Western Bureau:Double ISSA Western Conference High School basketball champions Herbert Morison Technical are in pole position after Game One of their best-of-three finals on Wednesday, outlasting a spirited Cornwall College in both the Under-16 and U-19 categories at the Montego Bay Cricket Club court.The Dave Black-coached Herbert Morrison stopped Cornwall College by a comfortable 65-50 margin to win the senior match-up.But they were made to work much harder in the junior section by a Cornwall College side that was bent on turning the tables on the Herbert Morrison juggernaut. Herbert Morrison ultimately prevailed by a narrow 53-50 margin for the advantage heading into Game Two of the series.The reliable shooting guard, Ralique Grant, was in awesome form for his team, ending with a game-high 34 points.Grant, who is in line for the season’s MVP award, also had three rebounds, six steals, and three assists.Fellow guard Tafari Vassell added 12 points and 12 rebounds in a double-double effort for Herbert Morrison as Herbert Morrison sped off to a whirlwind 13-point lead (18-5) after just one quarter.Cornwall College rallied through Antonio Spence, especially in the second quarter. Spence eventually ended as his team’s top scorer with 16 points and pulled down 14 rebounds.But it was the defending champions all the way as they dominated all quarters, except in the fourth, as Spence and Leonardo Friginette threatened to wrest Game One from them. Friginette also recorded a double-double, hitting 15 points and 13 rebounds.In the end, Herbert Morrison had enough to post the victory, after posting (18-5, 15-12, 16-11 and 16-22) quarterly returns.It was not so comfortable for them, however, in the Under-16 category as Ojay Marshall and Alwade Thompson of Cornwall partnered superbly in trying to secure the much-needed win.Marshall’s 17 points and three rebounds and that of Thompson (12 points), propelled Cornwall College to within touching distance of a victory, but Herbert Morrison’s star shooter, Shaqueal Benti’s 17 points output, led the way.Benti was supported in the win by Ryheem Barrett, 13 points, while Davaughn Campbell chipped in with a useful 10 points, four rebounds, and eight steals.
A logo of Indian Oil is picture outside a fuel station in New Delhi, India August 29, 2016.Reuters fileIn a major decision, the central government is likely to give up controlling stakes in most-profitable state-run behemoths. The centre is seriously planning to spur economic development and maintain its fiscal deficit target. Government has identified one of India’s best-performing oil companies including Oil & Natural Gas Corp., Indian Oil Corp., NTPC Ltd. and GAIL India Ltd. for shedding its direct control to below 51 per cent, Bloomberg reported.Department of Investment and Public Asset Management Secretary Atanu Chakraborty said, “Government’s indirect holding, through arms such as Life Insurance Corp. of India, will stay above 51 per cent.” In her budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman set an ambitious target of 1.05 trillion ($15 billion) asset sales target for this financial year. Moreover, she also announced a series of measures to increase the revenues which included increasing taxes on the super-rich, extracting higher dividends from the Reserve Bank of India and increasing duties on gold and gasoline. The government has revised its fiscal deficit target to 3.3 per cent of gross domestic product. A technician is pictured inside a desalter plant of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, Reuters fileThe idea of giving up controlling stake in government-owned companies below 51 per cent was also tabled during Sitharaman’s budget speech. Batting for more private control in public sector undertakings, Deven Choksey, managing director at KR Choksey Shares and Securities Pvt. Ltd. said, “The government has to consider bringing in strategic investors and give them a say in the management that will spur the growth of these companies.”The performance of the state-owned companies has not been on par with the broader benchmark S&P BSE Sensex. The index of these OMCs has jumped 3.5 per cent since the start of the year as against 7.1 per cent gain in BSE’s benchmark index. Former finance minister Arun Jaitley mooted the idea of creating an integrated public sector oil behemoth to match the magnanimity of global oil and gas majors. Some of its stakes in listed domestic oil and gas firms were given up. In January 2018, ONGC bought 51.1 per cent of government in Hindustan Petroleum Corp for $5.78 billion. The step greatly helped the government in narrowing its fiscal deficit.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has started investigation against 18 hajj agencies for irregularities in hajj management.Deputy director (public relations) Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya confirmed this to Prothom Alo.Pranab said allegations have been raised against 18 hajj agencies.ACC deputy director Zulfiqar Ali has been assigned to investigate the allegations with director general Mohammad Munir Chowdhury supervising the investigation.Religious affairs ministry joint secretary Hafizur Rahman told the journalists that the allegations were raised against 18 hajj agencies as 98 pilgrims could not go to Saudi Arabia to perform hajj despite receiving visas.A general diary has been filed with the airport police station in this regard, he added.Meanwhile, the parliamentary standing committee on civil aviation and tourism ministry has recommended canceling licenses and imposing fine on those involved in the irregularities of hajj management. The committee at a meeting on Tuesday made these recommendations.
Bahrain has ordered Qatari troops serving with a coalition fighting the Islamic State group to leave its territory, a source with knowledge of the situation said on Sunday.The soldiers, part of the US Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) which is headquartered in Bahrain, had been asked to leave the coalition and may depart within the next 48 hours, the source told AFP.”The Bahrainis told the US general in command of the base that Qatari soldiers must leave,” the source said on condition of anonymity.”They are still in the base but likely to leave within the next two days.”The news comes as the Gulf faces the biggest diplomatic crisis in recent years, with regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia and some of its allies suspending ties with gas-rich Qatar over accusations the emirate bankrolled Islamist extremists and had ties to rival Iran.Qatar denies the charges.Direct tensions between Manama and Doha have been further exacerbated after Bahrain accused Qatar of directly interfering in its internal affairs.Qatar has also denied those charges.The source did not detail the number of Qatari troops based in Bahrain. One analyst estimated it was no more than a “handful of officers”.Qatar has deployed troops with NAVCENT since 2014, according to one official.NAVCENT is part of the US Central Command whose area of operation includes the Middle East and Asia.As part of their operations, numerous air strikes against IS targets in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan have been conducted from Qatar’s Al-Udeid, the largest US base in the region.Washington is involved in diplomatic efforts to resolve the impasse in the region but US policy has proved unpredictable.President Donald Trump has sided with Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt, claiming Doha had “historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level”.However, Pentagon and State Department officials have scrambled to reassure the emirate.The United States last week agreed to a $12 billion sale of F-15 fighters to Qatar.