MANCHESTER, England (AP):Louis van Gaal was careful to downplay talk of a permanent power shift in Manchester after United’s 4-2 victory over City in the most recent derby game.Old Trafford was rocking that evening in April. After four straight losses to their neighbours, United finally owned local bragging rights. City were on a downward spiral – behind their neighbours in the standings, their title defence in tatters and with manager Manuel Pellegrini’s job under serious pressure.But Van Gaal wasn’t getting carried away, and he was right.Since that painful loss six months ago, the blue half of Manchester has recovered to remain the dominant force in the city – as they have been since the end of Alex Ferguson’s 26-year tenure at United in 2013.City won six straight games after that derby, to finish the Premier League nine points above United and in second place.After two months of this season, City are in first place, the top scorers in the division and the favourites to capture the title for the third time in five years.The derby mauling in April seems a distant memory now as City head back to Old Trafford on Sunday for the 161st Manchester derby, the headline game in the 10th round of Premier League fixtures.The momentum seems to be with Pellegrini’s men, who have won their last two league games 6-1 and 5-1. City also had the advantage of playing at home in the Champions League on Wednesday – beating Sevilla 2-1 – while United had to travel back from a game in Moscow on the same night.However, United are at home – where they are unbeaten this season and have won seven of eight games – and has the incentive of potentially going top of the league with a win. United are third, tied for points with second-place Arsenal, but behind on goal difference.Arsenal are at home to Everton on Saturday.’PERFECT’ DE BRUYNEThe absence of striker Sergio Ag¸ero and playmaker David Silva, who were injured during the recent international break, has robbed City of their two most influential attacking players for the derby. But in Kevin De Bruyne, City has one of the most in-form players in the league, proving so far that he’s worth the US$85 million the club spent to make him their record signing.Pellegrini even called him the “perfect” signing after De Bruyne scored an injury-time winner against Sevilla on Wednesday.De Bruyne has been rotating, with great effect, with Raheem Sterling for central or left-wing roles in City’s attack in recent games. He is hard to pick up and his eye for a pass is arguably as good as Silva’s.Pellegrini’s biggest call this weekend is whether to recall captain Vincent Kompany, or retain the centre-back partnership of Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala.TRAVEL TIMEUnited must make a 1,600-mile journey back from Moscow on Thursday after the 1-1 draw with CSKA in the Champions League, putting the team at a disadvantage ahead of the derby, according to van Gaal.”Manchester City don’t have the travel. We have, so they have more rest,” Van Gaal said. “There is nothing you can do. They have the benefit.”United are in mixed form heading into the weekend, having lost 3-0 to Arsenal and won 3-0 at Everton in their last two Premier League games.
Ranji Trophy champions Vidarbha won the Irani Cup against Rest of India at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Jamtha, Nagpur on Saturday. Vidarbha emerged winners thanks to their first innings lead as they defended the Irani Cup. They became the third team after Bombay and Karnataka to defend Ranji Trophy and Irani Cup titles.Vidarbha rode on half-centuries from Atharwa Taide (72) and Ganesh Satish (87) as the match ended in a draw but Vidarbha won on first innings lead. Vidarbha had scored 425 in their first innings in reply to Rest of India’s 330.After a poor start to their chase of 280, Sanjay Raghunath and Atharwa Taide ensured Vidarbha finish Day 4 with 37 for 1. The duo slowly but steadily revived the Vidarbha innings before putting the Ranji Trophy champions in a strong position.The duo then dominated the Rest of India bowlers and took control of the chase. The two batsmen were going strong before Rahul Chahar struck just before lunch on Day 5 when he trapped Sanjay Raghunath leg before wicket. Raghunath had scored 42 of 131 deliveries.Raghunath was also involved in a 116-run stand with Taide, who in the process completed his second half-centuy, for the second wicket.However, that did not stop Taide from playing an attacking game. Taide was joined by seasoned campaigner Ganesh Satish and the duo continued to dominate the proceedings.Soon after lunch, Chahar struck once again to remove Taide for 72 off 185 balls.Satish and Mohit Kale then took charge of the chase as the pair added 83 runs for the fourth wicket as Satih completed his 33rd half-century. But the stand was broken when Kale (37) was caught by Tanveer Ul-Haq off Dharmendrasinh Jadeja at the stroke of tea.advertisementWith just 11 more required to win, Satish departed and it denied Vidarbha an outright win. The captain of Vidarbha Faiz Fazal and Rest of India skipper Ajinkya Rahane decided to call truce before Vidarbha completed the chase and the match ended in a draw.Earlier, Hanuma Vihari scripted history by becoming the first player to score a hat-trick of hundreds in the Irani Cup, helping Rest of India set Vidarbha a tricky 280-run target.Vihari had scored 183 for Rest of India during last year’s Irani Cup match against Vidarbha, who recently retained the Ranji Trophy with another exemplary showing.Besides Vihari’s 180, India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane made 87 and Shreyas Iyer raced to a 52-ball 61, helping Rest of India to declare their second innings at 374 for three, a day after conceding a big first-innings lead.
