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If you are an Indian passport holder and travel often, chances are that you have had to face visa issues once or more.As of 2018, 59 countries offer visa on arrival or visa-free travel to Indian passport holders. But that is hardly any consolation, given that most countries in Europe and the Americas still require you to get that visa stamped on your passport.Read it at India Today Related Items
Bank of Singapore, a private banking arm of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC Bank), is hiring more staff for its Dubai branch as the lender seeks to cater to Indians and the other affluent clients in the region.Recruitment of about 20 relationship managers is on the cards, according to Vikram Malhotra, the bank’s global market head for South Asia and the Middle East, Bloomberg reported. Most of the additions will be based in Dubai while some additions will be made in Singapore and Hong Kong too.As an offshore destination for Indian wealth, Dubai is second only to Singapore, according to a Capgemini report that was released in November. About 22 per cent of their overseas assets went to the Southeast Asian country in the second quarter, while Dubai and London got 14 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively.The Dubai branch of the Bank of Singapore, which serves as the regional financial hub, opened in February and has about 45 wealth managers. “Dubai will be the hub, where we will cover the MENA region and Western side,” Bahren Shaari, the chief executive told Reuters in an earlier interview. At its opening, the bank was targeting an annual growth of assets of more than 20 per cent.The total wealth in the Middle East grew 5 per cent last year to $2.4 trillion, as per estimates from the consultancy Capgemini SA. Bank of Singapore has seen a “phenomenal growth in the assets under management” in the Middle East and from wealthy overseas Indians this year, Malhotra added.Indian expatriates sent the maximum amount of remittances – totaling to Dh15.46 billion — back home from the United Arab Emirates from January to September 2017, according to UAE Central Bank figures released earlier this month.The UAE also emerged as the most sought-after destination for 14 out of 40 wealthiest Non-Resident Indians, according to this year’s Hurun Report. Micky Jagtiani of the Landmark Group and MA Yusuf Ali of the Emke Group, who were ranked the second and third wealthiest Indian immigrants on the list, are residents of the UAE, with fortunes worth Rs 347 billion and Rs 319 billion, respectively. Related ItemsGulfSingaporeUAE
“Burgered,” headlined The Economic Times, India’s leading economic daily. The publication elaborated: “From worms to lizards to fungus to finger nails, all kinds of ‘foreign’ objects have been reportedly served to consumers along with burger and fries.” It’s happened before: in Japan, where McDonald’s had to apologize for a tooth being found in French fries, and in the U.S. itself when a customer field a lawsuit after biting down on a foreign object in her breakfast burrito.But the issue in India is about more than lacertilian legacies. It’s about a full-blown war between the U.S. fast-food chain and one of its local franchisees — Connaught Plaza Restaurants Ltd (CPRL) and its head, Vikram Bakshi. The current state of affairs: Some 169 outlets in the northern and eastern region are closed. (The west and south come under a different franchisee – Amit Jatia’s Hardcastle Restaurants.) McDonald’s has told its suppliers not to serve CPRL. And that has probably compounded the problem of quality with both sides saying the other is to blame.The problems between McDonald’s and Bakshi are long standing. CPRL was set up as a 50:50 joint venture between the two; there were differences from the beginning over financial issues. Both sides made offers to buy each other out. They were rejected. Bakshi was ousted as managing director of CPRL by McDonald’s India in August 2013. He moved the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in Delhi, which ruled in his favor. McDonald’s went to the London Court of International Arbitration. The U.K. court has asked Bakshi to sell his stake in the joint venture to McDonald’s at a fair valuation in accordance with their agreement. In the meantime, the Delhi tribunal will take another look at the issues at the end of October. The U.S. company is believed to be negotiating with Hardcastle, Jubilant FoodWorks (which operates the Domino’s Pizza and Dunkin’ Donuts franchises in India) and Moon Beverages (Coca-Cola’s Indian authorized bottler) to take overfrom CPRL.Delhi Switches to SubwayBut while the courts act with judicial speed (McDonald’s has gone back to the Delhi tribunal), what is happening on the ground? Consumers in New Delhi and elsewhere are heading to the nearest Burger King, Burger Singh or Jumbo King — just three of the rival fast-food chains that are stepping on the gas. According to market research firm Kantar IMRB, since McDonald’s stopped operations in Delhi, fast-food rival Subway has gained 5% traffic and KFC 2%. Overall share for McDonald’s declined from 9% in June to just 3% in July.Even outstation rivals are stepping up. “Jumbo King Even outstation rivals are stepping up. “Jumbo King is now on a high-growth trajectory,” says Dheeraj Gupta, managing director of Jumbo King Foods, an Indian-style (vada paav) burger chain.“We will close the current financial [year] at 100 stores in Mumbai and Pune, the cities of focus currently. This is a market of 500 stores for us. The plan is to get to at least 200 stores here and then look at national expansion.”Burger King has just opened its 100th store in north India. “The Home of the Whopper,” as it describes itself, has doubled its footprint since last year; it opened shop in 2014. “India is a unique market, and we have consistently experimented with our menu to create offerings that are distinct from the global menu,” says Burger King India CEO Rajeev Varman. U.S.-based Burger King is the second largest fast-food hamburger chain in the world.Burger Singh has recently announced expansion plans for 30 outlets. Says cofounder Nitin Rana: “These are the next steps in building Burger Singh into a great and enduring worldwide brand.” Burger Singh was founded in 2014 when two Indian students in the U.K. decided to give a spicy touch to common or garden burgers. The company has raised $1 million in funding.King Takes on SinghOthers are clambering on to the bandwagon. According to The Economic Times: “Burger King has filed a case against a Mysore-based restaurant named King Burger and battled against the owner of a pushcart in Punjab called Mr Singh Burger King.”But does the quick-service restaurant (QSR) sector merit such a scramble? KFC opened shop in Bangalore in June 1995 to be met with a host of leftist (anti-imperialism) and rightist (anti-meat consumption) protests. It later put more emphasis on its vegetarian fare — Paneer Zinger and Veg Rockin’ Burger. McDonald’s launched in India in 1996. One of its early offerings was the McAloo Tikki, a potato-based burger which is being adapted for other global market. “One of the key reasons for the success of McDonald’s in India has been its ability very early on to recognize the implications of unique Indian customer trends and preferences,” says Ankur Bisen, senior vice president at management consulting firm Technopak Advisors. “From day one, beef was never on the menu. (India’s majority Hindu population does not consume beef.) It even opened the only vegetarian McDonald’s anywhere in the world in a religious tourist spot.”Bisen describes the structure of the Indian market. “The total size of the QSR segment is around Rs.18,500 crore ($2.82 billion at $1 = Rs.65.50),” he says. “Nearly half of it is dominated by the chain market (enterprises with two or more outlets) and the other half comprises stand-alone units. Four international QSR chains — Domino’s, McDonald’s, Subway and KFC — make up 60% of the chain market of QSRs and there are a few other foreign chains, like Burger King, on a growth spree. Until recently, the QSR space in India was shaped by the international players. They created the QSR space in the first place and defined the rules of the game on supply chain, outlet design, business model, etc.“But now and going forward, Indian QSRs have come of age,” adds Bisen. “There are QSRs, like Haldiram’s, that offer Indian cuisines and experience. There are QSRs, like Goli Vada Pav, that are plays on niche tastes and are taking the narrative national.” (But the real trouble is the multiplicity of Indian cuisines; one person’s fuchka is another’s panipuri).“QSRs have learned [from] and appreciated the international players on supply chain, customer experience and business model, and have imbibed these practices in their growth plans,” continues Bisen. “In doing so, they have kept the product offering uniquely Indian or fusion.”He feels that the franchise battle facing McDonald’s is unlikely to have a lingering effect on the company or the industry. “The controversy around McDonald’s is not reflective of the Indian QSR segment in any way,” he says. “It is for reasons that are internal to the company, and such a controversy can happen in any company in any sector. If a car joint venture between a foreign player and an Indian company is called off, that does not cast doubts on the Indian automobile segment. My guess is that the appointment of the new franchise operator will happen soon and the business will be back to usual.”“Overall, McDonald’s has a fairly strong brand equity in the rest of the country and is seen as a young, aspirational brand,” says Jagdeep Kapoor, brand consultant and CEO of Samsika Marketing Consultants. “The local chains, like Jumbo King and Burger Singh, will not get much benefit because the equity of McDonald’s is far stronger than any local brand. The brand which could benefit is Burger King.”Different ViewsGupta disagrees. The franchise battle “is damaging the brand value,” he says. “It is a war of egos between two partners. We as members of the same industry do hope that they are able to resolve their differences soon.”“The QSR sector is growing very fast in India,” adds Kapoor. “This is because what I call ‘the aspiration’ market is growing and the ‘perspiration’ market is declining. Eating out, eating western food, eating in-between meals and eating on the go are all accelerating QSR market growth.”Kapoor continues: “The ethnic food QSR market is growing…. [But] I see McDonald’s doubling their stores and growing even faster. Brands are built in the minds and hearts of consumers, and McDonald’s has a premium, aspirational image. For the next decade at least, Indian consumers will continue taking a big bite of McDonald’s, and McDonald’s will continue to take a big bite of the Indian QSR market.”“The 169 stores controlled by Vikram Bakshi’s company is less than 0.5% of the 37,000 McDonald’s outlets worldwide,” Gupta notes. “However, the Indian market will eventually become a very large market for them and for any multinational. It is better that they sort out their differences now.”There is another issue lurking in the wings. McDonald’s has been losing brand value globally. After a decade among the top 10 global brands, Interbrand demoted it to No. 12 in 2016. “For 15 straight years, McDonald’s has always ranked within the top 10, peaking at No. 6 back in 2011,” wrote The Motley Fool. “This year is the first year that the Big Mac maker did not crack theelite ranking.”“McDonald’s is certainly under threat the world over,” says Harish Bijoor, brand strategy specialist and founder of Harish Bijoor Consults. “The key problem is its perception of yore as typical American fast food. That perception worked when everything American was the way to be. Today, perceptual shifts have occurred that are tectonic. American burger and soda companies are considered unhealthy statements. Fast food is considered a sure way to a fast-deteriorating life.“This shift has affected McDonald’s and other companies in the space of burgers and sugared sodas,” he continues. “The American himself is looking for better ways. The Walmartisation of the U.S. in the supermarket space has led to rebel supermarket movements such as Whole Foods that have elicited a big response in recent times. Therefore, the American way itself has changed. That’s quite like pulling the rug off from under the feet of burger and soda companies. The operating environment has turned different, and even hostile.”In the background is the fact that a Western brand is no longer a recipe for success in India. Coke has been [in India] for two decades, but the brand the multinational purchased from Parle – Thums Up – still rules the cola roost. It is the market leader in the segment despite attempts by the company to kill it off and ease the path for the “Real Thing.” Today, small beverage companies – with cheaper products – are taking the big boys to the cleaners.In India, local competition — at lower prices — is another danger. “The [franchise] controversy does provide entry/leverage points to competitors at the cost of McDonald’s,” says Bisen. “Competition will try to capitalize.”“There are enough local options that could fill in the blanks that McDonald’s closures will leave,” adds Bijoor. “Getting those consumers back is another game. The risk also lies in the fact that a burger can be replaced by not only a burger. The options are humongous. Burger’s loss can be pizza’s gain, or for that matter, vada paav’s.” Related Items
Three suspects have been arrested in connection with the killing of a BJP worker in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi district two days ago, the police said on Monday. Director General of Police O.P. Singh said there was a local-level political rivalry between the deceased, Surendra Singh, 50, and the father of one of the accused. “We have arrested three persons. After the incident was reported, as many as seven people were taken into custody and they were thoroughly quizzed,” Mr. Singh told reporters here. “Among the seven people, there were three who were linked with the incident.” Amethi Superintendent of Police Rajesh Kumar said those arrested have been identified as Ramchandra, Dharamnath and Naseem, while two persons are absconding. Irani’s close aideSurendra Singh, a close aide of newly elected Amethi MP Smriti Irani, was shot when he was sleeping in his house at Baraulia village, 25 km from the district headquarters, on Saturday night. The former village head was referred to a Lucknow hospital, but succumbed to injuries during treatment. “The incident is a result of old enmity. There was tension between the slain ex-pradhan and Dharamnath since the last panchayat election,” the SP said. Both were preparing for the coming panchayat election that is likely to be held later this year, police sources said. The DGP said a .315 bore countrymade pistol and a blood-stained towel had been recovered from Ramchandra, whose motorcycle was also used in the incident and is yet to be recovered. The officer said the towel had been sent for forensic examination. “In unveiling the entire case, the police have examined circumstantial evidences and electronic surveillance,” he said. Mr. Singh said Atul Singh and Waseem, who are on the run, have been traced to Delhi and Lucknow.CM’s direction The arrests come a day after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed the DGP to take effective action in the case. Ms. Irani, who met the deceased’s family in Amethi on Sunday, had alleged that her aide was killed so that the constituency could be “terrorised, disintegrated and bowed down”.
The Jharkhand High Court on Saturday granted bail to Raqibul Hassan alias Ranjit Kohli, who was arrested five years ago on a complaint from national-level air rifle shooter Tara Shahdeo that he had lied to her about his religion and married her. Acting Chief Justice H.C. Mishra allowed Mr. Hassan’s bail plea on the ground that he had spent five years in judicial custody.Conditions for bail The court granted the bail on the condition that Mr. Hassan should deposit his passport, not influence witnesses and appear in the trial court on every date of hearing. If any of the conditions were flouted, then the Central Bureau of Investigation, which was handed over the case in 2015, was at liberty to move the court for cancellation of bail, the court ruled. The Bench also asked Mr. Hassan to deposit cash sureties of ₹15,000 each.Mr. Hassan was arrested on August 26, 2014, in New Delhi after Ms. Shahdeo filed an FIR against him at the Hindpiri police station here the same year, accusing him of marrying her after lying to her about his religion and physically torturing her. Ms. Shahdeo hails from Ranchi and her marriage with Mr. Hassan, which was termed “love jihad”, took place in 2014. She had filed a divorce petition on January 6, 2017, and the principal judge of the family court, B.K. Gautam, had on June 27, 2018, granted the divorce on the ground that the accused had lied about his religion and subsequently subjected Ms. Shahdeo to domestic and physical violence and allegedly exerted pressure on her to change her religion. On July 27 this year, a CBI court framed charges against Mr. Hassan and four of his alleged associates in connection with the case. The charges were framed under IPC sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 212 (harbouring an offender).
Calling the ₹10,000-crore relief package announced by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for farmers hit by unseasonal rain “grossly inadequate”, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday demanded that the government provide ₹25,000 per hectare as compensation to farmers without any conditions attached.The Sena chief, who toured parts of Aurangabad district to assess crop damage, parried questions on the tussle between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Sena over government formation, merely saying the people would come to know soon enough if his party would be in power.“The damage to crops is so extensive that the government must immediately give recompense of at least ₹25,000- ₹50,000 per hectare for these farmers… nothing will happen in the ₹10,000 crore package announced,” Mr. Thackeray said, stating that the farmers stared at an existential crisis because of this ‘wet famine.’At a time of fraught relations with ally BJP, the Sena president’s criticism of the relief package chimed in with that of the Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP), which dismissed the assistance as “a joke.” When asked if his party would form the new government to ensure help to distressed farmers, Mr. Thackeray refrained from giving a direct answer and merely said it was “inappropriate” to speak of government formation at a time when farmers were suffering. Dig at FadnavisThe Sena chief, however, took a swipe at Mr. Fadnavis, remarking: “Despite the monsoon withdrawing, it seems to be saying mi punha yein (I shall return)… now, this has created fear among people.”Mr. Thackeray was referring to Mr. Fadnavis’s oft-repeated assertion of mi punha yein (‘I shall return’) during the Assembly election campaign that he would easily return as chief minister for a second term.Mr. Thackeray also took jibes at the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre, saying it was New Delhi’s “duty” to help Maharashtra’s farmers in their hour of crisis. “The State has given its wholehearted blessing to the ruling party at the Centre by voting it back to power in the general election. When the Prime Minister had come to Ausa in Latur ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, I had told him the people will give you their blessings if you assure relief during drought. I now expect the Centre to extricate Maharashtra’s farmers from this crisis,” he said.The Sena chief had toured drought-hit parts of the State before a particularly acrimonious run-up to his party sealing the alliance with the BJP before the general election.Warning to banksHe exhorted crop insurance companies do away with cumbersome documentation and not create impediments while giving insurance aid to farmers. “I also urge banks to behave in a humane manner in this grave hour facing farmers,” he said, warning that Shiv Sainiks would take to task any financial institution that created obstacles in disbursing credit to farmers. “There is a need to give succour to farmers and not conduct surveys via helicopters. The farmers’ subsistence crops have been destroyed in one night at many places,” Mr. Thackeray said, remarking that the despair had reached such a point that farmers were contemplating extreme steps.Appealing to farmers not to commit suicide, the Shiv Sena chief said his party stood firmly behind them and would leave no stone unturned to provide them just assistance.
View comments “We overwhelmed them with our size,” Cone said after a 105-92 ripping of the Fuel Masters that gave the Kings a fifth straight win and allowed them to stay in the upper half of the elimination round bracket at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay on Wednesday night.“It’s the strength that we have, which nobody else has,” Cone added after Ginebra rose to 5-1 and tied idle Meralco, as both are now within a win of advancing to the quarterfinals. “I guess if we will win this tournament, it will be because of our size.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutGinebra came out of the halftime break a very different team, breaking free from a 53-50 game to eventually deal the Fuel Masters a seventh straight loss in a 2-7 card.“San Miguel (Beer) has great size with June Mar (Fajardo),” Cone pointed out. “But we will have to take advantage of our size. It’s the same thing I had with Purefoods with (Marc) Pingris and Joe (Devance), only this time, we are really big.” Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Read Next WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Walker did finish with 33 points, but was 10-for-26 from the field in almost 43 minutes as the TNT perimeter defense forced him to a 1-for-6 clip from three-point range.Meanwhile, with Sept. 1 declared a holiday, the PBA extended the deadline of Draft aspirants based abroad or with foreign lineage until the end of office hours on Monday, Sept. 4. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:11’Not just basketball’: Circumcisions, pageants at Philippine courts01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Tim Cone had Barangay Ginebra using the very weapon on Phoenix Petroleum which the Gin Kings hope to ride to repeat as PBA Governors’ Cup champs.ADVERTISEMENT Japeth Aguilar had 19 points and 14 rebounds, and the 7-foot Greg Slaughter scattered 14 that went with 11 boards as the Kings humiliated the Fuel Masters in the rebounding battle, 76-47.In the first game, TNT KaTropa routed Blackwater, 117-96, to snap the Elite’s franchise-best winning run at three games.“I think they just caught us on a good day,” TNT coach Nash Racela said.Blackwater is now 0-9 against TNT all-time, and the Texters made the Elite look so bad as they built leads of as many as 27 points.TNT bottled up Blackwater’s inspiration, Henry Walker, no end and forced the NBA veteran into a sour shooting night. In dropping to 3-4, Blackwater lost for the first time in four games with Walker around.ADVERTISEMENT Mayweather-McGregor a ‘shameless cash grab’ LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension MOST READ Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH LATEST STORIES Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC
“As an import, I’m not satisfied,” Pingris said in Filipino after Star suffered a 98-74 beatdown in Game 2 Tuesday night.Acox is known for his rebounding and that’s also the primary reason why Star opted to replace the prolific scorer Malcolm Hill.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutHe is posting 14 boards a game in the semis. But with the situation that his team is in, he needs to do more than that if the Hotshots would keep their season alive in Game 3 on Thursday.On the other hand, Allen Durham is playing like the reigning Best Import and is showing why he’s tipped to win the award again. Stalzer returns to PSL, jumps ship from Foton to Petron BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City MOST READ LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Read Next PBA IMAGESVeteran Star forward Marc Pingris wants to see more production from import Kris Acox, who has been subpar in the Hotshots’ semifinals series against the Meralco Bolts.Through two games, Acox only has had little to show on offense, averaging just 8 points on 35% shooting from the field.ADVERTISEMENT Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients “It’s going to be hard [to win in Game 3] but we’re going to try. It’s really going to be tough.” Durham has been nothing short but menacing, averaging 22 points, 24 rebounds and 4.5 assists in the semis.But the Hotshots’ woes aren’t just due to Acox’s poor play.Pingris said the locals should also step up.In Game 2, Star only had two players in double-digit scoring with Mark Barroca tallying 16 points. The other was Mon Abundo, the third-string point guard, who got extended playing time with Paul Lee nursing a left knee injury.“We also need to help him (Acox). It shouldn’t be just all him. The locals also need to help out,” said Pingris, who also has his fair share of struggles in the series, averaging 4.5 points and 5.5 rebounds.ADVERTISEMENT Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES View comments
John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding PBA IMAGESANTIPOLO — On a night where almost every San Miguel player struggled to buy a basket, Chico Lanete emerged as the lone offensive bright spot for the Beermen on Sunday.Inserted into the starting lineup for the first time this conference, the 38-year-old guard was the latest Beermen to step up to the plate, drilling four treys to help his crew hack out a hard-fought 77-76 victory over Magnolia.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Read Next AFP official booed out of forum “I just repaid the trust coach gave me so that I can bring that to our next game,” Lanete, the Zamboanga native, said in Filipino after finishing with 14 points, four rebounds, four assists, and four steals.Lanete influence in the game in a big way, capping his performance with a clutch triple from the left wing with 1:31 remaining that gave San Miguel a 73-71 lead to hold off Magnolia.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutDespite shooting 31 percent from the field, the Beermen were able to pull off the close win to reclaim the No. 1 spot in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup standings at 6-1.READ: Beermen regain top spot, halt Hotshots’ run LATEST STORIES Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH MOST READ Beermen regain top spot, halt Hotshots’ 5-game run Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “Chico is a veteran and we had the right timing to insert him after that timeout,” said SMB coach Leo Austria, who expected nothing less from the 11-year PBA veteran given his wealth of experience.Lanete, however, said that he’s just trying his best to live up to Austria’s expectations as the Beermen try to stay afloat with their star guard Alex Cabagnot still recovering from plantar fasciitis.“Alex is really a big help for our team. I’m just making the most of the opportunity given to me,” he said.ADVERTISEMENT Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:30’Excited’ Terrence Romeo out to cherish first PBA finals appearance01:46US defense chief agrees it’s time to take another look at defense pact with PH01:29Police 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 Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises
Cayetano to unmask people behind ‘smear campaign’ vs him, SEA Games “We have to be ready and we have to prepare hard.”Austria is aware of the challenge they are about to face in seeking the franchise’s second Grand Slam since 1989. He believes that the wheeling and dealing among the teams in the off-season was done with his Beermen in the crosshairs.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 stars“There are so many teams that built up their rosters,” said Austria, whose squad will parade the stocky Wendell McKines for the final conference starting July 19.A dynasty has certainly been established with the Beermen’s Game 6 series-clinching win over TNT KaTropa. It was San Miguel’s 24th title overall and the Beermen’s fifth in the last eight conferences—all under Austria. Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend View comments Castro says TNT’s young players will learn a lot from finals loss LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ MOST READ China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena “Nice that you said that,” Austria said in jest. “[My contract] is expiring at the end of the season.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Coach Leo Austria and Finals MVP Alex Cabagnot celebrate on center court —AUGUST DELA CRUZThe euphoria has certainly died down a bit, and with less than three weeks before the last PBA jewel is put up for grabs, San Miguel Beer will have its work cut out.“It (Grand Slam) is in the minds of so many people,” coach Leo Austria said on Sunday night after the Beermen lined themselves up for a shot at a Triple Crown sweep, just the sixth in the pro league’s 42-year history.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LATEST STORIES 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 Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. What ‘missteps’?
How fitting.Kvitova was a bit overwhelmed by the whole scene as she returned to the site of her two Grand Slam titles, a little more than six months after being cut by a knife-wielding intruder at her home in the Czech Republic. Still unable to clench her hand for celebratory fist pumps or grip her racket fully, Kvitova came back to the All England Club and beat Johanna Larsson 6-3, 6-4.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 starsAll five fingers on the lefty’s racket-swinging hand were injured in the late December attack. At the time, Kvitova was told there was a possibility she might not play tennis again.Scars on that hand serve as a reminder of what happened, and she thinks the cream that she often rubs on her hands during changeovers — something she’s long done, even before the stabbing — might help her improve her grip strength. LATEST STORIES Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend She acknowledged dealing with some jitters at the outset against Larsson, a Swede who is ranked 53rd. That might have led to three early double-faults.But Kvitova quickly found her game and was on her way. And she noticed that the crowd, clearly familiar with what she went through not that long ago, cheered even more loudly than usual for her.She’s popular among British bookmakers, too: Some have made her the favorite to take home the trophy in two weeks’ time.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong MOST READ View comments Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Nikki Valdez rushes self to ER due to respiratory tract infection LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera 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 Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Suns sign draft pick Josh Jackson, guard Mike James Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova celebrates after winning her Women’s Singles Match against Sweden’s Johanna Larsson, on the opening day at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London Monday, July 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)LONDON — The surgeon who repaired Petra Kvitova’s left hand was in the Centre Court stands to watch her win in Wimbledon’s first round on Monday.“It was very nice that he sat in the box for my match. It was a special one,” Kvitova said. “I’m really glad that he took the invitation. He came with his wife to support me here.”ADVERTISEMENT She first returned to practice a little before the French Open, then began her competitive comeback in Paris in late May. A tournament title came next, on grass courts at Birmingham, England, in June.Those were both important milestones, to be sure.It was still a thrill to play once again at Wimbledon, where she won the championship in 2011 and 2014.“It was beautiful to be back on the court, playing my game, on the beautiful Centre Court, of course,” the 11th-seeded Kvitova said. “I couldn’t wish (for) more.”After winning Birmingham, she pulled out of a tuneup tournament at Eastbourne, citing an abdominal injury she thinks was a result of having the unwanted time off to begin the season.ADVERTISEMENT
Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Cody Allen, right, is congratulated by catcher Yan Gomes after the Indians defeated the Baltimore Orioles 4-2 in a baseball game, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)CLEVELAND — The crowd of 30,459 stood and cheered as Cody Allen fanned Trey Mancini for the final out.Make it 17 in a row for the Cleveland Indians.ADVERTISEMENT Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Baltimore rookie Gabriel Ynoa (1-1), making his first start of the season, allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings. The Orioles were three games out in the wild-card race entering play.Giovanny Urshela’s third-inning double tied it at 1. Carlos Santana scored on Bruce’s single past a drawn-in infield, and then added an RBI double in the fifth.Lindor hit his 28th homer in the seventh.The Indians nearly pulled off two spectacular defensive plays in the first. Urshela, playing second base for the first time in the majors, made a diving stop behind the bag of Manny Machado’s ground ball. Throwing from his back, Urshela nearly got Machado at first.Machado took third on Adam Jones’ single. Mancini hustled down the line to beat a strong throw from shortstop Lindor, who ranged behind second for his grounder.The Indians went 11-0 on a road trip that ended Thursday. Cleveland extended the streak with a 5-0 win Friday in the opener of a 10-game homestand.ROLLING ALONGCleveland slugger Edwin Encarnacion singled in the seventh and has reached base via a hit or walk in 32 consecutive games.FOR STARTERSOrioles right fielder Austin Hays made his first big league start, batting ninth and going 0 for 2. A third-round pick in the 2016 draft, Hays hit .329 with 32 homers and 95 RBIs before his promotion from Double-A Bowie. Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side NEXT MAN UPCleveland’s winning streak has come with a pair of 2017 All-Stars on the disabled list — ace reliever Andrew Miller (right knee tendinitis) and left fielder Michael Brantley (sprained right ankle). Second baseman Jason Kipnis (strained right hamstring) is also on the DL.“I remember there was a day in here a while back and I said something about this could be our time to shine,” manager Terry Francona said. “Guys get chances that maybe wouldn’t of before.”TRAINER’S ROOMIndians: 2B Jose Ramirez (sore wrist) missed his third straight game. He hit seven homers and drove in nine runs during the team’s unbeaten road trip.UP NEXTBaltimore right-hander Jeremy Hellickson makes his eighth start since being acquired from Philadelphia on July 28. He is 2-3 with a 6.87 ERA with the Orioles. Cleveland right-hander Trevor Bauer seeks to extend his career-long winning streak to nine games. He is 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in four career starts against Baltimore.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next 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 Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side LATEST STORIES Francisco Lindor homered and Allen finished off another impressive performance for Cleveland’s bullpen, helping the Indians beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-2 on Saturday for their 17th straight victory.“It’s one of crazy those things where you’re just playing good baseball,” said Allen, who earned his 25th save. “We’re not really thinking about it as much as you guys are.”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 openingCleveland’s franchise-record streak is the longest in the majors since Oakland won 20 straight in 2002. The longest streak in baseball history belongs to the New York Giants, who had a 26-game run in 1916, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Giants’ streak included a tie, which doesn’t count as a game in baseball.Jay Bruce’s fourth-inning single put the Indians ahead to stay, and Josh Tomlin (9-9) pitched into the sixth to win his fifth consecutive decision. View comments Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul “It’s kind of weird, but it’s also a lot of fun,” Tomlin said.The Indians haven’t lost since Aug. 23. They have outscored their opponents 118-30 during the streak, but their latest win was a close one.The Orioles jumped in front on Mancini’s infield hit in the first. It was the first time since Cleveland’s last loss that the Indians didn’t score first.Tomlin was pulled after Tim Beckham’s 20th homer leading off the sixth. Five relievers then combined for four innings of one-hit ball.“They’re a heck of a team, man,” Beckham said. “They have everything they need to win ballgames. You just give it your all and don’t waste any at-bats because you can’t afford to.”ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Messi nets 3, Dembele debuts as Barcelona routs Espanyol
Five-time champion Viswanathan Anand had to be content with a second place finish following a draw with Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia in the 13th and final round of 73rd Tata Steel Chess tournament in Wijk Aan Zee, The Netherlands.Viswanathan AnandThe World Champion could draw a big consolation from the fact that he would be the number one ranked player all over again as the results here proved that he will be overtaking world number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the next rating list.Hikaru Nakamura of United States won the title after drawing his final round game with Wang Hao of China.Nakamura tallied 9 points in all, a half point more than Anand in this category-20 super tournament between 14-players.The American not only performed way beyond his rating of 2751 but also finished ahead of the world’s top four ranked players.Anand got the better position with his black pieces but could not find a breakthrough AS Nepomniachtchi simply got an impregnable position in the endgame arising out of a Sicilian defense game.The Indian ace settled for a draw in 37 moves.”Disappointing,” Anand said after the final results were out.”When I reached a plus-four score (Four wins and rest draws), I felt I was well on my way to a final victory but Hikaru just kept winning, picking up six points in a row, which was quite amazing.”But I’m not unhappy; it’s difficult to be unhappy with a plus-four score. It’s a pity I didn’t manage to win the tournament but I think I performed above my rating, which isn’t bad at all,” the World Champion said.advertisementThe third place was shared by Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian of Armenia who both scored 8 points apiece. The last round of the tournament turned out to be a damp with all the games ending in draws for the first time in the event this year.- With PTI inputs
The ICC on Monday confirmed its decision to relocate the venue for the India versus England World Cup match, which had been originally scheduled for Eden Gardens in Kolkata on 27 February. It will now take place in Bangalore on the same date. M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.The match was earlier moved from Eden Gardens after the International Council of Cricket (ICC) deemed it unfit to host the clash.On the basis of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) recommendation, the ICC has confirmed that the match will now take place at in Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium.The ICC has also outlined a schedule of works that need to be carried out at Eden Gardens before taking final decision on the other three matches — Ireland-South Africa (March 15), Ireland-Holland (March 18) and Kenya-Zimbabwe (March 20) — scheduled in the city.An ICC press release quoting ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said, “This decision now clarifies and gives us certainty over the fixture.”An inspection team will now visit Kolkata on February 7 to assess the progress in line with the latest schedule.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Thursday said they will badly miss “street-smart” Praveen Kumar in the upcoming World Cup as the pacer has been ruled out of cricket’s showpiece event due to an elbow injury.Praveen, who has been a vital cog in India’s ODI scheme of things for a little over three years and was certain in India’s seam attack in the World Cup, was ruled out on Monday after failing to recover from an elbow injury which he sustained during the South Africa tour.”It is very unfortunate that Praveen had to miss the World Cup. He featured consistently in the ODIs for us. He is a street-smart cricketer and he will miss him a lot,” Dhoni said during a pre-tournament press conference in Bangalore.”But you can’t really restrict injuries from happening to players,” he added.Without mentioning the names, he also indicated that Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar all have recovered from their injuries and will be totally fit by the time India play their tournament-opener against Bangladesh in Dhaka on February 19.”A few players are suffering from slight niggles, which is always there but nothing serious. Hopefully, nothing major happens to any player,” the skipper said.The World Cup has come in for its share of criticism from some quarters for its length which spans around 45 days, but Dhoni reiterated that a perfect scheduling is always difficult to churn out and the rest period between matches will help the players to recover from their niggles.advertisement”As I have said earlier it is very difficult to form a perfect schedule and format. A tournament schedule will be either too long or too short but I am quite happy with the schedule. It will give us time to recover from small niggles,” he insisted.Dhoni also reiterated that pressure for his side is added responsibility and will not be a deterrent in their World Cup quest after 28 long years.”It (pressure) is an added responsibility. Whenever you play for India there is always pressure. But the good thing is that we have a very experienced team. Most of the guys have been there for 5-7 years and know how to handle pressure. We have some talented youngsters who can change the course of any game,” he said.Asked about the heavy burden of responsibility on his own shoulders in the tournament, the wicket-keeper batsman said, “I have been doing it for the last four-and-a-half, five years.”He refused to give importance to the fact that the World Cup is being held at home after 15 years and said the event is just any other tournament for the Indian team.”There is a lot of hype and expectation around the World Cup. But every series we have played so far there is always lot of expectation. Expectations will always be there but we need to consider it just as a big tournament,” Dhoni said.The Indian skipper said to taste success in the World Cup what India need is right strategies and not worry about other factors. Sachin TendulkarAsked whether the team had special feeling for the tournament, which expectedly is coach Gary Kirsten’s last assignment with the Indian cricket team and also swansong World Cup for batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar, the skipper replied in the negative.”Feel is the same irrespective of what is the position. We are concentrating on our preparation rather than thinking about other things. We are quite good at distracting ourselves from all issues,” Dhoni said.He also said that as of now all the 12 countries have equal chances but as the tournament progresses the sub-continent teams will have an edge because of the climatic conditions.”It is cooler now but as we come to the middle of the tournament it will be hotter,” he added.With four formidable and three not-so-strong teams featuring in both the pools, many are of the view that the real excitement and competitiveness in the World Cup will start only from the quarterfinals but the India captain feels otherwise.”For us the World Cup will start from game one and not quarter-finals. Many are saying that group matches will be boring but these small (teams) surprised in the 2007 World Cup. So wait and watch what they can do,” Dhoni said.Asked about potential threat for India, he refused to pinpoint any country and said all the teams will approach tournament with a positive frame of mind.”All the teams are dangerous. As a team it is always better to back your strength. I think most of the teams will go with a strong bowling attack,” Dhoni said.advertisementTerming himself a big fan of ODI cricket, Dhoni said powerplay is a thing to watch out for in the World Cup.”I am a big fan of 50-over cricket. It is a mix of Test cricket and T20. You see glimpses of both Test and T20 in ODIs. I love ODIs but it doesn’t mean I don’t like Test or T20.”With PTI inputs
While many players from Test-playing nations yearn to make a single appearance at the World Cup, it is his sheer grit, talent and determination that has seen Kenya’s Steve Tikolo represent the associate country in as many as four World Cups.It was his astute captaincy that saw him lead the African country to the semi-finals of the 2003 edition but Tikolo feels it was the management of the game in the country that took its eye off the ball when Kenya were on their way up the cricketing ladder.”The management let us down after our performance in the 2003 World Cup. While most teams would use the platform to take the leap into the next level and try to get Test status, we remained an associate nation. We failed to capitalise on the big break and internal politics broke the team down,” Tikolo said.”It was evident in the 2004 Champions Trophy and that was the reason I quit captaincy and led the players’ strike against the management. While others teams have grown from strength to strength, we went down over the years,” he said.While his return to international cricket from retirement hints at the lack of talented youngsters coming up, Tikolo believes financial constraints have also played a part.”There is definitely a lack of talent at the grassroots level but that has more to do with financial limitations more than anything else. If we had the financial backing like may be the Indian team has had over the years, I am sure more players would come into the fold. At present not too many people are keen to play cricket in Kenya,” he said.Being the only player to have played in each one of Kenya’s 23 matches in the World Cup, Tikolo will definitely be under pressure, but he doesn’t want to get bogged down.”I have been there and seen it all so I know what to do. Pressure of performing is something I have become used to. It doesn’t really affect me. I will just use all my experience to bring out the best in me and hope that I can help the team put up a good performance,” the 39-year-old said.Commenting on the youngsters to watch out for, Tikolo said: “We have three really talented players. While spinner Shem Ngoche will be shouldering the bowling responsibilities – especially with the sub-continent wickets helping the slow bowlers – Tanmay Mishra and Alex Obanda are promising batsmen,” he said.Tikolo feels the team has had a good preparatory camp in Dubai and the warmup matches in Sri Lanka will definitely stand them in good stead.”We had a very good time in Dubai and the facilities at the ICC academy there was top-class. Further, acclimatisation has been taken proper care of by the ICC as they arranged two warm-up games for us. Although we didn’t win our matches, we got a feel of the wickets in the sub-continent,” he said.”Also, the trip to India in early January helped us immensely as many of our guys got a feel of sub-continent conditions for the first time.”advertisement
India captain couldn’t have asked for a better result against Pakistan in the World Cup semi-final in Mohali on Wednesday.India beat Pakistan by 29 runs and will play Sri Lanka in the final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday.But, it was the good start that helped India get there and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni felt that way. “We got off to a fantastic start through Sehwag and Sachin,” said Dhoni after the match.Giving out the details of the match, he said, “As the game progressed the wicket got slower, and in the middle overs it was difficult to score.””Shahid bowled really well, and it was important to just play the bowling with respect. 260 was a good score for this pitch. It was turning, we read the wicket wrong and that’s why we went with three seamers, but in the end the seamers bowled really well too,” Dhoni added.Praising Zaheer Khan, the skipper said, “Zaheer did really well. Over the years with experience he’s become smart. We’ve struggled at times in this tournament, but that’s the beauty of this game.”Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, who won the Man-of-the-Match for his persistent 85, acknowledged the crowd support.”I would like to thank everyone here for terrific support, without that this wouldn’t have been possible, and not to forget the team’s efforts. We just had to make sure we got to a decent, fighting total,” he added.India offie, who finished with 2-43, said, “This was almost like a final, whenever India and Pakistan play each other the pressure is always doubled.” advertisement
Enough, leave them alone…” Narain Karthikeyan is stomping around the pit in front of a banner with his face on it. He is climbing over tools and across equipment, through a swarm of mechanics dressed in the electric green and black of Speed NK Racing.Team Boss: Narain KarthikeyanQualifying hasn’t gone,Enough, leave them alone…” Narain Karthikeyan is stomping around the pit in front of a banner with his face on it. He is climbing over tools and across equipment, through a swarm of mechanics dressed in the electric green and black of Speed NK Racing.Team Boss: Narain KarthikeyanQualifying hasn’t gone well, one gear box seems possessed by an evil spirit, a clutch is throwing a tantrum, the team drivers are being instructed and interrogated, but Karthikeyan has called a time out. “Let them be. Now they just need to go out and drive.” It is the second round of the 10th JK Tyre National Racing Championships. Speed NK Racing, Karthikeyan’s outfit, lead in the standings amongst 14 cars at the Kari Motor Speedway outside Coimbatore, in a place signposted by the local panchayat as the “classical, divine Tamil township of Chettipalayam.”NK Racing CarThis is NK Racing’s second year in the championships, where they field two cars in the Formula Rolon Chevrolet class, the highest of the three classes involved. The other two are the Formula LGB Swift and the Formula LGB Hyundai. NK Racing’s drivers are Chennai teenagers Aditya Patel, 18, and Saran Vikram, 17, one the son of a former racer and the other of a garage mechanic. Two other drivers, Saahil Shelar from Mumbai and Ajay Kini from Chennai are part of the Amaron NK Racing Academy, and have been placed with the Chennai based WSRF team for the Rolons.Kamlesh Patel, father of Aditya with three decades of racing behind him, says the two NK Racing drivers have a “two in a billion opportunity” to work with a driver of Karthikeyan’s experience.India’s first Formula 1 driver is putting in the mandatory night shifts with race engineer and cousin Sanjay Balu and his team of 10 mechanics. They dissect drives in English and Tamil and stand over the cars as an open heart surgery is performed. Karthikeyan is in the mix measuring the track temperature, timing practice laps, the team always trying to squeeze just a bit more out of the car. “All you need to win,” says NK Racing team manager Yohann Setna, “is to be one hundredth of a second faster than the next guy.”NK with SaranFor the first time in his life, as a test driver for Williams F1, Karthikeyan, 30, is being paid to drive. There is a possibility of more F1 races. So why bother with 18-hour working days that do not guarantee that extra one-hundredth of a second? Karthikeyan says, “I wanted to start something in a small way, we had all the infrastructure in our workshop.” Until 12 years ago, a section of Perur Engineering Works, part of his father’s business, worked on cars the teenage rookie raced. Today that garage is buzzing again.Karthikeyan has worked his network of contacts to get his team what it needs, like F1 lubricants from Castrol. With Balu, he teaches rookies how to log every detail of a drive into their memories to use as feedback.Karthikeyan and Setna have designed a new easy-to-read set-up sheet for the pit team. The sheet logs the suspension and chassis set-up-tyre pressure, ride height/ ground clearance, angle of the tyres-which changes every time the car goes out, depending on the track surface and weather.The team was trimmed from four cars in the inaugural year to two and NK Racing estimates expenditure per car to touch Rs 10 lakh per season. Karthikeyan says, “The pressure to get the most out of two cars to get the wins is a lot more but management-wise two are much easier to handle”.Of their drivers from the first year, Akhil Khushlani now races in the Formula BMW Asia series. Talks are on with the Tata Racing School to set up an academy, the country’s first proper racing institution, to run out of Chettipalayam three months at time.The decision of India’s most famous driver, and most famous racing “brand”, to enter a team in the national championships should, you would imagine, be welcomed. But NK Racing faced some early sniping from envious opponents in season one.It could be, says Setna, because the team was determined to look and act like professionals. The mechanics, who had worked on jeeps and trucks, were trained to work on race cars, split into specialist groups, like electricals and gearbox. Fitness regimes were drilled into the rookies and they were given books on driving and engineering. The pit signage had to be smart, the team used walkie talkies, and occasionally, pit-to-car communication.Most importantly, the drives were free. It was the team and not the driver who found the sponsor to pay racing charges. (Over a six-round season, drivers must cough up Rs 35,000 for a Swift, Rs 45,000 for the Hyundai and Rs 1 lakh for the Rolon per round.) For contenders from non-racing families, it was a break from heaven. Shelar’s father Sanjay, a director in an engineering firm, says, “We have no tension about money, we don’t have to run around for sponsorship.” The Formula One Karthikeyan’s ChoiceIn Chettipalayam , Narain Karthikeyan was asked just one question. Would he take up The Offer? India’s first Formula One driver, now a test driver for Williams, has been approached by F1 team Spyker to race for them in the season’s last seven races. One of the lower-ranked teams on the F1 ladder, Spyker is familiar territory for Karthikeyan who raced with them in the 2005 season. Spyker is in fact the current incarnation of team Jordan, who signed Karthikeyan up for his F1 debut and for a brief period were also named Midland. Spkyer have recently sacked their German driver Christijan Albers and indicated their interest in the Indian. Karthikeyan is yet to take a decision on whether to return to a struggling team or keep the security of working with Williams. However due to new FIA rules, the time test drivers get on cars has been severely cut back. Karthikeyan says, “My racing instincts say I want to drive. After my experience as a tester at Williams, I think I can extract more out of an F-1 car now than I could.”As the race draws close, the pit gets calmer. The drivers are left to themselves, the engineers finish their job and leave it to the gods of the gearbox, and Karthikeyan heads off to watch. “Racing drivers… you need to treat them gently,” he says and he knows because at heart he is still one. In a sport about technology, aerodynamics and big bucks, the most precious part of a race car is still the driver, for whom spares are not easily found.Along with dozens of sponsors’ stickers, NK Racing cars sport the words “Aditya B+ve” and “Saran B+ve”. They read like inspirational revup slogans, but are actually the drivers’ blood groups, mandatory on every race car. All race tracks must have an ambulance and a fire truck on standby. On the weekend, nothing flammable catches fire, but Patel lights up. He finishes third in one race and wins the second, biding his time as two leaders engage in a charged skirmish. Before they have time to say, “Chettipalayam”, Patel slips past them on the inside.Every race is a sensory overload, a blur of metal and rubber, the howl of engines, the smell of gas but this is almost a cerebral performance. It comes from a skinny kid who looks like he belongs in the quietest corner of a library. His team is going mental; engineers leap up and down, applauding mechanics pour over the pit wall.Patel roars past the finish line and Karthikeyan smiles. It is not the smile seen on hoardings or on TV but a sunbeam at full throttle. He says, “Inside me, I’m really, happy I did this.”advertisementadvertisementadvertisement