North Korean flag flies in South before Olympic Games opens

first_imgFlags of participating countries flutter in the wind at the Olympic village in Gangnueng, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. In a rare sight, North Korean flags flew in South Korea on Thursday as the South prepared for the Winter Olympics that has brought a temporary lull in tensions surrounding the North’s nuclear program. The Olympic village in Gangneung turned into a selfie site as volunteer workers posed under a North Korean flag that has been raised in the country for the first time since a hockey tournament in April last year. (Daisuke Suzuki/Kyodo News via AP)GANGNEUNG, South Korea — In a rare sight, North Korean flags flew in South Korea on Thursday as the South prepared for the first Winter Olympics on its soil that has brought a temporary lull in tensions surrounding the North’s nuclear weapons program.The Olympic village in Gangneung turned into a selfie site as volunteer workers posed under a North Korean flag that has been raised in the country for the first time since a hockey tournament in April last year.ADVERTISEMENT North Korean flags were also raised at the other athletes’ village in Pyeongchang and stadiums in both Pyeongchang and Gangneung, where North Korean athletes are expected to compete during the Feb. 9-25 games, according to Pyeongchang’s Olympic Organizing Committee.The flags’ hoisting came hours before 10 North Korean skiers and skaters arrive on a rare flight between the war-separated rivals. North Korea is sending a total of 22 athletes, and the rest 12 all female hockey players have already been practicing in the South with South Korean teammates for a unified team competing at the games..FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“If feels amazing (that they are coming),” said Choi So Eun, a college student who volunteered for translation and other work during the Olympics, after taking a selfie with a fellow volunteer under a North Korean flag at the Gangneung athletes’ village.“I thought only high-level officials in South Korea could see a North Korean in person, but I think I can see them here so I’m excited,” Choi said. Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:35U.S. urges Japan, South Korea to share intel00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Another volunteer, Choi Sangyoung, said he hopes that the Olympics would help ease animosities between the rivals and lead them toward a “peaceful and good” direction.South Korea is preparing to host hundreds of other North Koreans during the games, including a 230-member cheering group and a 140-strong art troupe who are due to arrive next week. The Koreas have agreed to jointly march under a single “unification” flag during the opening ceremony.The Koreas’ Olympics-inspired reconciliation steps came after an extended period of animosity and diplomatic stalemate over North Korea’s advancing nuclear and missiles programs. Seoul sees the developments as an opportunity to revive meaningful communication with Pyongyang. Some outside experts say the North may aim to use improved ties with South Korea as a way to weaken U.S.-led international sanctions.North Korean flags also flew during the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, the last time the North sent a big delegation to a sporting event across the border. Displaying North Korean flags in public is banned under South Korea’s anti-Pyongyang security law, but the South has allowed exceptions when it hosts North Koreans for international events.Pyeongchang, a relatively small ski resort town, will host the ski, snowboard and sliding events during the Olympics. Gangneung, a larger coastal city about an hour’s drive away, will host the skating, hockey and curling events.ADVERTISEMENT Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting View commentscenter_img LATEST STORIES NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC AFP official booed out of forum Read Next Ginebra signs big man Prince Caperal Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s weddinglast_img read more

Win-win situation for Macaraya as CEU, San Sebastian thrive in D-League

first_imgFor the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. View comments Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Serving as a consultant for CEU and concurrently the head coach for San Sebastian, Macaraya knows that this stint in the developmental league could only bring positives for the two teams’ respective campaigns in their collegiate mother leagues.“Yes, it’s a win-win situation for both teams,” he said.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“For CEU, it’s a good learning experience for them. For San Sebastian, they learned that it’s all about teamwork. Even if (Rod) Ebondo is dominating every aspect of the game, all the CEU players were still working hard to defend them. Bottomline is the team that plays defense wins the game.”Building a dynasty with the Scorpions, Macaraya has been vocal in his desire to replicate that success with the Golden Stags. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOEgay Macaraya wore a pink polo shirt on Tuesday, but the veteran mentor clarified that he was rooting for both teams when Centro Escolar faced Che’Lu Bar and Grill-San Sebastian in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup.“I’m rooting for no one,” he said with a grin after the Scorpions’ 105-88 rout of the Revellers.ADVERTISEMENT And little-by-little, through exposures in tournaments like the PBA D-League, he believes that his players are being subjected to high-level competition which could only be beneficial for all the players and the team moving forward.“I’ve already brought that in my second year in San Sebastian. But of course, coach Steve (Tiu) has his own system with Che’Lu,” he said. “Again, playing in the D-League is a different competition because this is the next level before you get to the PBA. I guess it will help the players with their confidence.” LATEST STORIES Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City AFP official booed out of forum 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Inquirer 7 top UAAP 80 women’s volleyball players: Week 1 MOST READ Read Nextlast_img read more

