Axelsen dashes Srikanth’s hopes wins Yonex Indian Open Badminton, Ratchanok Intanon is Women’s champion

Harpal Singh Bedi

Viktor Axelsen at the presentation ceremony of Yonex Sunrise India Open 2019

New Delhi: Kidambi Srikanth’s hopes of regaining the title went up in smoke as Viktor Axelsen outpaced the Indian 7-21,20- 22 to win the Yonex-Sunrise India Open Badminton here on Sunday.

Kidambi Srikanth is runners up at the Yonex Sunrise India Open 2019.

In a rematch of the 2015 final, the Dane saved a couple of game points in the second game to get his second title after his 2017 win.

On the other hand Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon created history by becoming the first women’s singles shuttler to win the title three times when she beat the third seed He Bingjiao 21-15, 21-14.

With this, she also emulated the Lee Chong Wei’s record to become second singles player to taste glory thrice at India’s premier badminton event, with her earlier victories coming in 2013 and 2016.

World No. 4 Viktor Axelsen, who reached the All England Open final this month, was too strong and too powerful for the home hope in the first game as Srikanth struggled to find his rhythm.

The precision and firepower from Axelsen thoroughly overwhelmed the 2015 champion, allowing the Dane to build a huge 10-point advantage at 17-7 before pocketing the first game.

Amid vociferous cheers from the crowd, the Indian finally settled in in a very tight second game. By attacking from the front court and using his body smashes to perfection, the World No. 7 made the score equal at 12-12. With the two deadlocked in the second game, the Indian even carved out a couple of game points to go up to 20-18.

However, a dropshot from the Indian went wide after that and the second seeded Axelsen made no mistake in saving the other to get his first match point which he duly converted after 36 minutes of play.

“I think I gave him too many chances in the first set to attack and tried avoiding that in the second. I did fairly well at the 20th point, maybe if tif there would have been a decider, I would have had much better chances,” said Srikanth after the match.

Ratchanok Intanon created history by becoming the first women’s singles shuttler to win the title three times at the Yonex Sunrise India Open 2019

In women section Ratchanok started slow against the seventh ranked Chinese, whom she had never beaten in four previous meetings. With Bingjiao cruising at 9-6, the Thai banked on her experience to turn the tables on her rival.

Using her speed and aggression, she drew level at 14-14 and then started targeting the corners to make life difficult for the Chinese. Bingjiao, who had accounted for PV Sindhu in the semi-finals, looked pretty subdued since then and struggled to keep up with the Thai’s pace and accuracy.

After taking the first game, the former world champion continued her momentum throughout the second game as unforced errors from Bingjiao’s acquet piled up. With Bingjiao hitting in haste, a calm and poised Intanon sailed through the second game to go up to 14-9 before closing out the match in 46 minutes.

“I learnt from the past when I lost to her and also from her match against Sindhu yesterday,” said Intanon after the win. “People say I play really well here in India Open. Before I came to the main hall, I saw my record against her and it was 0-4 and I thought I need to break this record today.

“Today I tried to play calmly and point-by-point and I played well,” added the former World No. 1.

Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu

In women’s doubles and mixed doubles, the top seeded pairs of Greysia Polii-Apriyani Rahayu and Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping successfully defended their titles.

While Polii-Rahayu emerged 21-11, 25-23 winners over third seeds Chow Mei Kuan and Lee Meng Yean, Yilyu and Dongping prevailed over fifth seeds Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti 21-13, 21-11.

In men’s doubles, Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin triumphed over Ricky Karandasuwardi and Angga Pratama 21-14, 21-14 for their first title at this marquee event.

China in a box as pressure mounts to declare Masood Azhar a global terrorist

Close Watch

New Delhi: 2019 China-New Zealand Year of Tourism had a ceremonial start with China’s Minister of Culture and Tourism Luo Shugang addressing the opening ceremony at Wellington’s Te Papa Tongawera, Museum in New Zealand, on Saturday March 30, 2019.

The 2019 China-New Zealand Year of Tourism has been launched with the objective of strengthening economic and cultural ties between the two countries. New Zealand sees China as a major market for its tourism sector and has taken off on the tourism campaign with China close on the heels of the horrendous terrorist attack at Christchurch.

On behalf of the New Zealand government and people, I congratulate President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and the people of China on the successful opening of the 2019 China-New Zealand Year of Tourism – a milestone in the China-New Zealand relationship. – Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern

Significantly, coinciding with this event, comes the announcement today (Sunday 31 March 2019) by China that Monday onwards, “China will extend its policy of not imposing higher tariffs on imported US vehicles, as part of the country’s effort to create a good environment for bilateral trade talks with Washington and implement the consensus reached by Chinese and US leaders in Buenos Aires, Argentina last year”.

Having registered a major gain during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Italy last week which resulted in Italy agreeing to join China’s ambitious One Belt One Road global infrastructure project, China is taking steps to advance its relations with New Zealand, an important country in the Oceania region and also conceding on the higher tariffs issue vis-a-vis the US to improve bilateral trade ties, the official Chinese mouthpiece -Global Times today published an article that takes potshots at Times of India for its Edit on Saturday, titled “Confront the dragon: Address the China factor in terror’s ecosystem.”

Asking “Why is The Times of India so furious?” and casting aspersions on the Times of India editors, the article published by Global Times even goes to the extent of rubbing the US on the wrong side by observing that the ToI editors were “clearly inspired by the US”.

The Global Times article even jumps to the conclusion that (Indian) “media’s outrage against China is exactly what the US is delighted to see. Remotely controlling the situation in Asia, and stirring up trouble between China and its neighboring countries will not only contain the rise of China, but also guarantee the global hegemony of the US. Plus, if war erupts, US arms manufacturers can make a big fortune. By then, can India really count on US assistance?”

On Thursday, the US introduced a resolution in the UN Security Council to get Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar listed as a global terrorist.

The Global Times’ article in question refers to India’s move to list Masood Azhar as a global terrorist in the UN, which has been vetoed by China even after the Pulwama terror attack and it goes to the extent of asking “whether New Delhi had provided solid proof to link Azhar to terrorist activities”. Such a proposal makes people recall the border war in the 1960s. Next, will history repeat itself, the article says.

The ToI edit welcomes the US move to put pressure on China but at the same time it also underscores that “New Delhi can’t expect Washington to do all the heavy lifting”. It rolls out suggestions and talks of “ramping up ties with Taiwan, speaking out against injustices heaped on Uighurs, renewing support to the Tibetan government-in-exile, ratcheting up Quad activities, raising barriers to Chinese imports and barring China’s Huawei from participating in 5G trials on security grounds. It also affirms that it is “time to confront the dragon”.

Australia will go for tough laws to protect citizens from live-streaming of violent crimes

Newsroom24x7 Network

Canberra: The Morrison Government will legislate tough new laws to prevent the weaponising of social media platforms and to protect Australians from the live-streaming of violent crimes, such as the Christchurch terror attack.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new legislation would be introduced into Parliament next week as part of the action the Government was taking to keep Australians safe in the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attacks.

“Big social media companies have a responsibility to take every possible action to ensure their technology products are not exploited by murderous terrorists,” the Prime Minister said.

“It should not just be a matter of just doing the right thing. It should be the law. And that is what my Government will be doing next week to force social media companies to get their act together and work with law enforcement and intelligence agencies to defuse the threat their technologies can present to the safety of Australians.

“This is about keeping Australians safe by forcing social media companies to step up and do what the community expects of them to stop terrorists and criminals spreading their hate.

“A new taskforce bringing Government and social media companies together will also ensure we are all working together to deny terrorists the opportunity to use social media as part of their hatred and violence.

“These responses will form the basis of a model approach that Australia can take to the G20 to get our global partners on board to bring social media companies into our collective net of responsibility and accountability. We are already working to this end with our G20 and five eyes partners, including New Zealand.”

The Attorney-General Christian Porter said, “the Criminal Code Amendment (Unlawful Showing of Abhorrent Violent Material) Bill 2019 will include new offences with penalties of up 10 per cent of a company’s annual turnover and potential prison sentences for executives of social media companies who fail to act to remove abhorrent violent material from their platforms.”

“The Morrison Government will always act to keep Australians safe, and that includes keeping Australians safe online.”

Minister for Communications, Mitch Fifield said that “social media companies, like Facebook, which met with the Prime Minister, the Attorney-General, myself and Minister Dutton earlier this week did not present any immediate solutions to the issues arising out of the horror that occurred in Christchurch.”

“We will not allow social media platforms to be weaponised by terrorists and violent extremists who seek to harm and kill and nor would we allow a situation that a young Australian child could log onto social media and watch a mass murder take place.”

The Attorney-General said the amendments would be modelled on existing offences in the Criminal Code which require platforms to notify police if their service is being used to access child pornography.

“Mainstream media that broadcast such material would be putting their licence at risk and there is no reason why social media platforms should be treated any differently,” the Attorney-General said.

“These companies have a social responsibility and they have clearly failed to meet that responsibility in their response to Christchurch. The Morrison Government will force action from these companies through these new laws.”

The Bill will include new provisions to deal with the showing of “abhorrent violent material” which is material produced by a perpetrator, and which plays or livestreams the very worst types of offences. It will capture the playing or streaming of terrorism, murder, attempted murder, torture, rape and kidnapping on social media.

It will include two new sets of offences:

It will be a criminal offence for social media platforms not to remove abhorrent violent material expeditiously. This will be punishable by 3 years’ imprisonment or fines that can reach up to 10% of the platform’s annual turnover.
Platforms anywhere in the world must notify the AFP if they become aware their service is streaming abhorrent violent conduct that is happening in Australia. A failure to do this will be punishable by fines of up to $168,000 for an individual or $840,000 for a corporation.
The e-Safety Commissioner will be given the power to issue notices that bring this type of material to the attention of the social media companies. As soon as they receive a notice, they will be deemed to be aware of the material, meaning the clock starts ticking for the platform to remove the material or face extremely serious criminal penalties.

“The Bill will not impact the ability of news media to report on events which are in the public interest,” Minister Fifield said.

“Australia’s mainstream media already adopt a sensible approach to broadcasting material which can cause harm to individuals, as is required under their licensing arrangements.”

“The focus of this Bill is to put responsibility back on the social media giants to prevent their platforms being co-opted by terrorists, criminals and violent extremists,” the Attorney-General said.

IAF MIG-27 on routine sortie crashes near Jodhpur

Newsroom24x7 Network

New Delhi: An Indian Air Force MiG-27 aircraft got airborne from Air Force Station Uttarlai, Rajasthan at 1127 hrs today for a routine sortie. The aircraft crashed at 1145 hrs, approximately 120 km south of Jodhpur.

The pilot ejected safely and has been recovered by Search and Rescue helicopter. The pilot is safe and preliminary investigations have revealed no damage to any person or property on ground. A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate the cause of the accident.