Gary Neville has praised Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp and Tottenham Hotspur coach Mauricio Pochettino concerning their works, stating that they’ve both done wonderful jobs.“If you could look at Mauricio Pochettino and the body of work before going into a new stadium, you think he’s had top-four finishes now, and he could win a trophy – Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino have done wonderful jobs at Liverpool and Spurs, there will always be that niggle in the back of people’s minds if they haven’t won a trophy at what point do they start to get judged by silverware,” Neville said as quoted by Sky Sports.“Every other manager at every other top club is judged by silverware, what they win and not just top four, top-two finishes. There comes that point, this season or maybe next, for Pochettino and Klopp, it would be extremely helpful for them to put an end to those niggles that exist because of a lack of trophies while they have been at their clubs.”
Russia’s President Vladimir PutinLUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty ImagesAlina Kabaeva, the 36-year-old ex-gymnast who is the secret lover of Russian president Vladimir Putin has given birth to twins, reports coming out of Moscow revealed. Even though there is no official confirmation from Kremlin or Kabaeva regarding the relationship, many believe that the Olympic gold medallist has long been associated with the Russian president.Sergei Kanev, an investigative journalist close to the Russian intelligence services revealed that the entire VIP fourth floor at the Kulakov Research Centre for Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Perinatology was completely cleared earlier this month before admitting Kabaeva for delivery. Kanev claims that Federal Protective Officers conducted a thorough check in every corner of the maternity hospital before Kabaeva’s arrival.”Half of the medical team was kicked out of the delivery ward. A famous doctor from Italy was the key to helping the birth with the assistance of academician Gennady Sukhikh, director of the medical center. The mother was delivered of two boys. However, a C-section had to be performed,” said Kanev, the Sun reports.However, Kanev did not name the Italian doctor who reached Russia for Kabaeva’s delivery.It should be noted that Vladimir Putin was married to Lyudmila Shkrebneva, and the couple has two daughters, 34-year-old Maria, and 32-year-old Yekaterina. The couple who got married in 1983 parted ways in 2014, thus ending 31 years of togetherness.It was after his divorce that Kabaeva’s name started popping up with the president. Interestingly, Kabaeva appeared several times in front of the public with a seemingly wedding ring on her fingers, and this made many people believe that Putin has secretly married her.There are also claims that the couple had already given birth to their first son in 2015 from a Swiss Clinic. Several reports also allege that Kabaeva has a fleet of jets for her service, and she also enjoys top-category security with the protection of armed soldiers.