Feats of Klay important than Warriors winning

first_imgLATEST STORIES “I was happy with my performance on (the other) side of the ball, being locked in defensively. It didn’t matter who I was guarding, I was trying to make it tough on them just to get a good look.“If we have that same defensive effort collectively, we’ll be really tough to beat.”The Warriors forced 20 turnovers while committing only four, matching an NBA Finals record low, and kept the Cavaliers to 34.9 percent shooting (30-of-86).“We know Cleveland is going to play better on Sunday,” Thompson said. “They’re obviously not going to turn the ball over as much. They will probably shoot the ball at a higher clip. But I still think if we play defense like that, we can come away with the win.”Acting Warriors coach Mike Brown has not worried about inconsistent playoff outings from Thompson.ADVERTISEMENT Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds “That’s not a big deal at all,” Thompson said. “If I score six points a game and it gets us four wins and an NBA championship, I can do that every year.“I’m not about getting numbers. I’m not about getting these gaudy stats. If you win the last game, you had a great season. And that’s our goal. That’s what we come to expect every year now.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutWhile Thompson went 3-of-16 from the floor, his defensive work was impressive. Rivals shot only 1-for-12 against him, allowing Durant to strike for 38 points and guard Stephen Curry to score 28.“Obviously I could have shot the ball much better. Hope to make a few more of those on Sunday and instead of win by 20, win by 30, I guess,” Thompson said with a laugh. Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ After a dunkfest in Game 1, Cavs must slow Warriors at rimcenter_img Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast View comments Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson dribbles during an NBA basketball practice, Wednesday, May 31, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. The Golden State Warriors face the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday in Oakland. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Golden State guard Klay Thompson has been happy to adjust to star forward Kevin Durant joining the Warriors, surrendering scoring chances to help turn the squad into an NBA juggernaut.Thompson averaged a career-high 22.3 points a game this season, his scoring numbers rising all six seasons in the league, but his playoff scoring is off 10 points a game and he had only six points in Thursday’s 113-91 Warriors win over Cleveland to open the best-of-seven NBA Finals.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ “To be a great shooter, you can’t have a conscience, and when it comes to shooting the basketball, I don’t think he does,” Brown said. “He knows he’s a great shooter, if not the greatest in the world, and so he’s not even thinking twice about it, he’s going to let it go.“That gives me the confidence that it’s always going to go in. He’s been doing so many other things for us that we need him for on the floor. He has defended well, dribble, drove and (passed) very well. And at the end of the day, he needs to be guarded. So that creates space for others to be able make plays.”Toasting the streakThe Warriors, off to a record 13-0 playoff start to match an NBA post-season win streak record, could become the first NBA champion to run through four playoff rounds undefeated.But Golden State approaches history with caution. The Warriors won a record 73 regular-season games last season only to fall one game short in losing the NBA Finals to Cleveland.“Last year’s playoffs felt like a war every game,” Thompson said. “This year we’re 13-0 and playing at a very high level. But we’ve still got a long way to go. Our goal is a championship. But up to this point, you couldn’t ask for a better start.”Or it could be magic. Thompson autographed a toaster for a Warriors fan on March 13 and Golden State is 27-1 since, the only loss coming when several starters sat out for rest.“That toaster is still living,” Thompson said. “I hope that streak will continue because it’s a beautiful streak.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextlast_img read more

Valtteri Bottas wins Austrian GP; Sebastian Vettel second

first_imgChina furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland (center) leads into the first curve at the start of the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, Sunday, July 9, 2017. (Photo by DARKO BANDIC / AP)SPIELBERG, Austria — Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas made a great start from pole position to win the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday, while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished just behind in second to extend his championship lead over main rival Lewis Hamilton.Bottas did just enough to hold off Vettel’s late charge, as the German driver crossed the line 0.6 seconds behind.ADVERTISEMENT Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo showed great ability to defend third place from Hamilton, who almost passed the Australian driver on the last two laps but had to settle for fourth.Bottas clinched the second victory of his career – both have come since he joined Mercedes from Williams this season. His first career podium was on the same Spielberg track, when he finished third for Williams in 2014.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsHamilton started from eighth on the grid on Sunday.The British driver had the third fastest qualifying time behind Vettel and Bottas, but was demoted five places for an unauthorized gearbox change after the last race in Azerbaijan two weeks ago, which Ricciardo won. Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games MOST READ Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Creamline grounds Air Force for 3-0 start LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera View commentslast_img read more

Pacquiao commends McGregor, Mayweather

first_imgLATEST STORIES Mayweather scored a technical knockout victory over McGregor to take hold of a perfect 50-0 record, boxing’s greatest win-loss record ever.Heavyweight icon Rocky Marciano was once the owner of the sport’s best record at 49-0, a feat Mayweather replicated in 2015 when he defeated an overmatched Andre Berto in lopsided fashion.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingAs for McGregor, this was his first fight in a boxing ring after emerging as the UFC’s poster boy when he held the lightweight and featherweight belts consecutively.RELATED VIDEO View comments Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next McGregor awed by clinical Mayweather1.8K viewsSportsVentuno Web Player 4.51 Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, embraces Conor McGregor after a super welterweight boxing match Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao gave praise to both Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor after the two matched up against each other Sunday (Manila time) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.“Respect to McGregor for taking a chance but congrats to Floyd on #50!” Pacquiao posted on Twitter.ADVERTISEMENT Biggest Pogo service provider padlocked for tax evasion NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesterscenter_img Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Jack pummels Cleverly to take light-heavy crown MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelolast_img read more

Uyloan says D-League stint with Cignal ‘rejuvenated’ his career

first_imgJonathan Uyloan. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netFor Jonathan Uyloan playing somewhere else is better than not playing at all.With Meralco set to put him in the reserve list, the sharpshooting guard made the bold decision and asked the management to allow him to play for Cignal HD in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup.ADVERTISEMENT “I asked Meralco if I could play with Cignal and everything worked out well. Some people may think it’s a demotion, but for me, it’s a blessing. I have a contract with Meralco and I have a contract with Cignal. I was pretty much working two jobs,” he said.Turns out, it was the right move with Uyloan going as far as citing this stint with the Hawkeyes as one of the best decisions he’s ever made.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening“It was probably the best move of my career. It made me love basketball more,” he said. “I came from the PBL before, and I was a practice player for Rain or Shine. The move helped me go back to where I came from. I wasn’t the superstar, I had to work my way up, so going back to Cignal rejuvenated my basketball career.”Suiting up in time for the playoffs, Uyloan averaged 8.0 points on a 39 percent shooting from threes, 3.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists as he became a valuable contributor for Cignal’s back-to-back title wins in the developmental ranks. Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games But more than anything, what the Fil-Am guard treasures more is the chance to be with this group of guys, a mix of veteran campaigners and aspiring amateurs, all seeking to make it to the PBA.“It was great, being around with guys who are hungry to get better in basketball and are trying to make it to the PBA. I’m happy to help out and show that it all starts with integrity and hardwork first. And it all paid off,” he said.With this short stint now over, Uyloan is positive that he has made a good account of himself as he returns to the Bolts.“I just hope that they see that wherever I’m at, I’ll work hard. With Rain or Shine, I was able to win a championship for the first time. And then, when I was with GlobalPort, that team went to the semifinals for the first time. With Meralco, we made it to the Finals for the first time. Then here in Cignal, we became back-to-back champions. Every team I’ve been on, it’s been a blessing,” he said.“I don’t know what it is. But I just know that where I come from, it’s all hard work and you got to show it in every team you go. Every part of the team is valuable and whatever they bring individually, collectively, it’s going to be great.”ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side MOST READcenter_img Emotional Morrison wins gold in taekwondo, avenges teammate’s loss View comments Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ LATEST STORIES Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Biggest Pogo service provider padlocked for tax evasion Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelolast_img read more

CWG: India shoot to second spot with five golds

first_imgIndian wrestler Ravinder Singh with his coach Satpal after winning the gold medal.Two pairs of shooters were bang on target while the grapplers made a clean sweep of all three titles at stake as India grabbed five gold medals to climb to the second spot in the medals table below Australia in the Commonwealth Games on Tuesday.The Indian men’s 10m air rifle pair of Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and world record holder Gagan Narang started the gold rush for the country in the morning which was sustained by women shooters Rahi Sarnobat and Anisa Sayeed who picked up the pairs 25m pistol event for women in style.Two more silver medals came India’s way from the Dr Karni Singh shooting range before greco-roman style grapplers Ravinder Singh (60 kg), Sanjay (74 kg) and Anil Kumar (96kg) made a clean sweep of all three gold medals on offer from the wrestling mat to round off a splendid day for the hosts.The two silver medals were earned by Deepak Sharma and Omkar Singh, in the men’s 50m pistol pairs event, and the woman’s duo of world champion Tejaswini Sawant and Lajjakumari Gauswami, who stood second in the pairs 50m rifle 3 position.The five gold and two silver medals boosted the hosts’ overall medal tally to 5-4-2 on the second day of competitions after the weightlifers gave the country two silver and as many bronze medals yesterday.The three wrestling gold medals pitchforked India to the second place behind Australia after England overtook the home country briefly through their first two golds from the pool won by Liam John Tancock (men’s 50m backstroke) and Francesca Jean Halsall (women’s 50m butterlfly).advertisementThe day commenced in scintillating fashion for India when Bindra and Narang ended the first day’s gold medal drought with a Games record of 1193, overtaking their own mark of 1189 set four years ago in Melbourne, to clinch the men’s 10m air rifle pairs event.Their feat was followed by a superb display of calm nerves and dead centre shooting by the women’s duo of Rahi Sarnobat and Anisa Sayyed who added the second gold in the women’s 25m pistol pairs event with a championship record of 1156 to boot.Sharma and Omkar ended up second in the men’s 50m pairs event (1187) behind Lim Swee Hon and Gai Bin of Singapore.Later Tejaswani and Lajjakumari finished second in the women’s 50m air rifle 3 position, by equalling the 2006 Games mark of 1143 points, Singapore’s Aquilah Sudhir and Jasmine Xiang Wei who broke the previous record by six points.”Many thought I am a dictator, since I had imposed a gag order on the shooters prior to the Games. But whatever I was doing, I was doing for the country. And we have got the reward for that,” said a beaming national coach Sunny Thomas after his team members won a medal in each of the four events they took part in during the day.- With PTI inputslast_img read more

TN: Youth goared to death during Jallikattu

first_imgA youth was on Friday killed and another was injured during Jallikattu (bull taming sport) at a temple near Madurai, police said.The incident happenend during taming of the bull at Ambalakarapatti temple near Melur, 30 km from Madurai on Friday, they said.The organisers of the festival had not taken permission to conduct the Jallikattu, they added.- With inputs from PTIlast_img

Abu Salem and Arun Gawli live life on their own terms in jail

first_imgAbu SalemA remote prison on the fringes of the city holds the only two crime lords Mumbai Police has collared: Abu Salem alias ‘Captain’ and Arun Gawli alias ‘Daddy’. The star inmates share little in common except a lengthy criminal record and a mutual loathing of Dawood Ibrahim’s Karachi-based crime,Abu SalemA remote prison on the fringes of the city holds the only two crime lords Mumbai Police has collared: Abu Salem alias ‘Captain’ and Arun Gawli alias ‘Daddy’. The star inmates share little in common except a lengthy criminal record and a mutual loathing of Dawood Ibrahim’s Karachi-based crime syndicate. That could be the reason why deported gangster Salem, 44, and Mumbai’s only resident don Gawli, 60, chat occasionally in the open spaces within the 20-foot-high walls of Taloja Jail. Gawli was shifted here in 2009, Salem a year later. Located off the Mumbai-Pune expressway, nearly 50 km from the city centre, the prison was inaugurated in 2008 in a distant rocky crop of hills. Since then, the long arm of Mumbai’s real estate-a signature sprawl of 20-storey apartment blocks-has begun snaking towards the prison boundary.As the newest destination for the city’s undertrials, Taloja Jail was meant to decongest the Arthur Road Jail in Byculla, bursting with over 2,100 prisoners, more than double its designated capacity. The jail, which takes its name from a village nearby, is still under construction and will accommodate 2,427 prisoners when it is completed in two years. For now, it has 867 inmates, including Somali pirates, Bangladeshi migrants, members of the Indian Mujahideen and Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) as well as eight accused in the September 2007 Malegaon blast case including Lt-Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit, 39. It has members of the Bharat Nepali, Ashwin Naik and Salem gangs. Salem and Gawli, however, are the stars.Click here to EnlargeA Maharashtra home department official says the state government always sends Dawood gang rivals to Taloja to avoid showdowns in Arthur Road Jail. However, the bifurcation has helped the gangsters virtually run their activities from behind bars. Arthur Road Jail is close to Dawood’s den in Nagpada; it’s easy for the gangsters’ couriers to pass on his messages to the prisoners. Taloja Jail is close to Dawood’s rival Chhota Rajan’s stronghold, Navi Mumbai. Rajan’s trusted aide D.K. Rao was sent here instead of Arthur Road Jail after his arrest in journalist Jyotirmoy Dey’s murder case in 2011. However, the others arrested in the case, including prime accused Satish Kalia, a sharpshooter of the Rajan gang, are lodged in the Arthur Road Jail.Taloja Jail features double-storeyed ‘anda’ high-security cells-thus called for their circular shape. Each floor has 50 10×5 cells. Salem inhabits one of these. Former Taloja inmates such as Irfan Ali (pseudonym) recall meetings between Salem and Gawli as being hot on the jail grapevine. “Simply because there was little else to do. No satellite TV, no movies, everybody watched everyone else,” says the property dealer from Thane who recently served a six-month term in a cheating case. “You get the idea how different the dons are from the way they dress,” he says. Salem stills looks the way he did when he got off the flight that brought him back from Portugal in 2005: Impeccably dressed in jeans, T-shirt, white sneakers and, unusually for humid Mumbai, a dark velvet jacket. Gawli, the earthy don who is known to have never set foot outside India, sports white kurta pyjamas and his trademark Gandhi topi.advertisementArun GawliBoth lord over tiny empires in prison. Salem has two gang members with him. Gawli, arrested within days of the March 2008 murder of Shiv Sena corporator Kamlesh Jamsandikar, has six gang members for company. Ali says Gawli is particular about his health, but with no major ailments warranting his shifting to a government hospital, he spends most of his time in one of the barracks doubling as a hospital, being ‘treated’ for minor ailments. He is guarded by his henchmen including Dinesh Narkar, a tall, well-built man, and spends most of his time smoking hashish smuggled into the prison by human couriers. Salem, on the other hand, smokes only imported Marlboros. He works out regularly in his cell and plays badminton, a court-granted privilege. He walks in the prison with a touch-me-not menace, ignoring the salutations of fellow inmates. He once snarled “Goli yahaan khayega ya bahar khayega? (Do you want to be shot inside or outside the prison?)” at a jail staffer who asked him to hurry up a meeting with his lawyer in the common meeting area.Yet it was an aluminum spoon that landed Salem in Taloja Jail. Gangster Mustafa Dossa slashed Salem’s face with the improvised prison weapon in the Arthur Road Jail in July 2010. The man who prides himself on his movie-star looks briefly appeared with a bandaged face. The attack on Salem was not a stray one. Two criminals, John D’Souza and Azgar Ali Mehendi, were killed in the jail in 2006 and 2007 respectively. In September 2010, Salem’s aide Mehendi Hassan, an accused in the Pradeep Jain murder case, was attacked in Arthur Road Jail by two undertrials. In January this year, a murder accused, Akram Khan, was beaten to death by another inmate.advertisementIt is not known what sparked the argument, but Dossa and Salem were instantly separated: Salem to Taloja and Dossa, deported from Dubai in 2003 for his involvement in the 1993 Mumbai blasts, to the humbler Thane prison. Police officials believe the argument was a set-up, meant to move the two high-profile gangsters away from the blinding glare of India’s most famous prisoner: Ajmal Amir Kasab. Ever since the sole surviving gunman of the November 26, 2008, Mumbai attack arrived, the colonial prison has been under heightened scrutiny and security, stifling the gang bosses’ lifestyle. While Gawli is known to pay for services within the prison-his gang is still active in central Mumbai-Salem has stridently refused to pay the estimated Rs 1 lakh per month for special privileges, including meals from outside twice a day. A lawyer who knows Gawli well reveals that the gangster has informants everywhere in and outside the jail premises. “Be it a vada pav vendor or a tea stall proprietor, everyone is loyal to Gawli,” he says.Jail is the safest place for gangsters to run their syndicate, says a well-known criminal lawyer who has handled several high-profile gangsters. Their modus operandi is very simple. A gang member deliberately commits a crime and refuses bail. Eventually, he is lodged in the same jail where his master is. He takes instructions and contacts from his boss, secures bail in two or three days, comes out of the jail and executes the supari (contract) he has taken. “Salem and Gawli have also adopted the same tactic. That is why their operations are in full swing from behind bars,” the lawyer says.”Salem has only two cases pending against him in the Delhi High Court. He will be free soon, in two or three years,” predicts his former lawyer Ashok Saraogi. “He has time on his side,” he says. Salem discontinued Saraogi’s services in 2008 following differences. Salem wanted to contest the 2007 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections by floating his own party. He suspected that Saraogi was serving his own political ambitions in his client’s name. Saraogi, however, refutes the charge. “Salem could not contest the election because he was not a voter in the state. His name was removed from the voting list soon after he fled Mumbai.”A school dropout, Salem hawked electronics at a departmental store in Andheri, Mumbai, in the 1990s and began work as a courier for the Dawood gang before parting ways in 1998 after a turf war with another Dawood lieutenant, Chhota Shakeel. Salem has spent an estimated Rs 40 lakh in legal fees in the past few years. He has generated the cash through hawala transactions for some influential politicians. “When he was deported in 2005, Salem entered into a pact with one of the leading investigative agencies in India. The agency agreed not to give him third-degree treatment in the jail in lieu of his destroying evidence against the politicians’ hawala rackets,” a senior officer told india today. The “friends and well wishers” are still bearing the expenses of his legal case.advertisement”Gawli is safest in prison,” says Billu, a police informant in his early 30s. “Understand his psyche. This is a gangster petrified of death. He once refused to step out of a police van during a drive of over 200 km from Pune’s Yerwada Jail to Mumbai because he feared he would be shot in an encounter. In October 2004, when he was contesting an election from Chinchpokli as an independent, Gawli had refused to cast his own vote fearing senior police inspector Vijay Salaskar posted outside his home would kill him in an encounter. Gawli is known to stay alert in Taloja. He stands with his back to the wall when his cell is being cleaned. Having spent over two decades in prison, he knows the four walls are not safe.”State Home Minister R.R. Patil had admitted in the Legislative Council in March that there was inadequate security in the state’s prisons. “The jails in the state are over populated. Some jails are very old and need to be repaired,” he said.With curbs on police recruitment, the demand for higher security is unlikely to be met anytime soon. In effect, the crime lords will continue to rule in prison till they are freed.last_img read more

Late Olympics qualification a blessing for men’s recurve team

first_imgThe Indian men’s recurve team qualified at the last possible opportunity and the archers and the coaching staff are looking at it as a positive going into the Olympics.They feel it will be easier to carry their form for a short duration, and the confidence and momentum will stand them in good stead when they step up to the line at Lord’s.”Our scores at the Ogden World Cup last month were very good. Before that, in Shanghai and Turkey too, we performed well. So our confidence is high,” Jayanta Talukdar, a member of the trio, told Mail Today.Talukdar was the only one of the archers who had secured his individual berth beforehand. He had done so at the 2011 World Championships in Turin.”Before Ogden, most of our focus was on our team performance. We devoted 70 per cent of our training time to that. After we qualified, we divided our time equally between team and individual training,” the man from Guwahati said.The 26-year-old archer has won two individual World Cup gold medals – in 2006 and 2009 – and leads his team in the shooting order during competition, followed by Tarundeep Rai and Rahul Banerjee.He knows what the team needs to work on to be among the top medal contenders at the Olympics.”We need to improve on our starting, especially our first three arrows. That is why even in training, we shoot a round or LIMBA RAM two before going for a one-onone match. That helps us get into rhythm,” he said.advertisement”Every other team that has qualified for the Olympics will be working as hard as we are so there will be no pushovers in London. We’re ranked No.4, behind Korea, the United States and France. But there are teams such as Italy, China, Japan and Chinese Taipei who can spring a surprise any day.”The Olympics comes once in every four years and one cannot harp on the negatives and problems, and one has to give his best,” Talukdar said.National coach Limba Ram has high hopes from his men’s team. “All three archers are equally good and have been shooting well over the last few months.”The weather during the Olympics also does not concern him. “It will be cold in London and the archery venue at Lord’s is expected to have swirling winds. But whatever the conditions, they should not affect our archers too much,” the threetime Olympian said. “The men’s team did not have a very good season in 2011, but they have turned it around this year. I am very hopeful of their chances.”last_img read more