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  Trai explores tariff regulation options in DTH sector
Posted by: Sathish - 03-09-2009, 02:09 PM - Forum: General Indian DTH News - No Replies

New Delhi: Following the Punjab and Haryana high court’s order and the requests of DTH operators, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has started talks on the need and dynamics of tariff regulation in the DTH sector. It has also sought views on issues related to providing value-added services (movie-on-demand, pay-per-view), interactive services like active learning and active stories and providing radio channels on DTH platform.

The regulator has invited comments from the stakeholders on whether there is a need for fixing a tariff and whether tariff should be regulated only between broadcasters and DTH players or should also consider how DTH players charge the consumers. Trai has not issued any formal tariff order for DTH services till now. However, it had earlier held that the broadcasters will carry their channels to the DTH operators at 50% of the rates at which they offer the same to the non-CAS cable TV platform. In a recent consultation paper floated by Trai, it has once again sought comments on the relationship between price points that broadcasters offer their channels to analogue and digital mode distributors of content. Trai also wants to explore whether the prices that DTH operators charge their consumers can be fixed only in terms of maximum retail price and whether the prices at which broadcasters charge their channels or bouquet to DTH operators should have any connection with what DTH operators charge their consumers.

Trai already determines the ceiling prices of pay channels for cable operators in CAS areas. The regulator is now exploring whether this rate chart can also serve as a rate chart for the DTH operators. Additionally, it is also analysing whether DTH operators should be mandated to provide a basic package of free to air channels, offer pay channels on a-la-carte (individual, not bouquet) basis to the subscribers and provide option of renting out set-top boxes to subscribers, like cable operators are obliged to. The DTH players have no such obligations so far.

Trai has also sought views on whether carriage fees should come under regulation and a ceiling on the same should be prescribed. Carriage fees are charges that DTH operators and other distributors of content, charge from the broadcasters to carry their channels vis-à-vis other channels, in the face of limited bandwidth at their disposal. The previous such calls by Trai to regulate carriage fees had met stiff resistance from distributors.

On value added and interactive services like active learning, Trai has sought to know whether they should be treated as independent broadcast channels. However, according to existing rules, no DTH service provider can beam channels or include television broadcast which has not been registered by the government for being viewed within the territory of India. Calling them broadcast channels will make their status illegal unless a special provision is carved out for them. The regulator is also looking at whether DTH operators should be allowed to advertise exclusively on their platform and whether they should be allowed to carry radio, including paid services like satellite radio.

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  Rang de Basanti to be screened at SAARC Film Festival
Posted by: Sathish - 03-09-2009, 02:06 PM - Forum: Entertainment - No Replies

Dubai (PTI): Bollywood director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Rang De Basanti and Pakistani movie Khuda Ke Liye directed by Shoaib Mansoor will be the star attractions at the ongoing SAARC Film Festival in Abu Dhabi.

The festival will also feature a film from Bangladesh - AHA, Caravan from Nepal and Sri Lankan movie Nisalgira and Samanala Thatu.

All the movies to be screened during the fest will be subtitled in English and Arabic.

The five-day-event, which started on Saturday has been organised by the embassies of the SAARC nations - India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka - in UAE.

Being organised in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage (ADACH), this is going to be the first South Asian regional film festival to be hosted in the country. It will culminate on March 11.

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  ‘Black’ on ETV Out of the box
Posted by: Sathish - 03-09-2009, 02:05 PM - Forum: Television News - No Replies

It is one of those concepts that rarely come visiting Telugu television. There are comedies, tragedies and socials, but very rarely are shows that come up with a touching fare that is sensitively conceived and efficiently handled. One such show happens to be ‘Black’ on ETV.

It is a musical show with a difference. It just does not generate sonorous notes and lyrical content like other shows, but comes with a difference as it strikes a chord with the colour of darkness. Anchored by Jhansi, the show has 18 visually-challenged contestants from across the State singing their heart out to reach the finals.