Two US lawmakers have introduced the H-4 Employers Protection Act in the US House of Representatives, a legislature that protects work authorisation of H-4 visa workers benefitting a large number of women including Indian-Americans.Since the rule was implemented, over 100,000 workers, mainly women, have received employment authorisation. Lawmakers Anna G. Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren have also made the newly formed legislature prohibited from revoking by the Trump administration.The news comes days after The Economic Times reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a notice for the proposed rule-making that will kick in public consultations to ban the H4 EAD (Employment Authorisation Document). The DHS had written that the American citizens would benefit “by having a better chance at obtaining jobs that some of the population of the H-4 workers currently hold”.However, in March 2018, Eshoo and Lofgren led 13 Members of Congress, in writing to DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, urging her to reconsider DHS’s proposal to revoke eligibility for employment authorisation to H-4 dependent spouses.As the H-4 visas are issued to the spouses of H-1B visa holders, a significantly large number of women who are also high-skilled professionals from India were majorly affected by the US government’s immigration policies.The economic burdens of families of many H-1B workers, particularly those who live in high-cost areas like Silicon Valley on a single income as they await green card approvals created major anxiety among many Indian-Americans.The H-4 Employment Protection Act also prohibits the Trump administration from revoking the legislature as “H-4 visa holders deserve a chance to contribute to their local economies and provide for their families,” said Eshoo.According to an update in the United States Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs website on February 25, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) proposed to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants as a “class of aliens eligible for employment authorization”, labelling the move as “economically significant.””H-4 visa holders deserve a chance to contribute to their local economies and provide for their families,” Eshoo said.”This is a matter of economic fairness and this legislation ensures it will continue,” she addedH-4 visa holders had obtained work permits under a special order issued by the previous Obama administration in 2015. It allowed work permits to be given to spouses who otherwise could not be employed as the process for H-1B visa holders seeking permanent resident status would take a decade or longer for it to be officially sanctioned.Since the H-1B programme offers temporary US visas that allow companies to hire highly-skilled foreign professionals working in areas with shortages of qualified American workers, Indian-Americans were a major beneficiary of this provision.The United States Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs that falls under the Office of Management and Budget has oversight on all “Unified Agenda” policies to make sure they are cost effective. President Trump had provided the H-1B visa program back in 2017, a move that was perceived as a step towards his broader “America First” and “Buy American and Hire American” policies.Lofren stated that nobody benefits from this system, least of all the American economy when H-1B dependent spouses are prohibited from working. “Many of these are accomplished and qualified individuals whose skills we’ll lose to other countries unless the Administration finds a more sensible approach to immigration,” she said.(With inputs from news agencies)
The election commission (EC) has turned down the opposition parties’ proposal to deploy army giving them magistracy power in the next parliamentary elections.Besides, the inclusion of the armed forces to the law enforcement agencies in the Representation of the People Order (RPO) is also very unlikely.Eleven opposition parties, including the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), had placed a number of proposals before the EC last month, recommending these changes be made.On the other hand, eight parties, including the ruling Awami League, had proposed the introduction of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in the upcoming election. There is a possibility of the EVM being included in the RPO, but the EC has not made a final decision to this end yet, according to the EC’s electoral rules and regulations committee.The committee in a meeting on Wednesday reviewed the amendment proposals of the BNP and other political parties, election commissioner Kabita Khanam, president of the committee, told Prothom Alo. She said the committee did not find deployment of the armed forces with magistracy power necessary.However, the use of EVM is mentioned in the election manual of the city corporations. So, they are considering the proposal to include EVMs in the RPO.Among the proposals placed by the BNP, the committee is considering setting up a complaint centre at the workplace of the returning officers in every upazila and transferring or withdrawing controversial officials, she added.Besides, the committee is also reviewing a number of proposals placed by other parties, including publishing RPO in Bangla, submitting nomination papers online, and reviewing the cost and income of the candidates and increasing the punishment for violation of electoral laws.Badiul Alam Mojumdar, secretary of Shushashoner Janney Nagorik (Shujan), told Prothom Alo that the EC should ensure a congenial environment during the election.The armed forces should be included to the law enforcement agencies in the Representation of the People Order (RPO), he observed.Mass people rely on the army as they believe they are not heavily politicised, he added.As many as 25 among 40 political parties recommended deployment of the armed forces during the dialogues with the EC. BNP, along with ten other parties, wanted the army to be given magistracy power.The committee will gradually review all the proposals, placed by the 40 opposition parties and members of the civil society, including media representatives and experts. The summary of these proposals will be placed before the EC for final review.Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, a member of the BNP’s standing committee, told Prothom Alo that the country will question the EC’s intentions if they do not deploy the armed forces, but introduce EVMs instead.Former election commissioner Suhul Hussain said deployment of army would be welcomed by the mass people, but they are not much familiar with the EVM. The time is not right for the introduction of EVMs and it can only be introduced when the countrymen are ready to accept it.*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat.