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Looking to take India team ahead: New women's coach Powar (Lead)

New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) Former India cricketer Ramesh Powar, who was appointed Indian women’s head coach on Thursday, said that he would try and take the team forward.

Powar, in his second stint as national women’s coach, replaces another former India cricketer, WV Raman.

“Looking forward to take India women’s cricket ahead. Thanks a lot CAC & bcci for this opportunity,” tweeted Powar soon after being appointed coach.

In response, the outgoing coach Raman wished him luck. “All the best @imrameshpowar with the @BCCIWomen in this spell. Look forward to seeing the girls soar under your guidance,” Raman tweeted.

Earlier on Thursday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) picked Powar to replace Raman.

“The three-member Cricket Advisory Committee comprising Sulakshana Naik, Madan Lal and Rudra Pratap Singh [junior] interviewed the applicants and unanimously agreed on Powar’s candidature,” said a BCCI statement.

Powar, a former off-spinner, will be in charge of the senior women’s team.

The BCCI received over 35 applications for the post.

Powar played two Test matches and 31 ODIs for India.

After his playing career, Powar took up cricket coaching and is an ECB level 2 certified coach, and has also attended BCCI-National Cricket Academy level 2 coaching course.

–IANS

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Shooter Apurvi will gradually increase intensity after Covid: Coach

New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) Olympic Games-bound rifle shooter Apurvi Chendela will gradually increase intensity at the Indian national camp in Zagreb, Croatia, as she is yet to recover fully from a bout of Covid-19, said her coach Rakesh Manpat on Thursday.

Apurvi, who qualified in women’s 10 metres air rifle event, is part of the Indian team that is undergoing a two-month long camp that started on Wednesday.

“She fell ill in the last week of last month. Since her Covid-19 test came negative she boarded a charter flight to Croatia with the national team on Tuesday. But we plan to gradually move to hard training,” Manpat told IANS.

“This week will be easy as we all are undergoing a seven-day quarantine in Zagreb. The next week we will go to ranges for training. But we don’t have plans to push hard,” he said.

After Apurvi, 28, tested positive for virus she was home quarantined in Jaipur for 15 days.

Apurvi is recovering well and she should be resuming normal training by the end of this month, said Manpat.

“She did mild training on Thursday in her room. The training session was for about 40 minutes. I’m taking feedback each day on how she feels. It will help us to move forward. Good health is important to shoot high scores,” he said.

Bengaluru-based Manpat, too, had tested positive for Coronavirus in the second week of April. “All is good now. I’m fit and looking forward to good training sessions,” he said.

The national team will also compete in the European Shooting Championships, starting on May 21 in Osijek, and the Zagreb World Cup in June.

–IANS

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Nadal, Djokovic enter quarters of Italian Open

Rome, May 13 (IANS) Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic reached quarter-finals of the Italian Open in contrasting style here on Thursday.

While Nadal struggled to win 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) in a three-and-a-half hour epic against 13th seed Denis Shapovalov, Djokovic cruised past Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2, 6-1.

Nadal, the nine-time champion, trailed 0-4 in the opening set, 0-3 in the second and saved two match points late in the third set as Shapovalov took control in their third-round clash. But Nadal grabbed the high-pressure moments and steadily raised his level to secure the victory for a spot in the last eight.

This is Nadal’s 16th quarter-final appearance in the tournament.

Serb world No. 1 Djokovic, on the other hand, entered quarter-finals for the 15th time in his 15th appearance in the tournament.

Djokovic, a five-time champion, broke serve in five of his seven return games to stretch his perfect record of quarter-final showings in the Italian capital.

Also entering the quarter-finals is Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas who beat Italian No. 1 Matteo Berrettini 7-6(3), 6-2.

The fifth seed won seven of his eight net points and capitalised on Berrettini’s low first-serve percentage in second set (32%) to win in one hour and 36 minutes.

Federico Delbonis defeated Felix Auger Aliassime 6-1, 7-6 while American Reilly Opelka beat Aslan Karatsev of Russia 7-6, 6-4. There are three more men’s pre-quarterfinals yet to finish.

–IANS

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New Zealand offers contracts to Mitchell, Phillips for first time

Auckland, May 13 (IASN) Canterbury all-rounder Daryl Mitchell and precocious Auckland Aces star Glenn Phillips have been offered national contracts for the first time following breakout seasons for New Zealand.

The two players are the only new ones on the 20 strong national contract list, with the players nominated having until May 22 to accept or decline their offers as per New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) Master Agreement with the New Zealand Cricket Players Association (NZCPA).

Mitchell reeled off his maiden Test and ODI centuries and played his part across all three formats this international summer, while Phillips made the T20 arena his own, smashing 366 runs at a 40.6 average, including an exhilarating 46-ball century against the West Indies at Bay Oval in November – the fastest by a New Zealander in T20I history.

Test specialist Ajaz Patel has not been offered a New Zealand contract for the coming season after coming onto the list for the first time last year, while BJ Watling has also been omitted after confirming his impending retirement from all cricket.

As part of the formal contracting procedure, the NZCPA were consulted and confirmed the process, as outlined in the Master Agreement, was adhered to.

The first round offers of the 96 men’s domestic contracts by the six Major Associations will be confirmed by June 21.

Players offered national contracts for 2021-22: Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, James Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young

–IANS

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Google, SpaceX join hands for Starlink Internet connectivity

San Francisco, May 13 (IANS) Google on Thursday announced that it has joined hands with the Elon Musk-run SpaceX to use the space company’s growing satellite Internet service — Starlink — with its cloud unit.

Under this partnership, SpaceX will begin to locate Starlink ground stations within Google data centre properties, enabling the secure, low-latency and reliable delivery of data from more than 1,500 Starlink satellites launched to orbit to date to locations at the network edge via Google Cloud.

“Applications and services running in the cloud can be transformative for organisations, whether they are operating in a highly networked or remote environment,” Urs Holzle, Senior Vice President, Infrastructure at Google Cloud, said in a statement.

“We are delighted to partner with SpaceX to ensure that organisations with distributed footprints have seamless, secure and fast access to the critical applications and services they need to keep their teams up and running,” Holzle added.

Google Cloud’s high-capacity private network will support the delivery of Starlink’s global satellite Internet service, bringing businesses and consumers seamless connectivity to the cloud and Internet and enabling the delivery of critical enterprise applications to virtually any location.

“Combining Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency broadband with Google’s infrastructure and capabilities provides global organisations with the secure and fast connection that modern organisations expect,” said Gwynne Shotwell, President and Chief Operating Officer, SpaceX.

“We are proud to work with Google to deliver this access to businesses, public sector organisations, and many other groups operating around the world,”

This new capability, delivered by Google Cloud and Starlink to enterprise customers, is expected to be available in the second half of 2021.

–IANS

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IISc developing oxygen concentrator, vaccine for Covid patients

Bengaluru, May 13 (IANS) The premier Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science (IISc) is developing a low-cost oxygen concentrator and anti-Covid vaccine, Karnataka Health Minister K. Sudhakar said on Thursday.

“IISc researchers are designing a low-cost and efficient oxygen concentrator and developing a vaccine for treating Covid patients,” said Sudhakar after a virtual interaction with the state-run institute’s Director Govindan Rangarajan.

The institute’s prototype oxygen concentrator of 10 litres per minute (LPM) capacity is being tested for clinical validation at the Bangalore Medical College.

“Results of the clinical trials have been promising, as the oxygen output is about 90 per cent and more efficient than the Chinese concentrators whose output is about 50 per cent,” Rangarajan told the minister during the interaction.

The IISc sought the state government’s support in expediting the process of clinical validation and regulatory approval from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation for emergency use of the gas concentrator.

“We have sought the institute’s help in developing an audit mechanism and ways for optimal utilisation of medical oxygen and minimise its wastage at refilling or bottling units and at hospitals,” said Sudhakar.

The Director said the vaccine under development at the institute showed better neutralising effect than other vaccines in use.

“The vaccine being developed in our institute can be stored at room temperature (30 degrees Celsius), which enables the government to scale-up its distribution,” he said.

On its website, the institute mentioned that the vaccine was being developed by Mynvax start-up, incubated by its society of innovation and development.

“The project needs Rs 15 crore fund to conduct further studies like creating the first-generation vaccine candidate in the next four months, production technology in eight months and to initiate Phase 1 human trials in 12 months,” it said.

The goal is to develop a rapidly producible vaccine for protection of frontline health workers, senior citizens and individuals with co-morbidities such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, the IISc said.

The start-up estimates 100 million doses to meet the country’s requirements of the pandemic persists in the medium to long-term.

Molecular Biophysics Professor at the IISc, Raghavan Varadaraj and a biotech entrepreneur founded Mynvax in 2017 to develop novel recombinant vaccines to fight the human influenza virus.

–IANS

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Holder among 8 Barbados Tridents retentions for 2021 CPL

Kingston, May 13 (IANS) The Barbados Tridents said on Thursday that captain Jason Holder, along with his fellow Barbadians Shai Hope, Kyle Mayers, Raymon Reifer, Justin Greaves, Nyeem Young and Joshua Bishop have, been retained for the 2021 Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

In addition to the local playing contingent the Tridents have retained opening batsman Johnson Charles and leg spinner Hayden Walsh Jr, who was player of the tournament when the Tridents claimed the CPL title in 2019.

CPL gets underway on August 28 in St Kitts & Nevis.

Tridents have eight spots left to fill in their squad and the remaining players will be announced in the coming weeks.

Barbados Tridents retentions: Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Kyle Mayers, Raymon Reifer, Justin Greaves, Nyeem Young, Joshua Bishop, Johnson Charles, Hayden Walsh Jr.

–IANS

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Nadal, Djokovic enter quarters of Italian Open

Rome, May 13 (IANS) Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic reached quarter-finals of the Italian Open in contrasting style here on Thursday.

While Nadal struggled to win 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) in a three-and-a-half hour epic against 13th seed Denis Shapovalov, Djokovic cruised past Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2, 6-1.

Nadal, the nine-time champion, trailed 0-4 in the opening set, 0-3 in the second and saved two match points late in the third set as Shapovalov took control in their third-round clash. But Nadal grabbed the high-pressure moments and steadily raised his level to secure the victory for a spot in the last eight.

This is Nadal’s 16th quarter-final appearance in the tournament.

Serb world No. 1 Djokovic, on the other hand, entered quarter-finals for the 15th time in his 15th appearance in the tournament.

Djokovic, a five-time champion, broke serve in five of his seven return games to stretch his perfect record of quarter-final showings in the Italian capital.

Also entering the quarter-finals is Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas who beat Italian No. 1 Matteo Berrettini 7-6(3), 6-2.

The fifth seed won seven of his eight net points and capitalised on Berrettini’s low first-serve percentage in second set (32%) to win in one hour and 36 minutes.

Federico Delbonis defeated Felix Auger Aliassime 6-1, 7-6 while American Reilly Opelka beat Aslan Karatsev of Russia 7-6, 6-4. There are three more men’s pre-quarterfinals yet to finish.

–IANS

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Shooter Apurvi will gradually increase intensity after Covid: Coach

New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) Olympic Games-bound rifle shooter Apurvi Chendela will gradually increase intensity at the Indian national camp in Zagreb, Croatia, as she is yet to recover fully from a bout of Covid-19, said her coach Rakesh Manpat on Thursday.

Apurvi, who qualified in women’s 10 metres air rifle event, is part of the Indian team that is undergoing a two-month long camp that started on Wednesday.

“She fell ill in the last week of last month. Since her Covid-19 test came negative she boarded a charter flight to Croatia with the national team on Tuesday. But we plan to gradually move to hard training,” Manpat told IANS.

“This week will be easy as we all are undergoing a seven-day quarantine in Zagreb. The next week we will go to ranges for training. But we don’t have plans to push hard,” he said.

After Apurvi, 28, tested positive for virus she was home quarantined in Jaipur for 15 days.

Apurvi is recovering well and she should be resuming normal training by the end of this month, said Manpat.

“She did mild training on Thursday in her room. The training session was for about 40 minutes. I’m taking feedback each day on how she feels. It will help us to move forward. Good health is important to shoot high scores,” he said.

Bengaluru-based Manpat, too, had tested positive for Coronavirus in the second week of April. “All is good now. I’m fit and looking forward to good training sessions,” he said.

The national team will also compete in the European Shooting Championships, starting on May 21 in Osijek, and the Zagreb World Cup in June.

–IANS

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Looking to take India team ahead: New women’s coach Powar (Lead)

New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) Former India cricketer Ramesh Powar, who was appointed Indian women’s head coach on Thursday, said that he would try and take the team forward.

Powar, in his second stint as national women’s coach, replaces another former India cricketer, WV Raman.

“Looking forward to take India women’s cricket ahead. Thanks a lot CAC & bcci for this opportunity,” tweeted Powar soon after being appointed coach.

In response, the outgoing coach Raman wished him luck. “All the best @imrameshpowar with the @BCCIWomen in this spell. Look forward to seeing the girls soar under your guidance,” Raman tweeted.

Earlier on Thursday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) picked Powar to replace Raman.

“The three-member Cricket Advisory Committee comprising Sulakshana Naik, Madan Lal and Rudra Pratap Singh [junior] interviewed the applicants and unanimously agreed on Powar’s candidature,” said a BCCI statement.

Powar, a former off-spinner, will be in charge of the senior women’s team.

The BCCI received over 35 applications for the post.

Powar played two Test matches and 31 ODIs for India.

After his playing career, Powar took up cricket coaching and is an ECB level 2 certified coach, and has also attended BCCI-National Cricket Academy (NCA) level 2 coaching course.

–IANS

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Work in progress: Iyer on his post-injury recovery

New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) Indian limited overs batsman Shreyas Iyer said on Thursday that he was well on his way to regaining full fitness after undergoing surgery for a shoulder injury.

“Work in progress, watch this space,” said Iyer along with a video of him working out and doing physiotherapy.

Iyer had dislocated his left shoulder while fielding during India’s first ODI against England in March.

The injury led to him being ruled out for the entirety of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) and Rishabh Pant replaced him as captain of the Delhi Capitals. The IPL was postponed due to the emergence of Covid-19 cases within the tournament’s bio-bubble.

It remains to be seen whether Iyer regains full fitness for India’s tour of Sri Lanka, scheduled to start on July 13.

–IANS

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Paine backs Smith as Aussie Test captain after he quits

Sydney, May 13 (IANS) Australia skipper Tim Paine has backed Steve Smith to return at helm once he quits captaincy of the national team.

The 36-year-old Paine, who has lost two home series against India, may not be able to continue for long and Australia are looking to zero in on his replacement.

One of the choices available to the selectors is Steve Smith, who was banned from leadership role for two years following ball tampering scandal in South Africa in March, 2018. The ban ended in March 2020.

Asked if Smith would be an option, Paine said, “I think so. Obviously, I don’t make that decision but the time I played with Steve as captain he was excellent.

“Certainly tactically he is as good as you get,” he was quoted as saying by News Corp media.

“Then obviously South Africa events happened and he’s not doing it anymore. But, yeah, I would support him getting that job again.”

Paine said he has no plans to relinquish captaincy. But may quit if Australia dominate England during Ashes later this year.

“If I feel like the time is right and we’ve beaten the ‘Poms’ 5-0, what a way to go out,” he said.

“But it might be a tight series and we might be chasing 300 on the last day and I’m 100 not out and hit the winning runs — and then I might go again.”

–IANS

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Chopra, other Indian javelin throwers to miss Muller GP

New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) India’s leading javelin throwers, including Jakarta Asian Games champion and Olympic bound Neeraj Chopra, will miss the Muller Grand Prix in Gateshead, Great Britain, this month due to pandemic.

“We are not going to compete in Great Britain as European nations aren’t issuing visas because of second wave of Covid-19 pandemic in India. Javelin throwers were supposed to go to Turkey for training in the last week of April, but the training stint was postponed as there was a 15-day quarantine rule for Indians,” one of the athletes told IANS.

