonic. Wimbledon begins on July 3.last_img read more

It takes some serious marbles: Ravi Shastri on Virat Kohli’s captaincy

first_imgIndia coach Ravi Shastri lauded Virat Kohli’s ability to lead from the front despite the intense pressure and said his passion fires up the Indian team in its quest for success.Kohli was the top scorer in ODIs and Tests in 2018 but India lost back-to-back Test series in South Africa and England. The captain and the team management were criticised over team combinations and tactical decisions on the field but India finally turned it around in Australia where they won their first ever Test series.Kohli played a couple of gritty knocks – none more than the hundred on a difficult pitch in Perth – and his captaincy was astute.After India lost the Test series 1-4 to England last year, Sunil Gavaskar had questioned Kohli’s captaincy while others wondered what could have been had India got their playing XI right.Ravi Shastri, a tough cricketer in his time, a seasoned broadcaster and now a coach who is popular with his men, said few international cricket captains match Kohli’s passion on the field.”I have seen very few international cricket captains have that kind of passion when one goes out in the middle,” Shastri told India Today in an exclusive interview. “Yes, one’s personality can be different, some may be quiet, some may be reserved. But this guy is in your face. What it does i that it sends a message to the opposition, it sends a message to your dressing room.”Shastri said players in the Indian dressing room now want to emulate their captain and youngsters taking their first step in international cricket feel more confident.advertisement”As a player in the team, you want to emulate him, you want to get behind him. It makes the team more confident, the youngsters more confident.”Players who come into the team and pick it up straight away. It makes a world of difference. That passion and the drive give confidence to the bowlers. It serves more than one role.”When you see him on the field with that kind of passion, where he is so expressive.. it makes a world of difference.”Every time he goes out to bat, the whole Australian team wants him to get out. But to take that kind of pressure and lead from the from… it takes some serious marbles,” Shastri said.Kohli had to deal with plenty of tough questions following heartbreaking defeats in South Africa and England.After the last Test of the five-match series in England, Kohli was asked if he genuinely thought it was the best Indian team in the last 15 years. Kohli had snapped and expresses his displeasure at the question. With a deadpan face, Kohli had retorted, “We have to believe we are the best side. Why not?”When the journalist said he was not sure, Kohli responded with: “You’re not sure? That is your opinion. Thank you.”Four months later in Sydney, Cheteshwar Pujara was asked if he believed this was the best Indian team he was ever part of, the man-of-the-series said yes without even having to think.Virat Kohli, standing not far away, smiled and applauded.This Indian team is now set for bigger things – Ravi Shastri, the coach, deserves to soak in the adulation with his team and enjoy the “satisfying feeling” of winning a Test series in one of the toughest countries to play cricket in.Also Read | Rishabh Pant now needs to learn how to finish games, says Ravi ShastriAlso Read | MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma arrive in Australia for ODI seriesAlso Read | Virat Kohli parties with Team India and Anushka Sharma after historic series win. See photoslast_img read more