And as they render their songs, the show comes alive with a richness that is just heart warming. The show is judged by actress Laya and B.V. Mohankrishna, himself a visually-challenged and a renowned artist.

“We shot profiles of the contestants including interviews of their family members and no expense has been spared by the channel for the show,” says Muralidhar Kesari, programme director, who has been behind shows such as ‘J for Jhansi’, ‘Yahoo’ and ‘Smile Raja Smile’ apart from handling documentaries on missile technology for DRDO. On her part, the anchor Jhansi has been using costumes that have some shade of black colour.

Good camera work

Apart from presentation and participation, the show is not to be missed for the richly created set and camera work. The 20-episode show has already completed 11 episodes and Muralidhar is looking at coming out with similar a concept with all child participants.

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  Spain into Davis Cup quarters
Posted by: Sathish - 03-09-2009, 12:51 PM - Forum: Sports Zone - No Replies

Defending champions Spain ensured their place in the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup at the expense of Serbia.

Holding a 2-1 advantage from the first day's play in Benidorm, in a tie that was held up for 24 hours due to stormy weather, Rafael Nadal overcame Novak Djokovic in the fourth rubber to give the Spanish an unassailable lead.

The world number one was in ruthless mood as he stormed to a 6-4 6-4 6-1 victory over Djokovic in just under two-and-a-half hours, during which he forced six breaks of serve.

In contrast, world number three Djokovic managed just a single break - in the opening set - as he once again struggled to match Nadal on clay.

David Ferrer then completed a 4-1 success for Spain in the afternoon, routing Viktor Troicki 6-0 6-3 in just 54 minutes in the final singles match.

Russia joined Spain in the last eight when they claimed a 3-1 lead over Romania in Sibiu.

Although the hosts had given themselves a lifeline with victory in yesterday's doubles, Dmitry Tursunov battled back from two sets down to beat Victor Hanescu 4-6 5-7 6-3 6-4 6-2 in the fourth rubber and send the Russians through.

Germany also opened up a 3-1 advantage over neighbours Austria to ensure a safe passage into the last eight for the third year in succession.

Nicolas Kiefer was the hero for the Germans in the fourth rubber, with three breaks helping the world number 33 record a 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 6-4 success over Jurgen Melzer.

Radek Stepanek enjoyed a straight-sets victory over Gilles Simon to steer the Czech Republic through to the quarter-finals at the expense of France.

Stepanek dominated two tie-breaks to see off the world number eight 7-6 (7/2) 6-3 7-6 (7/0) in the first singles match of the day.

Croatia completed a 5-0 whitewash over Chile today as Roko Karanusic claimed a 7-5 6-3 win over Guillermo Hormazabal before Ivo Karlovic beat Hans Podlipnik-Castillo 6-3 7-6 (7/4).

Victory for Mario Ancic and Marin Cilic in yesterday's doubles had already seen the 2005 champions through in Poric.

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  Sutil believes in the Force
Posted by: Sathish - 03-09-2009, 12:49 PM - Forum: Sports Zone - No Replies

Force India driver Adrian Sutil is confident of the progress made by the team despite the late launch of their new car.

Force India unveiled their VJM02 last week, as delays meant that the team will start the season opener in Australia with only a couple of tests under their belts. The main teams launched their new new cars in January.

The late launch however, will not affect him and team-mate Giancarlo Fischella, Sutil insisted.

"I'm quite happy because we could do some good testing in Jerez," he told Planet F1. "At first we had a few problems with the car, but then we sorted it out and could do some good running.

"It was the first proper time on circuit, so we still need time to understand everything but the overall feeling was very good, definitely."

Force India are using McLaren-Mercedes engines, gearbox and hydraulics in the F1 season this year, after they finished wooden-spoonists in the competition last year without a single point.

Sutil believes the team's technical co-operation with the championship-winning team will help Force India improve on their showing this season.
"I think we did the best possible thing during the winter with this new co-operation," he said. "It was a great deal and I think very positive for the future.

"It's a World Champion team, we can learn from them. We can really focus and concentrate on areas that really enhance performance, like aerodynamic development."

The German is also eyeing a good result in the season opener in Melbourne.

"Everything is possible," he said. "I just know the field is very close together, even closer than last year.

"If in Melbourne all the cars are close together then the chances are higher to get off the back row. Last year it was not easy because the gap was half a second to a second, and it didn't matter if some cars had problems in qualifying, we were always on the last row.

"But that's not how we are thinking right now, we are thinking more about being in the midfield and hopefully running there because we are strong. That's our aim. Let's see in Melbourne - as usual with the testing in the winter it's hard to predict something."

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  Wenger: Football could be next
Posted by: Sathish - 03-09-2009, 12:40 PM - Forum: Sports Zone - No Replies

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is extremely concerned that football could be the next target of a terror attack.

Having witnessed the Sri Lanka cricket team being fired at in Pakistan, Wenger believes football as a global support could attract terrorist organisations looking to generate publicity for their cause.

The Frenchman himself has come close to threats from fundamentalists. During his stint in the J.League coaching Nagoya Grampus Eight in 1995, the Tokyo subway bombings took place. And Arsenal were also placed on high alert two years ago when traaces of Polonium-210 were found at the Emirates.

Wenger is worried that after the attack on the sub-continent, football could be the next sport to be targeted.

Wenger told News of the World: "Football has not been attacked but you wonder why not. Sport has become a major world famous thing and it's good for attracting attention. It makes me wonder because in England it's more and more difficult to get a police escort before games.

"The police just refuse, especially in London where it's more difficult. We've had alerts before games we have played at home. We kept it quiet as much as we could - at the time it's nothing, you find a bag in a stadium that somebody forgot.

"You rely on the internal security of the country where you are. I remember when I was in Japan I had that problem as well. We had a group who put sarin gas into the subway.

"They had already bought helicopters from the Russian army and they wanted to spread this gas over the whole city. Many people died."

While the threat of terror remains a predominant problem for sport, Wenger is defiant that he and his squad do not live in fear of an attack. Clubs like Manchester United employ bodyguards to protect their players on away trips at home and abroad. The guards will also patrol the team hotel the Red Devils are staying in.

He added: "Am I surprised that football has not been targeted?

"Yes, but we are a business with as few people involved as possible and that's how I want to keep it. I do not want security."

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  David Beckham Launches Football Shoes
Posted by: Sathish - 03-09-2009, 12:17 PM - Forum: Sports Zone - No Replies

David Beckham received a huge welcome in Italy when he arrived for the launch of new football shoes at a store. Beckham was in Milan to unveil the Adidas' new Predator PowerSwerve DB boot. Thousands of fans gathered around to catch a glimpse of their favourite star.

Beckham, 33 was wearing the AC Milan training top and generously signed autographs on football shirts, boots for his fans. The crowd has plastered 'I Love You Beckham' posters with kisses and hearts on the wall. The crowd stunned the soccer star, who is in town on-loan from LA Galaxy.

"It's fantastic. I did not expect so many people. Since I've arrived, it's been wonderful," the Daily Star quoted him as saying.

"When I arrived, they told me that I was coming to Milan for publicity. Instead I came and I love playing in this team. Being in a club like this and the experience is so positive, not only inside but also outside," he added.

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  Mumbai FC beats Vasco
Posted by: Sathish - 03-09-2009, 12:16 PM - Forum: Sports Zone - No Replies

Margao: Vasco Sports Club was pushed deeper into the relegation zone after the Goan side went down 1-2 to Mumbai Football Club in the ONGC I-League football match at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Sunday.

Vasco took the lead in the sixth minute through Sherzad Nazarov’s penalty, but Mumbai FC fought back with Abhishek Yadav getting the equaliser in 10th minute and Kalia Kulothungan striking the match-winner just two minutes before the final whistle.

The win helped Mumbai FC collect 27 points, while Vasco continues to languish at the bottom of the pool with just 10 points.

The visitor played the last 15 minutes with just 10 players after goalkeeper Lihaz Koya was shown the red card for a foul on Sherzad. Defender James Dissiramah had to don the role of the custodian as Mumbai FC had used all its substitutions by that time.

New coach Agostinho Dias made three changes from the previous match, but failed to produce the desired result for Vasco.

Perfect start

Vasco got the perfect start in the sixth minute when Sherzad converted a spot kick. Sherzad was himself brought down inside the danger zone by goalkeeper Lihaz Koya after defender Anas Edathodika made an uncharacteristic blunder when clearing the ball.

Mumbai FC scored the equaliser three minutes later when captain Yadav nodded home a well measured cross from Alex Ambrose.

The match hardly rose to great heights as the action was mostly confined in the centre of midfield. — PTI

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  Tendulkar, Yuvraj at their imperious best
Posted by: Sathish - 03-09-2009, 12:14 PM - Forum: Sports Zone - No Replies

Christchurch: So distinguished is Sachin Tendulkar’s career that there’s little he hasn’t accomplished in 20 years.

But before Sunday, the great man hadn’t made a One-Day International century in New Zealand, so he remedied the glitch, riding to 163 with the majesty of a knight in full livery, lance at the ready.

Tendulkar’s 43rd century in ODIs was an innings of intelligence, control, skill, and power.

Yet, for all its grandness, 80 minutes of its creation was eclipsed by a singular exhibition of hitting from Yuvraj Singh, which — like a mafia lord worth his pesto — conveyed easy menace.

It was Yuvraj who transformed India’s innings. The left-hander made 87 of the 138-run partnership with Tendulkar, supercharging an innings that appeared as if it might stagnate, so those who followed would have it easy.

With two knocks of such quality — and splendid supplemental contributions from M.S. Dhoni and Suresh Raina — it was slightly surprising that India fell eight short of 400. Still 392 for four in 50 overs is nothing to quibble with, even accounting for the short boundaries here at the AMI Stadium and the modest New Zealand attack, which sorely missed Daniel Vettori (on paternity leave).

Richly talented

As if that weren’t enough, New Zealand threatened to chase it down. Jesse Ryder and Brendon McCullum are richly talented, bruising batsmen, and helped by Indian fielding (and wicket-keeping) that was butter-fingered and heavy-footed all at once, the pair hurt India.

Ryder is rated highly in New Zealand, and on Sunday he showed why. The generously proportioned left-hander hits a hefty ball, characteristic of men with quick, heavy arms. But perhaps the most interesting aspect of his batting is the number of times he hits it right in the middle of the bat. Hot Spots thermal images of Ryder’s bat after contact with ball are always pleasingly symmetrical.

McCullum, who didn’t manage a smile since winning the toss, expelled his frustrations while batting, before, ironically, India’s fielding dented the chase. Ryder’s judgment of a single failed his opening partner, and Ross Taylor dawdled outside his crease during an appeal, while Yuvraj was alive to the possibility of a run out.

Touch unfortunate

Martin Guptill was then a touch unfortunate to be adjudged leg-before. When Ryder found long-off after making a superb 105, the contest appeared to die.

It briefly came to life when Kyle Mills and Tim Southee (who had earlier become the second-most expensive one-day bowler) sparked a rousing fight-back. India appeared to fray — Munaf Patel was removed for bowling two beamers over the batsman’s waistline (the first was marginal), and frantic words were exchanged. But India held it together to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.

Earlier, staggering as it may sound, there were few indications that batsmen would prosper so heartily.

The ball refused to come on, causing Tendulkar to find runs behind square on the leg-side with tucks and nudges. That isn’t to say the 35-year-old eschewed imagination; quite the contrary, for he took deliveries off his stumps and turned them to leg, thinking little of lap and slog-sweeping the seamers.

Yuvraj began with a liquid cover drive, and it actually got more spectacular. India, which at one stage had made 105 for two in 20 overs, forced the batting power play on New Zealand and realised the following runs per over: 13; 13; 12; 17; 14.

All came alike to Yuvraj although Jacob Oram’s niggardly cutters escaped the savagery reserved for the others.

The cleanness of the ball striking was astounding, particularly seeing how the batsmen before him had struggled with timing; perhaps he was helped by the track easing under the sun, but that doesn’t take away from the stillness of head and overall poise when hitting through the ball.

Upping the ante

Tendulkar, who had batted in cruise mode when Yuvraj was blazing away, upped the ante. Wicket-keeper Peter McGlashan, who had done well to hold Yuvraj’s inside-edged catch, then missed stumping Dhoni — it cost New Zealand dear, as Tendulkar and Dhoni attended to the antics.

Despite tiring, Tendulkar hit Grant Elliott’s medium-pace on the up over long-off for six, and it wasn’t until he appeared to strain an abdominal muscle that he relented and left the field. But he still summoned the energy during the break between innings to meet a seven-year-old New Zealand boy named after him by cricket-mad parents.

SCOREBOARD

India: V. Sehwag b Mills 3 (6b); S. Tendulkar retd. hurt 163 (133b, 16x4, 5x6); G. Gambhir c McGlashan b Butler 15 (27b, 1x4); Yuvraj c McGlashan b Elliott 87 (59b, 10x4, 6x6); M.S. Dhoni c McGlashan b Mills 68 (58b, 5x4, 2x6); S. Raina (not out) 38 (18b, 5x6); Y. Pathan (not out) 1 (2b), Extras (lb-5, nb-4, w-8): 17; Total (for four wkts. in 50 overs): 392. Fall of wickets: 1-15 (Sehwag), 2-65 (Gambhir), 3-203 (Yuvraj), 4-382 (Dhoni).

Power Plays: One (overs 1-10): 58/1; Bowling (11-15): 19/1; Batting (23-27): 69/0.

New Zealand bowling: Mills 10-0- 58-2, Southee 10-0-105-0, Butler 5-0- 37-1, Oram 8-1-34-0, J. Patel 5-0- 37-0, Ryder 5-0-56-0, Elliott 7-0-60-1.

New Zealand: J. Ryder c Zaheer b Harbhajan 105 (80b, 12x4, 4x6); B. McCullum (run out) 71 (68b, 6x4, 3x6); R. Taylor (run out) 7 (6b, 1x4); M. Guptill lbw b Yuvraj 1 (4b); G. Elliott b Zaheer 18 (24b, 1x4); J. Oram b Harbhajan 7 (11b); P. McGlashan b Zaheer 7 (9b); I. Butler b Yuvraj 24 (19b, 1x4, 1x6); K. Mills c Zaheer b Y. Pathan 54 (32b, 6x4, 3x6); T. Southee c & b Praveen 32 (20b, 3x4, 2x6); J. Patel (not out) 0 (0b), Extras (lb-2, nb-2, w-4): 8; Total (in 45.1 overs): 334.

Fall of wickets: 1-166 (McCullum), 2-179 (Taylor), 3-182 (Guptill), 4-188 (Ryder), 5-203 (Oram), 6-217 (Elliott), 7-218 (McGlashan), 8-251 (Butler), 9- 334 (Mills).

Power Plays: One (overs 1-10): 67/0; Bowling (11-15): 39/0; Batting (33-37): 23/2.

India bowling: Zaheer 9-0-65-2, Praveen 8.1-0-60-1, Munaf 7.2-0-79-0, Yuvraj 10-0-71-2, Harbhajan 10-0-60-2, Y. Pathan 0.4-0-1-1.

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  Chennai Template to be followed for IPL 2: Lalit Modi
Posted by: Sathish - 03-09-2009, 12:12 PM - Forum: Sports Zone - No Replies

Mumbai: Even after the terror attack on the Sri Lankan team at Lahore, IPL Chairman and Commissioner, Lalit Modi and BCCI officials did not let their aplomb diminish to conduct the IPL Season II from April 10 to May 24.

The Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s positive statements last Friday helped matters after the IPL agreed to reschedule the event so that the Twenty20 programme dates do not clash with the Lok Sabha election dates in order to get adequate security personnel at IPL venues.

In this interview to The Hindu Mr. Modi says the Chennai Template for the India-England Test series would be the yardstick for security provisions.

It’s not been a particularly good week for you; first the RCA elections, then the shocking events in Lahore that put the spanner in the works on the IPL season II.

The events that transpired in Lahore were indeed shocking. Thank God all the Sri Lankan cricketers are safe and back home with their loved ones.

The RCA election is now in the past and I have moved on. Just to set the record straight, the development and good work done during the last four years at the RCA is evident and visible for everyone to see. What transpired in Jaipur on March 1 had political connotations to it.

We were always aware of the upcoming general elections and the importance of the same for a vibrant democracy such as ours. And so were prepared to work around the polling dates to ensure that there was no clash of IPL matches with the election dates. So there is no question of any nightmares.

The BCCI stuck its neck out through Mr. Shashank Manohar’s statements that the IPL must go on. Security — quite lax at a number of centres last year — ought to be a top priority now?

The support of the BCCI President — Mr. Manohar — was indeed important and special. Security has always been accorded the highest priority by the BCCI.

Immediately after the Mumbai attacks last year the BCCI undertook a comprehensive security review and has worked towards creating a security template in conjunction with an external agency that is widely known as the best in the field.

It’s on the Chennai Security Template that we were able to convince the ECB for England to return to India. We will apply this same template for player and spectator security during the IPL Season II.

The security for the entire tournament has been handed over to South African firm Nicholls Steyn and Associates. We will also work closely with the Union, State and local authorities to ensure the smooth and successful conduct of the tournament.

The Home Minister’s clarification must have eased matters a bit. All said and done there are people who attempt to break rules to get close to the players, dressing rooms and also at hotels. How do you intend to deal with this sensitive issue? IMG has pointed out shortcomings?

I have thanked the Home Minister and his clarification on Friday helped quash the media frenzy that took place over the previous days. The key now is to revise the schedule.

As for the player dressing room issue, I reiterate that the IPL will be played under the New Playing Guidelines and all our franchisees and officials will simply have to abide by the same.

As far as the IMG report is concerned, we took action based on it last year as a post season report and all recommendations were approved at the Bangkok Conference. We will be implementing the same this season.

The IPL had gone into the last season without knowing what to expect and wanted to ensure we had checks and balances in place for the future and thus asked IMG for each areas to be reported and also what needs to be done.

Will the BCCI and IPL launch a campaign to educate spectators (similar to the ICC’s anti-racism campaign) that their co-operation would go a long way in the ultimate success of the IPL?

Awareness of the things around you would definitely be an integral part of our campaign to promote safety and security during the IPL. The Mumbai Police recently launched a similar awareness campaign named ALERT MUMBAIKAR to urge people in the island city to be more aware of their surroundings. I think a similar campaign would be the order of the day.

Are you going to talk to the other Boards to encourage/persuade their players to participate in the IPL. Many players, especially from New Zealand have expressed reservations?

India is a safe country! I think we do not need to go out and explain that fact to anyone. However, we do understand the concerns of players and their families on coming down to India for the IPL.

Would you say that the franchise owners too would have to take their share of responsibility?

Each and every member of the IPL family including our franchisees will play their part in ensuring the safe conduct of the league in 2009.

Is there a likelihood of stricter measures planned for spectators’ access to the venues?

Life will definitely not be the same, of that I can assure you. Take the example of the United States where post 9/11, things have changed quite dramatically.

Would the security deployment for IPL 2 and 3 (2010) be a dry run for the 2011 World Cup?

The BCCI’s Chennai Template should help us set the standard for safety and security in world cricket.

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