The Gateshead event, scheduled to be held on May 23, is part of the highly competitive Diamond League series sanctioned by World Athletics.

On Wednesday, Chopra, 23, raised a concern of missing international competitions due to pandemic.

“Due to pandemic we couldn’t compete in 2020. We aren’t getting opportunities to compete this year too due to Covid-19. Lack of international exposure is hurting us,” Chopra said during an online media interaction.

Javelin is one of the seven events in the men’s category scheduled for the one-day Gateshead meet. The 200m, 1500m, 5000m and 3000m steeplechase, long jump and pole vault are other events for men.

Competitions in the women’s group will be conducted in 100m 400m, 1500m 100mh, high jump, triple jump and shot put.

Not all Indians athletes are eligible to compete in the series of Diamond League. But Chopra, due to his outstanding performances, has participated in the past. He could have got entry this season too because of his national record of 88.07m, set in March.

Long jumper Murali Sreeshankar, whose personal best is 8.26m, and middle distance runner Avinash Sable too could have got entries for May 23 competition. Sable has qualified in men’s 3000m steeplechase for the Tokyo Olympics, starting July 23

–IANS

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Opener Shafali signs contract for Women's Big Bash

New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) India women’s team batter Shafali Verma will represent a Sydney franchise in the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) this year.

This will be the Indian opener’s first stint at the franchise-based T20 tournament in Australia.

The 17-year-old batswoman has been a prolific scorer, although she was not considered for the recent ODI series against South Africa. Her omission drew criticism from former player Diana Edulji and others.

Verma, who is from Rohtak in Haryana, has an impressive strike in T20 Internationals.

She has scored 617 runs in 22 matches at an average of 29.38 and a strike rate of 148.31.

She scored 23, 47, and 60 in the three T20 Internationals against south Africa recently.

Shafali will follow the footsteps of India T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur, who became the first Indian to sign for the WBBL in 2016. Harmanpreet represented Sydney Thunder.

Smriti Mandhana (Brisbane Heat) and Veda Krishnamurthy (Hobart Hurricanes) are the other Indians to have played in the T20 tournament in the past.

There are talks that left-arm spinner Radha Yadav could also sign a contract for WBBL.

–IANS

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Archer will be key for England in Ashes: Steve Waugh

Sydney, May 13 (IANS) Former Australia captain Steve Waugh said on Thursday that pace bowler Jofra Archer will be key for England during the Ashes series Down Under later this year.

“He’s something different and will enjoy the pace and bounce of the Australian wickets and is potentially a world-class bowler,” Waugh said on Road To The Ashes podcast.

The Ashes begins on December 8, with Australia playing host to England.

“The first time I saw him, I thought he looked very similar to the first time I saw Curtly Ambrose [former West Indies pace bowler], in that he has the ability to lift an extra gear and he can make things happen quickly. So, for me, he really is a trump-card for England’s chances in Australia. I think the key player is Jofra Archer,” said Waugh.

Waugh further said that the batting order of both the sides is brittle and teams getting 600 runs across two innings will win the series.

“Both batting orders have been a bit brittle over the last six to 12 months and England – like Australia – need to get 600 runs on the board across both innings and then both teams are capable of bowling the opposition out twice, so it’s really up to the batters to lay the platform,” added Waugh.

–IANS

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Italian Open: Ashleigh enters quarter-finals, to face Coco

Rome, May 13 (IANS) World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty beat Veronika Kudermetova 6-3, 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals of Italian Open tennis on Thursday. She will now face Coco Gauff, who beat last week’s Madrid Open champion Aryna Sabalenka 7-5, 6-3.

Ashleigh’s 27th win of the season took her one-hour and 21 minutes as she entered the last eight in Rome for the first time in her career.

In other pre-quarterfinals, Jelena Ostapenko beat Angelique Kerber 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 while Karolina Pliskova defeated Vera Zvonareva 7-5, 6-3.

“I think once I walked out there, it was a bit of a ‘wow’ factor. Pretty impressive centre court, took some time to get used to that,” Ashleigh told the media after playing her first match on the centre court here.

Twenty winners by Ashleigh, including nine aces, and four breaks of serve helped her ease past the Russian.

“Coco has shown that she loves to bring her best tennis against the players that challenge her the most. She’s played an exceptional tournament thus far. She’s got the ability to take the game on. She’s aggressive, she can run, she can trust her legs,” Ashleigh said on her next challenge.

In another match, Iga Swiatek saved two match points to overhaul Barbora Krejcikova 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-5 in two hours and 50 minutes and reach her second quarterfinal of the season.

–IANS

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New captain Perera wants Sri Lanka to play fearless cricket

Colombo, May 13 (IANS) Sri Lanka’s new ODI skipper Kusal Perera on Thursday said he wants his team to play fearless cricket. His first assignment as in-charge of Sri Lankan team is a three-match ODI series in Bangladesh beginning on May 23.

“We have to play fearless cricket to win matches. You can’t be fearful about losing. If you’re worried about your place, you aren’t going to give 100 per cent,” he told the Sri Lankan media.

“What I’m going to tell the players is to go and give it everything. If we play fearlessly, even when we are practicing, then you will be able to play the same way in a match. That’s what I’ve told the team. If we are fearful, we will fall even further,” he said.

Perera said he wants to build a culture in which players have confidence. “I am trying to build a culture where the players have a lot of confidence,” he said.

The captain said that the selectors have asked him to take the responsibility and get big scores.

“What the selectors told me when they appointed me was that I often get a 50 or a 60 and get out without getting to a 100. I accept that,” he added.

“If I score a hundred, the chances of winning the match go up. You can’t get a 100 every game, but when you get a start, you need to make sure you convert. They expect me to take that responsibility.”

–IANS

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Spain to allow fans in some stadia during La Liga

Madrid, May 13 (IANS) Fans could be allowed back into some of the stadia during La Liga’s last two rounds this season.

Spain’s Minister for Culture and Sport, Jose Manuel Rodriguez Uribes on Wednesday confirmed that supporters would be able to attend games in stadia for the first time since the start of March 2020.

But they will have to follow strict protocols, which include wearing masks and the banning of smoking and eating in grounds, reports Xinhua.

Grounds will be able to operate at 30 percent capacity, but only in regions where there have been less than 50 covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants for 14 days.

The only region of Spain that currently fits that requirement is Valencia, which means that supporters will be able to attend Sunday’s matches between Valencia and Eibar as well as between Villarreal and Sevilla.

Supporters would also be able to be in the ground for Elche’s vital home game against Athletic Club Bilbao on the last day of the season.

Fans in Madrid and Barcelona, however, won’t be able to watch Atletico Madrid or FC Barcelona, given that the regions of Madrid and Catalonia have incidences of 277 and 212, according to the Spanish Ministry of Health.

–IANS

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Buhler finishes on podium in Andalucia Rally

Villamartin (Spain), May 13 (IANS) Hero MotoSports Team Rally built on its strong result in the Prologue stage to deliver a strong performance in the first stage of the Andalucia Rally on Thursday.

Sebastian Buhler had a flawless run to bring in a podium finish in the stage, securing third place. He was closely followed by Franco, who balanced caution with aggression to finish in the fourth place.

Joaquim Rodrigues, who had to deal with the challenging task of opening the stage, made a navigation mistake and lost some time in finding his way. However, overall, he managed to tackle the stage well and made it to the finish line in ninth place.

Thursday’s effort from the riders resulted in Buhler retaining third place in overall standings, Franco holding onto to his spot in the Top-5 at the fourth place and Rodrigues settling inside the Top-10 at the eighth position.

The first full stage of the rally offered a warm up to the rally leading into the next stages. A little shorter than the rest of the stages at 177 km of timed special section, the stage tested competitors with medium fast tracks in the same zone as last year but split into two similar sections separated by the neutralisation zones.

Poor morning visibility made it a tough start for the riders and then tall grass and ruts added to the challenge further.

–IANS

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IOA hopes public opinion will change in favour of hosting Olympics

Beijing, May 13 (IANS) Despite public opposition to the hosting of Tokyo Olympic Games during Covid-19 pandemic, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) says success of the mega event will change public opinion.

“We listen but won’t be guided by public opinion. I am very confident that we will see public opinion hugely in favour of the Games,” said IOC spokesman Mark Adams while addressing the media on Thursday.

“There will be ups and downs [in public opinion]. We have to take account of public opinion on a longer term. As things stand now, we are moving full ahead. We continue to plan for full Games. That’s the way it has to be for us,” Adams was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

Before the online press conference, IOC Executive Board (EB) held a video conference on Wednesday to discuss the current situation of the epidemic in Japan.

Seiko Hashimoto, president of the Tokyo Olympic Organising Committee, said that the IOC expressed support and appreciation for Tokyo’s work.

With just over two months to go for the Olympics, the organising committee is facing pressure from the public.

The epidemic situation in Japan continues to worsen, and the number of confirmed cases remain high. The latest public survey in Japan shows that up to 59 per cent of Japanese people want to cancel the Tokyo Olympics.

— IANS

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YouTube TV reaches 10 mn Play Store downloads

San Francisco, May 13 (IANS) YouTube TV, a US-only streaming service that includes a number of the biggest channels and premium streaming services in one convenient package, has now hit 10 million Google Play Store downloads.

The base package stands at a whopping 104 networks, which streamlines the quest for one point of access for all of your favorite shows, movies, and sports, 9To5Google reported.

Cloud DVR features, support for up to six accounts and the ability to stream up to three concurrent live streams are other major reasons that YouTube TV has surged in popularity in recent years, the report said.

As of October 2020, YouTube TV had around 3 million paid subscribers.

Recently, after streaming media player Roku removed the YouTube TV app for new users, Google countered by bringing the cord-cutting service to the main YouTube client.

Google has placed a “Go to YouTube TV” shortcut at the bottom of the main YouTube menu on Roku devices. This will load the YouTube TV experience that is no longer available as a standalone application.

This strategy came as the Play Movies & TV client is shutting down in favour of one YouTube app for everything, the earlier report said.

–IANS

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S Korea woos chipmakers to invest $453B by 2030

Seoul, May 13 (IANS) South Korea said on Thursday it plans to provide massive tax incentives and state subsidies to chipmakers to encourage them to spend a combined $453 billion by 2030, in line with its vision to become a global powerhouse in both memory and non-memory chips.

Under the plan dubbed the K-semiconductor blueprint, the government will also draw up a 1.5 trillion-won budget to support the development of next-generation power semiconductors and AI chips, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Another batch of 1 trillion won worth of low-interest loans will be provided to support facility investment by local chipmakers, including 8-inch wafer foundry lines. South Korea is home to leading global players including Samsung Electronics Co. and SK hynix Inc.

The 510 trillion-won ($453 billion) investment plan includes 41.8 trillion won in investment estimated for 2021.

Aided by a set of supporting measures, South Korea aims to more than double its annual outbound shipments of chips to reach a whopping $200 billion in 2030 from $99.2 billion tallied in 2020, reports Yonhap news agency.

President Moon Jae-in received a related report in person, as he visited Samsung’s semiconductor manufacturing centre in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, which is being developed as the world’s largest chip production complex.

He pointed out that global competition is getting fiercer in the sector.

“The semiconductor industry has moved to an era of competition among countries, beyond competition among companies,” he said in a speech at the facilities located 70 kms south of Seoul.

Moon stressed that South Korea will “overcome the strong wave of global supply chains being reorganized, through the K-semiconductor strategy, with the public and private sectors joining forces.”

The government will designate semiconductors as a “national innovation strategy technology” and increase tax benefits to as much as six times the current level, he said.

The semiconductor sector has been the key driver of the country’s exports, taking up around 20 percent of the country’s annual outbound shipments.

The sector especially has been among a few winners amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Exports of chips advanced 30.2 percent on-year in April to $9.3 billion, extending their gains to a whopping 10 consecutive months.

South Korea, however, has been lagging behind global peers in terms of non-memory chips. To induce chipmakers to carry out scheduled investment plans, the country said it will offer various tax benefits and subsidies.

–IANS

na/