Saturday, April 30, 2011

Striking Air India pilots remain defiant; ready to go to jai

Mumbai: Despite the Delhi High Court ordering the striking Air India pilots to get back to work and the airline management threatening stern action and declaring a lock-out, the 850-plus agitating pilots today said they will go ahead with the stir and are willing to go the jail.

"We are more than willing to go jail. Nearly 31,000 Air India employees will also be ready to court arrest because we are serious about saving the national carrier from ruin," Rishab Kapur, general secretary of the banned Indian Commercial Pilot Associations (ICPA), told reporters here this evening. The strike entered its third day Friday.

He demanded a CBI probe into "corruption" in the airline under the leadership of Managing Director Arvind Jadhav.

"We are willing to get back to work provided the Government assures that they will look into the corruption issue raised by us and order a CBI enquiry."

Kapur also demanded to make public portion of the Niira Radia tape that allegedly speaks about the hidden agenda of the Air India management to sell the Government-run airline to a private party.



Emotions run high in Eagles' home win

Saturday, April 30, 2011

News photo
Look of determination: Eagles right-hander Masahiro Tanaka guides Tohoku Rakuten to an emotional 3-1 victory over the Orix Buffaloes on Friday in Sendai. KYODO PHOTOS

Sendai — A nation cast its collective eyes on earthquake-ravaged Sendai Friday as the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles made their long-awaited return to their home field at Kleenex Stadium following the tragic March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
A sea of emotions was brewing and ace right-hander Masahiro Tanaka delivered the goods with a gritty 3-1 complete-game victory over the Orix Buffaloes.
"I was waiting for this day for a long time. I knew that this would be a special game and I prepared for it well. I am glad that we could get this victory for all our fans," said Tanaka. "I was more hyped than ever on the mound and I went out there with that feeling from the first inning," said the 2007 Rookie of the Year.
Rakuten brought out the lumber early in support of Tanaka against former major leaguer Park Chan Ho.
News photo
Keeping positive: A young Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles fan shows support for the team and the earthquake and tsunami-ravaged region during Friday's game in Sendai.
Eagles first-year manager Senichi Hoshino had hoped for a resounding victory for the homecoming in the fourth contest against Orix this season, but he chalked up the win, despite the dearth of runs.
"This will be an unforgettable game in my baseball career. We carry the emotions of all our fans on our shoulders and must fight to win," Hoshino said.
Akinori Iwamura had a one-out single in the second inning, followed by Randy Ruiz's broken-bat single up the middle. Motohiro Shima hit another single to center to load the bases and Masato Nakamura belted an RBI single to left for the opening run in front of a sellout crowd.
One out later with the bases juiced, Ryo Hijirisawa laced a dribbler up the middle, pushing across two more runs for a 3-0 lead.
"We swung the bats well for one inning, and then it was back to the (poor) way we've been hitting. We need to score more runs than that," Hoshino said.
Kleenex Stadium was partially damaged in the quake, delaying Rakuten's home opener by more than one month while repair work was being done.
Tanaka ran into trouble in the seventh when he allowed a single to right by Hirotoshi Kitagawa and Aarom Baldiris's high chopper up the middle to put runners at first and second, but he escaped the threat with a fly out by pinch hitter Mike Hessman.
In the eighth, Tanaka allowed a run to score on Mitsutaka Goto's comebacker in which shortstop Kazuo Matsui failed to complete a double play after a runner was erased at second when he threw over the outreached glove of first baseman Takeshi Yamasaki.
But he struck out Okada swinging on a full-count forkball with first base open for the final out of the inning. Tanaka had fallen behind the count 3-1, but was confident he could get Okada out.
"I wasn't about to walk Okada just because I was behind in the count. I hate doing that. I always want to challenge batters to swing at pitches," he said.
Tanaka's (2-0) final line: Six hits, six strikeouts and two walks in a 138-pitch outing.
"I could pitch the game I wanted even though I gave up that run. Of course, the fans' cheers are what really boosted my spirits, especially, in the final inning. I really want to express my appreciation," Tanaka said after getting Daisuke Maeda on a comebacker for the last out of the game.
Park (1-2) scattered nine hits with four strikeouts while walking none over eight innings.
Amateur golfer Hideki Matsuyama, who debuted at this year's Masters, threw out the ceremonial first pitch after an emotional opening ceremony, attended by Miyagi Gov. Yoshihiro Murai, Eagles owner Hiroshi Mikitani and United States Ambassador John Roos.
The sophomore at Sendai's Tohoku Fukushi University was the only one to make the cut among the field's six non-professionals and finished in 27th behind golf star Ryo Ishikawa (20th) at the first major of the year, bringing good news to grief-stricken Japan.
Marines 3, Hawks 2
At QVC Marine Field, Takashi Ogino had a two-out, bases-clearing double to give his team the lead in the fifth inning and Chiba Lotte held off Fukuoka Softbank in a narrow victory.
Takuya Furuya (1-0) got the win in relief while Hiroki Yamada (2-1) threw three-run ball over seven innings of the loss.
Fighters 4, Lions 1
At Sapporo Dome, Yoshio Itoi overturned a 1-0 deficit with a two-run double in the sixth inning and added an RBI double in the eighth as Hokkaido Nippon Ham handed Seibu it third loss in a row.
Brian Wolfe (2-1) threw one-run ball over seven strong innings, striking out five with no walks. Hisashi Takeda worked the ninth for his sixth save. Kazuhisa Makita (0-2) was tagged for four runs in 7 1/3 innings for the Lions.
BayStars 7, Giants 6
At Yokohama Stadium, a run scored on a failed double play attempt on Hichori Morimoto's grounder and Shuichi Murata stroked a three-run double for a one-run lead in the sixth as Yokohama sent struggling Yomiuri to its fourth straight defeat.
The BayStars snapped a three-game skid with Shintaro Ejiri (1-0) picking up the win in relief. Yasunari Takagi (0-1) took the loss.
Tigers 4, Swallows 1
At Koshien Stadium, Lin Wei-zhu hit a go-ahead two-run double in the fourth inning and Takahiro Arai added a two-run single for insurance an inning later as Hanshin rallied past Yakult, ending Tokyo Yakult's 11-game undefeated streak, including two ties.
Ryohei Kawamoto's one-out homer gave the Swallows a 1-0 lead in the third before the rally off Hitoshi Yamamoto (1-1). Yasutomo Kubo (2-0) limited the damage to one run over eight innings and Tigers closer Kyuji Fujikawa had a 1-2-3 ninth for his fourth save.
Carp 7, Dragons 0
At Nagoya Dome, Bryan Bullington pitched his first shutout in his third start in Japan, dominating to two-hit the Dragons in a masterful outing as Hiroshima routed Chunichi.
Bullington (3-0) retired the first 17 batters he faced before issuing a one-out walk to Tony Blanco in the fifth inning. He only surrendered singles to 2010 CL MVP Kazuhiro Wada and Motonobu Tanishige in the eighth and ninth, respectively.
Yoshihiro Maru hit a three-run drive off Kenichi Nakata (1-2) in a four-run sixth and Bullington, who struck out eight and walked one, helped his own cause with a two-run single in the eighth inning.

Royal Wedding Video

Prince William, Kate Middleton make it official at Westminster Abbey


Vicki Hyman/The Star-Ledger 

Published: Friday, April 29, 2011, 8:49 AM     Updated: Friday, April 29, 2011, 10:04 AM

Prince William, the second in line to the British throne, wed his university sweetheart Catherine Middleton this morning before 1,900 guests in the soaring nave of Westminster Abbey. Billions tuned in to the nuptials online and on television, and tens of thousands of Union Jack-waving Brits and tourists thronged the processional route though central London.
The hour-long ceremony capped weeks of near-blanket press coverage in which every possible permutation of dress, decor and diplomacy has been debated breathlessly -- Catherine Walker or Alexander McQueen? Chignon or blow-out? Freesias or lillies of the valley? Disinvite the Syrian ambassador or not? (They did.)
It's a day that many royal-watchers anticipated with a zeal that bordered on fanatical: There is apparently a market for royal wedding nail decals, knit-your-own Wills and Kate dolls, and even a commemorative refrigerator splashed with the toothy grins of the lucky couple (talk about a diet aid).