Restrap gets in the belt game with Link

first_img Editors’ Recommendations 5 Canadian Lifestyle Brands You Need to Know Where to Find Artwork to Match Your Style How Full Harvest and Misfits Market Are Saving Ugly Produce For nearly six years, Restrap — a cycling accessory company started by Bingley-based entrepreneur Nathan Hughes — has produced some of the most durable and high quality cycling gear available. From its famous pedal straps to its functional lineup of bags and pouches, everything bearing Restrap’s “Made in Yorkshire” logo touts superior craftsmanship and stellar design. Despite humble beginnings which saw Hughes working out of his home to start the business, an abundance of support, feedback, and backing allowed Restrap to continue to bring its first-rate products to cyclists all over the globe.Related: Sole and Ecco team up to craft an ultra-stylish commuter bicycleLooking to add to its already impressive lineup of accessories and gear, Restrap recently took to the popular crowdfunding website Kickstarter to help launch its brand new line of belts called Link. Ultra-functional yet incredibly stylish, Restrap created the Link belt to help those with active lifestyles find a belt which remained comfortable during the most rigorous of activities. While most belts require constant adjustments and fitting, the Link belt utilizes a unique magnetic buckle capable of being fastened, tightened, or removed all with the use of just one hand. After completing its highly successful campaign — it raised nearly $82.5k to an $11k goal — Restrap now has the ability to bring these uniquely tailored belts to life.Built with 30mm super strength elastic, a magnetic 30mm buckle, and finished with a leather Restrap label and belt loop, each Link belt has been constructed to last an eternity. To back this up, Hughes and company endorses each purchased Link belt with a lifetime guarantee against manufacturer defects. Moreover, each one of Restrap’s Link belts — along with all of its products — utilize locally sourced materials for construction and are carefully hand made at the company’s workshop in Leeds. Not often do you see a company as totally committed to its craft as Restrap, and this dedication allows the consumer to reap immense reward with the product.Armed with a successful Kickstart campaign — plus a stylish and functional design — without a doubt, Hughes and company created the ultimate on-the-go belt. Perfect for weekend warriors, avid adventurers, and everybody in between, the Link belt is an excellent addition to any summer repertoire. Though the crowdfunding campaign ended at the end of May, Restrap still allows customers the ability to pre-order this incredible belt through its website, and promises — even while filling its Kickstarter orders — to have them delivered by the end of July. We recommend getting onboard with these now; you won’t want to let this fantastic product pass you by. The Best Graphic Tee Companies to Liven Up Your Wardrobe The Mission Workshop Khyte Sets a New Standard for Messenger Bagslast_img read more

Critics latch onto perceived snub costume changes as Trudeau tours India

first_imgOTTAWA – A clash of political ideals may be behind a perceived snub of Justin Trudeau that was making international headlines as the prime minister passed the mid-point of his week-long trip to India, one expert familiar with the region said Wednesday.Those headlines were also writing the script for the Conservative Opposition at home, who pounced on the visit as just another expensive Trudeau family vacation marking an erosion of Canada-India relations.Media outlets including CNN and Al Jazeera seized on the comments of Indian officials who accused the Trudeau government of backing Sikh separatists known as the Khalistani movement.“Over the years, the Canadian political establishment … has been mollycoddling Khalistani elements,” former Indian envoy to Canada Vishnu Prakash told Indian news site The Print on Monday.“Under the Trudeau government, this has increased.”They also took notice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s failure to formally greet Trudeau or even acknowledge his presence in the country as the visit began.A junior Indian minister met Trudeau when he and his wife and three children arrived in New Delhi late Saturday.While it isn’t protocol, Modi has been known to receive guests personally in the past, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in January.However, when former prime minister Stephen Harper arrived for a visit to India in 2014, he was not met at the airport by the Indian prime minister either.Officials from the right-wing, ruling Bharatiya Janata party have denied that Trudeau was being snubbed. Moreover, Modi was not in Delhi when Trudeau arrived.Trudeau has also dismissed concerns about his diplomatic calendar, noting that he met Modi “very recently.”Indeed, Modi personally invited Trudeau to visit his country.When Modi visited Canada in April 2015 — the first such visit to Canada by an Indian prime minister in more than four decades — he was greeted by then-prime minister Harper on the first full day of his three-day visit with a 21-gun salute and full military honours.But Trudeau and Harper are very different people, making it more likely that Modi has avoided greeting the Liberal prime minister with open arms because the two men don’t remotely share the same world view, said Ferry de Kerckhove, a University of Ottawa professor who was once Canadian high commissioner to India’s neighbour, Pakistan.In fact, he said, Modi has a “much greater common soul” with U.S. President Donald Trump than with Trudeau.“The nationalism of Modi is very much a Trump-like kind of approach,” he explained.“That contrasts with (the Liberal government’s) allegedly progressive approach to the economy and all of that.”The Trudeau family’s ever-changing attire during their multiple stops in front of some of India’s iconic cultural landmarks was also the target of criticism, with online publication Outlook India referring to the numerous culturally sensitive outfits as “too Indian even for an Indian.”The wave of traditional dress was also noticed by the official Opposition, with Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre and others wondering aloud how much Canadian taxpayers are paying for the many costume changes.However, officials travelling with Trudeau have said the family paid for their own clothing, purchased at Canadian stores. Some of it the Trudeaus already owned from previous visits to India.But Conservative foreign affairs critic Erin O’Toole said while it did appear to him that the Trudeau visit was geared 90 per cent toward tourism and 10 per cent toward business, he was more concerned about a perceived deterioration of Canadian-Indian relations from when Harper visited India in 2014.“This trip seems to confirm that the relationship has atrophied in the last couple of years,” said O’Toole.As with the Trudeaus, Harper’s 2014 visit brought him to the Taj Mahal and other historic monuments around India, including sites important to the Sikh religion in and around Chandigarh in the Punjab region.But most of Harper’s visit centred on trade as Canada was in negotiations with India for a free-trade and foreign investment agreement.Harper also made the flow of trade between Canada and India the focus of a six-day visit to India in 2014, when he attended the World Economic Forum in Gurgaon.O’Toole applauded Trudeau on Wednesday for raising concerns in India about agricultural tariffs, particularly those levied against chickpeas.“But it almost looks like a trip for domestic consumption here in Canada with very little to accomplish on the ground in India,” O’Toole lamented.“I don’t think we can hold that against him,” said de Kerckhove.“He’s not the first politician to do (domestic) politics abroad.”Trudeau is expected to meet Modi on Friday in Delhi.last_img read more

Eli Manning Headlines Tackle Kids Cancer All Stars Event

first_imgMore than 500 youth and community groups joined stars from the world of sports to celebrate raising more than $250,000 as part of “Eli’s Challenge,” a campaign led by New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford NJ over the weekend.NBC4 New York Sports Anchor Bruce Beck talks with Eli Manning about the importance of the Tackle Kids Cancer ProgramThe campaign is part of the Tackle Kids Cancer Program, which raises money for critical research and programs at the Children’s Cancer Institute at Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center.Emcee and NBC4 New York Sports Anchor Bruce Beck, Giants Legend Shaun O’Hara, Knicks Legend John Starks and New York Red Bulls Goalie Luis Robles joined Manning in paying tribute to community groups that demonstrated extraordinary effort and creativity with their fundraising programs, which ranged from car washes to bake sales.“It is truly inspiring to see how many community groups held bake sales, car washes and other fundraisers for this cause, and I want to challenge more of them to join our team,” said Manning, who pledged to match the first $100,000 in fundraising from local community groups – which they exceeded in just a few short months.Five of the most innovative, creative and successful fundraising campaigns created by kids and community groups were honored, resulting in a check for $250,000 from “Eli’s Challenge” to the Tackle Kids Cancer program, which benefitted from the New York Giants support.“We value our relationship with Hackensack University Medical Center and are honored to be part of Tackle Kids Cancer. The work that is done by the Children’s Cancer Institute and those who have contributed to Tackle Kids Cancer has served as an inspiration to Eli and all of us,” said Allison Stangeby, vice president of Community and Corporate Relations. “We are proud of Eli’s work in our community and his selfless support of the Children’s Cancer Institute.”The event was part of NBC4 Telemundo Health Expo, Presented by Quest Diagnostics, which is held annually at MetLife Stadium welcoming a wide range of healthy lifestyle exhibits, as well as free health tests and screenings.“The Foundation is proud of the partnership we have with the New York Giants and its players,” said Jon M. Fitzgerald, president of Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation. “Eli Manning’s commitment to Tackle Kids Cancer has extended far beyond what we could have imagined. Not only has he volunteered to be the face of our campaign, but he has made numerous visits with the children, families and health care team at our Children’s Cancer Institute. With Eli’s Challenge, he has taken his role as champion of this cause to higher level, and we could not have raised more than $4 million for our Tackle Kids Cancer initiative without his support.”The Children’s Cancer Institute at Hackensack University Medical Center consists of dedicated clinicians and researchers specializing in pediatric cancer. With more than 100 active oncology and transplant clinical trials currently open, it is leading the charge to cure childhood cancer. “While extremely rare, pediatric cancer is the number one cause of death by disease in children in the U.S.,” said Stephen Percy, M.D., interim chairman, Department of Pediatrics, Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital. “Every dollar received through the Tackle Kids Cancer campaign will support our most important programs and research.”last_img read more

Quebecor claims rights over sale of embattled Just For Laughs comedy festival

first_imgAdvertisement Quebecor (TSX;QBR.B) filed a request for an injunction in Quebec Superior Court on Wednesday demanding its 2012 partnership deal with the comedy festival be respected. MONTREAL — Media giant Quebecor Inc. is claiming the embattled Montreal-based Just For Laughs company cannot be sold without its consent. Facebook Advertisement Advertisement The sale has been entrusted to RBC Capital Markets, which is the target of Quebecor’s lawsuit. Gilbert Rozon, founder and majority shareholder of Just For Laughs, announced he was selling the company after becoming the subject of numerous allegations last year of sexual harassment and abuse. It claims the agreement gives it a right of first refusal regarding the sale of the company. The president of Just For Laughs, Guylaine Lalonde, said in a statement the company will contest Quebecor’s legal move, which it described as “clearly ill-founded.”She said the sale process is proceeding as normal. Quebecor says it has the right to buy the festival and that if it rejects the asking price, Just for Laughs cannot be sold to a third party for less. Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Quebecor claims to have injected more than $45 million into various partnerships and sponsorships in Just For Laughs since it signed the 2012 agreement. Twitterlast_img read more

SAMOA New partnerships seek to protect worlds oceans

Fishermen in coastal Samoan villages say there are less fish than there used to be and worry that the fish populations will soon disappear altogether, but participants at a United Nations conference on forming partnerships with small island developing states are vowing to prevent that from happening. Tolo Aeau fishes for swordfish in the Pacific, which is less than a minute’s walk from his home in Luatuanu’u, eastern Samoa. He fishes to break up routine of his chicken or beef dinnrs. But the most frequent fishermen on this part of the beach, which survived the 2009 tsunami, are people from outside the village who often sell the catch. “Big difference because the last couple of years we found fish before the reef. Now if you don’t go far, you won’t find any,” Mr. Aeau told the UN News Centre. “It’s a big worry. What will happen in the next 10 years.” The waters off the Pacific Islands region cover around 40 million square kilometers, the equivalent of about one-third of the world’s surface area. The waters have some of the largest stocks of tuna, as well as sharks, billfish, marine mammals and turtles. To illustrate just how much these natural resources are worth, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that of the 2.4 million tonnes of tuna caught in the Western Pacific Ocean, 1.4 million have been taken from this region at a value of $2.8 billion. “SIDS [Small Island Developing States] are basically environment based economies, they depend heavily on fisheries and tourism. So they depend on their environment assets and that is where the opportunities lie for them,” explained Kaven Zahedi, Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). This is the basis of so-called ‘green-blue economy.’ Green economy is an economy where the natural assets are considered as part of the decision making process. Blue economy is one where most of those assets happen to be marine based assets. “In the context of SIDS, we are really talking about the same thing,” Mr. Zahedi said, speaking on Wednesday from the sidelines of the Third International Small Island Developing States Conference in Samoa. The Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) – which involves UNEP, the UN International Labour Organization (ILO), UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) – is supporting 30 countries over the next six years to build national green economy strategies. “Unless you have commitment from the highest levels in the country, it’s simply not going to happen,” Mr. Zahedi said. PAGE, which was launched last year, established a partnership at the conference to, among other things, show Governments what type of technology can be used or what models can from other regions could be replicated here. The partnership is among the more than 300 others which are being announced before the conference wraps-up later today. “I think more than anything, we help to point out the possibilities that exist. Because in a way we’re talking about a different mindset, a different economy, and we need to instill the confidence in countries that it is possible, that decision is theirs for the taking,” he noted. Some of the environmental challenges islanders face are localized, such as habitat destruction or waste management, but others are more global, like rising sea levels and frequency of weather events linked to climate change. “When I look at the issues at stake, in terms of food security, shoreline protection, economy, livelihoods, cultural identity, I think there’s so much value there, so why are we not able to harness 1 per cent of the value,” oceanographer Jan Newton said while on break from the multi-stakeholder partnership dialogue on ‘Oceans, Seas and Biodiversity.’ The partnership dialogue is one of six sessions with representatives of government, the private sector and civil society, organized as part of the official conference. Dr. Newton is a member of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) which announced its own partnership at the conference, with a series of institutions, including the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project. One of the goals of the partnership is to acquire and exchange biogeochemical data that can be used in modeling ocean acidity and its impact. Ocean acidification and climate change are closely linked, both caused by increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. One-third of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere went into the oceans, raising the acidity of the waters by 30 per cent and changing the oceans chemistry. For example, ocean acidification is responsible for corals turning white, and why oysters have increasing problems forming a hard shell. The data from this new partnership has very practical applications for local communities and fisherman. Shellfish grower, Mark Wiegardt, who works with Dr. Newton likened such data to putting headlights on a car, “you can see where you’re going. “ Dr. Newton also took part in an international pre-conference workshop on ocean acidification, which was held aboard the Pacific Jewel in the Apia harbor on 28 and 29 August, and whose report was shared at the partnership dialogue. The workshop, organized by the Governments of New Zealand and the United States, was meant to create networks ocean acidification networks for the Caribbean, Pacific Islands and the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, and South China Sea, among people who would have had no ways of meeting to meet and plan. The topics discussed in Samoa will resurface later this month at the Secretary-General Climate Summit at the UN Headquarters on 23 September. In Luatuanu’u, Mr. Aueu is optimistic all this attention will translate into real action, “High tide, earthquakes. I hope they will stop these things from happening. I hope they will make lives better for us.” read more

What A Crying Shame Vandals Deface Jackie Robinson Statue

Image by NEIL MILLERA Jackie Robinson statue outside MCU Park in Coney Island has been vandalized.The statue was spray painted with swastikas and racist slur that read: “Heil Hitler,” “Die n—-r,” “F–k n—-r” and “F–k Jackie Robinson.”Brooklyn Cyclones team officials said they made the discovery on Wednesday morning.“Immediately we went into action to try to clean it and remove the graffiti,” said Billy Harner, the team’s director of communications. “We have video surveillance of the area, we’re looking at the tapes to investigate exactly what took place.”The sports organization had the slurs covered with duct tape as fans arrived at the park for the team’s 11am ET game. They also plan to remove the paint by using solution at a later time. Police are currently investigating the crime.“This is being treated as a bias crime,” detective John Nevandro of the 60th precinct said in a statement. “Hate Crimes will investigate the incident.”The statue depicts teammates Robinson and Pee Wee Reese during the 1947 season.“The statue is a symbol of tolerance,” said Harner. “It’s an absolute tragedy that someone would deface it the way they did.”The Brooklyn Cyclones are the minor league team of the New York Mets. read more

Historic tax rises on middle class families needed to save the NHS

“The implication is clear: in the medium term, if we want even to maintain health and social care provision at current levels, taxes will have to rise,” they wrote.The document states that relying solely on taxation to pay for a “modernised NHS” would increase the UK tax burden as a share of GDP to “historically high levels”.Funding these projected increases in health spending through the tax system would require taxes to rise by between 1.6 and 2.6 per cent of GDP – the equivalent of between £1,200 and £2,000 per household per year within 15 years.The report found that by 2033/34, there will be 4.4 million more people in the UK aged 65 and over. Mr Johnson added: “We are finally coming face to face with one of the biggest choices in a generation. The NHS will need an extra £2,000 a year from every household in order to function properly, experts have said.A joint report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and the Health Foundation found there was “no more room” to increase health spending by taking from other Government budgets and concludes that “taxes will have to rise”.The new analysis of what the NHS needs to cope with future demands predicts that UK spending on healthcare will have to rise by an average 3.3 per cent a year over the next 15 years just to maintain NHS provision at current levels.But in order to get the health service back on track from currently missed targets, to modernise and meet the needs of an ageing population, funding increases of 4 per cent a year would be required over the next 15 years.The tax rises would likely come through hiking VAT, income tax or national insurance,  Paul Johnson, director of the IFS and an author of the report, said.The middle classes are most likely to bear the brunt of the hikes, as taxing the wealthy, who are “very mobile” will not raise enough – the money would need to come from a “broad amount of people”, Mr Johnson told the Today programme on Radio 4 on Thursday. “We have to make a choice, ” he said. “We could choose not to do this through taxes, and have a different sort of health service.”But if we are going to have an NHS in  15 years, which does the things we are used to it doing, that is going to cost money.”We cannot bumble on as we have done before.”Public satisfaction with the NHS has steadily improved over the two decades as core measures of performance such as waiting times for referrals got lower, however these positive trends are now beginning to reverse, according to the report’s authors. “If we are to have a health and social care system which meets our needs and aspirations, we will have to pay a lot more for it over the next 15 years. This time we won’t be able to rely on cutting spending elsewhere.”A Department for Health and Social Care spokesman said: “The Prime Minister and Health and Social Care Secretary have committed to a long term plan with a sustainable multi-year settlement for the NHS to help it manage growing patient demand, which will be agreed with NHS leaders, clinicians, and health experts.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more

Disney is rereleasing Star Wars The Force Awakens in November

first_imgThere has been a reawakening.We had heard a lot of rumors. Stories. We weren’t sure it was real… but it’s true. All of it. It’s just been officially announced that a four-disc Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3D Collector’s Edition is on its way this Fall.For fans who picked up the original Blu-ray release in April, this is a bit of a kick in the teeth. If they knew that a better release was on the way, they might have held off for it. It’s not that the original release was barebones–far from it. The original two-disc Blu-ray set features an hour-long making of documentary called Secrets of the Force Awakens, four minutes of deleted scenes, and lots of featurettes about the creatures, battles, music, and more. It’s a decent set but many felt there was something lacking, and now we know why.This new release will offer an audio commentary by J.J. Abrams, more deleted scenes, and a bunch of more featurettes, including a conversation with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega about what it was like to step into the biggest franchise in history. Why were these features left off the initial release? I’m sure fans will have a few theories.The film itself won’t be any different as it’s still the theatrical release, although you’ll get your choice of formats- Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, Digital HD, and DVD. Plus, there’s this packaging!This new edition of Star Wars: The Force Awakens will launch in the US and Canada on November 15. Some regions will see its release on October 31, such as the UK, France, and Sweden, with it rolling out to more territories later on in November.Here’s the full list of bonus features. Is it enough to make you double dip?Audio Commentary with J.J. Abrams – A feature-length commentary with the director, who will reveal all the choices he made developing the film.Foley: A Sonic Tale – Foley artists are always fun to watch in their (serious!) craft as they always look like toddlers destroying stuff. A featurette of how they made the sound match the film.Sounds of the Resistance – Another featurette about the sound design of the film and how it matched up to the originals.Deleted Scenes – More deleted scenes! No word as to their length or how many they are, but as to why they weren’t included with the original deleted scenes is confusing.Dressing the Galaxy – A discussion with costume designer Michael Kaplan about re-envisioning the costumes from the OT for this film.The Scavenger and the Stormtrooper: A Conversation with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega – The two breakout stars talk about working together and becoming part of Star Wars history,Inside the Armory – A look inside the design and creation of the weapons of the movie.Classic Bonus Features – All the same stuff from the April release of the film.last_img read more

XFL announces multiyear television deals with ESPN and FOX to air games

first_img WWE Draft confirmed to be taking place as a two-night event starting on October 11 Twitter WWE announces 2020 Royal Rumble tickets to go on-sale Friday, September 20 Now Playing Up Next WhatsApp Google+ What to watch on Wall Street next week Discrimination Lawsuit Filed Against ESPN WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus confirmed for WWE Smackdown premiere on FOX Now Playing Up Next Now Playing Up Next ESPN Makes Historic Exclusivity Deal With UFCcenter_img The XFL has announced it has signed multiyear deals with FOX and ESPN to air football games starting with the inaugural season in 2020.XFL will be airing games on ABC and FOX, both of which are broadcast television, and also games on ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, and FS2, which are cable networks.Week One of the 2020 inaugural season will kick off with a game on ABC starting at 2:00 p.m. ET/1:00 CT, followed by a second game airing on FOX at 5:00 p.m. ET/4:00 CT.Stamford, Conn., May 6, 2019 – The XFL today announced multi-year agreements with ESPN and FOX Sports to televise XFL games starting with its inaugural 2020 season. XFL games will air weekly on broadcast TV (ABC and FOX) complemented by games on cable (ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 and FS2). The XFL TV schedule allows for consistent appointment viewing each week with back-to-back games starting Saturday afternoons at 2 pm ET as well as two additional games on Sunday afternoons.“We look forward to showcasing the XFL on ESPN and ABC, including the kickoff game and championship during the league’s inaugural season,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN Executive Vice President, Programming and Scheduling. “Vince McMahon and Oliver Luck are two of the sports industry’s most creative and experienced leaders, and they have exciting plans for this league. We believe in their vision for the XFL, which will be a great addition to our year-round commitment to football.”“We welcome the XFL to the FOX Sports Family and are pleased to expand our relationship with Vince McMahon,” said Eric Shanks, FOX Sports CEO & Executive Producer. “Football is in FOX Sports’ DNA and a key component of our programming strategy. Alongside Oliver Luck and his incredible team, we’re excited for the debut of the XFL on FOX Sports.”“We are thrilled to partner with ESPN and FOX Sports, two innovative media companies with extensive experience in world-class football production that will undoubtedly help us reimagine football,” said Vince McMahon, XFL Founder & Chairman. “The XFL broadcast schedule provides us with incredible reach and makes it easy for fans to watch our games consistently every weekend.”The agreements were negotiated by CAA Sports and Evolution Media Capital (EMC) on behalf of the XFL.The XFL will kick off on Saturday, February 8, 2020 with teams in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Washington D.C. Additional XFL-themed programming and on-air talent will be announced in the future.About ESPN ESPN, the world’s leading sports entertainment enterprise, features more than 50 assets – eight U.S. television networks, direct-to-consumer ESPN+, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN International, ESPN The Magazine and more. ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc. (an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company) and 20 percent by Hearst.About FOX Sports FOX Sports is the umbrella entity representing FOX Corporation’s wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets. Built with brands capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, the business has ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing relationships. FOX Sports includes the sports television arm of the FOX Network; FS1, FS2, FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Deportes. FOX Sports’ digital properties include FOXSports.com and the FOX Sports App, which provides live streaming video of FOX Sports content, instant scores, stats and alerts to iOS and Android devices. Additionally, FOX Sports and social broadcasting platform, Caffeine jointly own Caffeine Studios which creates exclusive eSports, sports and live entertainment content. Also included in FOX Sports’ portfolio are FOX’s interests in joint-venture businesses Big Ten Network and BTN 2Go, as well as a licensing agreement that established the FOX Sports Radio Network.Click here to read the entire press release.Recommended videosPowered by AnyClipESPN Makes Historic Exclusivity Deal With UFCVideo Player is loading.Play VideoPauseUnmuteDuration 0:30/Current Time 0:00Loaded: 1.47%0:00Remaining Time -0:30 FullscreenUp NextThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Replay the list Facebook Now Playing Up Next Videos Articles Conor Mcgregor Pinterest Mike Tedesco RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Alec Baldwin and wife Hilaria planning to have fifth baby together Meghan McCain Fires Back At Beto O’Rourke Over Gun Comments Now Playing Up Nextlast_img read more

Hasan Salihamidzic reacts to Bayerns UCL draw

first_imgBayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic insists the team’s UEFA Champions League second round which pits them against Liverpool is a tough one.The German champions who were seeded for the draw which took place on Monday morning, will face Jurgen Klopp’s team over two legs when the knockout stages begin in February.“They’re the team of the hour, they’re the league leaders in England.” Salihamidzic said, according to the club’s official website.“They play good football, they’re very physical and they’re full of energy. You need two good days. They were in the final last year, they’re a top side, it’s a tough one but these are the challenges that you look forward to as a player and that you have to overcome in your career.”RB Leipzig, Bayern Munich, Robert LewadowskiMatch Preview: RB Leipzig vs Bayern Munich Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 RB Leipzig will have the chance to prove their title-winning capabilities when they host Bayern Munich today at 18:30 (CET).Andres Jung, another board member of the German club, said:“Liverpool are one of the strongest teams we could’ve got. We’ll prepare well and certainly have no fear. It’ll be a great away game but the stadium isn’t that big, so we won’t have many tickets for our fans. We have respect for every team, and certainly for Liverpool. They’ll be two great games.”last_img read more