It's also a day that some believed would never come for the poised, patient Middleton, saddled with "Waity Katie" by the British press for the couple's lengthy courtship.
Much has been made of Middleton's "commoner" background -- she was raised in the Berkshire village of Buckleberry by a one-time pilot and a former flight attendant who later made millions from a mail-order toy and party good company. But unlike Prince Charles' brief courtship of Lady Diana Spencer, William and Middleton's union appears to a long-considered match of hearts and minds, with the 29-year-old bride, having absorbed Diana's triumphs and tragedies, fully, perhaps painfully, aware of what her
new role will entail.

 In honor of the marriage, Queen Elizabeth bestowed upon her grandson and heir the title of Duke of Cambridge, a duke being the highest rank in the British peerage, the palace announced early this morning. Middleton will be called the Duchess of Cambridge.
In contrast to Diana's over-the-top profusion of sleeves and skirt at her 1981 nuptials, Middleton opted for romantic but restrained elegance in a nipped-waist ivory and white satin gazar gown with a relatively modest cathedral-length train by Sarah Burtonfor Alexander McQueen, the British avant garde designer who committed suicide last year. Middleton likely set a legion of lace manufacturers' hearts aflutter with the long-sleeved V-neck overlay; roses, thistles, daffodils and shamrocks were hand-cut from the lace and appliqued onto ivory silk tulle. (David's Bridal, the American discount bridal dress chain, shot out a press release hawking a similar pick from its collection less than 90 minutes after Middleton's first appearance.)
The Queen lent Middleton her own 1936 Cartier tiara, and Middleton wore diamand-set oak leaf earrings with a pear-shaped diamond drop and diamond acorn given to her by her parents, and carried a simple bouquet of lily-of-the-valley, sweet William, hyacinth and myrtle, including a spring from a plant grown from the myrtle used in Elizabeth's 1947 wedding bouquet.

British prime minister David Cameronrecalled sleeping along the processional route for Charles and Diana's wedding in 1981. "I suppose like many people my age (I) have watched Prince William grow up and all the challenges he's had -- obviously losing his mother, but now finding love and wanting to get married," he told Sky News. "Like anyone who's lived in Britain, you feel quite an attachment to this event and that's why I think the whole country's getting so excited about it."

William met Middleton, six months his senior, during their first year at St. Andrews University in Fife, Scotland, where they both studied art history. In their first interview following their engagement, Middleton admitted that upon meeting the prince for the first time, she "went bright red and scuttled off, feeling very shy." (She also denied that as a girl, she had a photo of the prince taped her bedroom wall. "I had the Levi's guy, not a picture of William, sorry," she said in the ITV interview. William: "It was me in Levi's, obviously.")

Later the two shared a house with other friends, but their romantic relationship didn't come to light until 2004, in their final year at university. It's unclear when they first started dating, although William's interest was reportedly piqued in 2002, when Middleton modeled a gossamer lace dress over a black bra and bikini bottoms in a charity fashion show. (The dress recently sold at auction for more than $125,000.)

While William underwent military training outside London, Middleton briefly worked as an accessories buyer at the British clothing chain Jigsaw, then went to work for her parents' party supply business. She endured the crush of paparazzi and the sniffs of the upper crust -- Middleton, whose ancestors include lawyers, butchers, domestic servants and coal miners, is the first non-aristocrat to marry a royal so close to occupying the throne since the 17th century.

In fact, the press tagged Middleton and her younger sister Pippa, who served as her maid of honor, with the insulting nickname the Wisteria Sisters: "highly decorative, terribly fragrant and with a ferocious ability to climb."
William and Middleton weathered a brief split in 2007. According to Claudia Joseph's biography "Kate: The Making of a Princess," William, then 24, felt pressured to commit. He reportedly celebrated the split by dropping nearly $5,000 on drinks at a London nightclub, where he shouted "I'm free" and performed the signature victory dance of a favorite footballer -- the robot.

Middletown, meanwhile, played it cool, and within three months they had reunited, making their first appearance since the split at the Concert for Diana, organized by William and Prince Harry for the 10th anniversary of their mother's death.
In contrast to his parents -- Diana claimed that she and Charles only met 13 times before their marriage -- William and Middleton certainly took their time getting to the altar, so much so that Charles, upon learning of the engagement, quipped, "They've been practicing long enough."

In the ITV interview, William said their long history as friends gave them a solid foundation for the future. "I knew over the years, I knew that things were getting better and better, and we went through a few stumbling blocks as every relationship does, but we picked ourselves up and carried on."

They had planning on getting married for at least a year before announcing the engagement in November, but William did surprise Middleton when he presented her with his mother's sapphire-and-diamond engagement ring during a vacation in Kenya in October. Giving her that iconic ring was "my way of making sure my mother didn't miss out on today and the excitement," William said.

On Thursday night, Middleton stayed at an $8,000-a-night suite at the five-star Goring Hotel, then arrived at Westminster Abbey shortly before 11 a.m. GST, walking down the aisle on the arm of her father to the choral work "I Was Glad," composed for the 1902 coronation of William's great-great-great grandfather Edward VII at Westminster Abbey.
The couple sidestepped at least some memories of Charles and Diana's ill-fated match by choosing to wed at Westminster instead of St. Paul's Cathedral. The 1,000-year-old abbey is where then-Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip in 1947, and where a 4-year-old William served as a pageboy for Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson's wedding in 1986. (A TV wedding commentator noted that William, in a sailor suit and bowler, appeared "rather doubtful and rather cross.")

Today William wore the scarlet-jacketed, blue-sashed uniform of a colonel of the Irish Guards, while Elizabeth sported a butter-yellow suit and hat, both by Angela Kelly, her personal dresser. The millinery spotted on the couple's nearest and dearests were not the for faint-hearted.

The guest list ranged from British aristocrats and crowned heads to pop star Elton John and power couple David and Victoria Beckham to the couple's respective former flames, pals from university and colleagues from the Royal Air Force and William's philanthropic efforts, including the splendidly named Barty Pleydell-Bouverie, who raises money for African wildlife conservation efforts.
The 28-page program included a note from the couple: "The affection shown to us by so many people during our engagement has been incredibly moving, and has touched us both deeply. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone most sincerely for their kindness."

Despite the grand proportions of the abbey and the pomp the circumstances dictated, the ceremony was surprisingly intimate, with the couple flanked by their immediate families just before the abbey's altar. The couple composed their own brief prayer that read in part: "In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy."

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, married the couple, and the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, in his sermon attempted to make more universal this singular celebration, noting "In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and the groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future."
Middleton, like Diana, did not promise to obey her husband, instead vowing to "love, comfort, honor and keep" him.

The threatened drizzle did not materialize, so the couple didn't disappoint those who staked out positions along processional under clouds of confetti. They left Westminster in an open-air 1902 State Landau, crossing Parliament Square and riding along Whitehall, Horse Guards Parade and The Mall before heading into Buckingham Palace, where they greeted the crowed from teh balcony and exchange two quick kisses. Queen Elizabeth hosted a reception for 600 guests at the palace, and later Charles was scheduled to fete the couple with a private dinner and dancing, although rumors that Beyoncé would turn up to belt "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" were denied by the singer on Thursday. After all, Middleton is Waity Katie no more.