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Analysis

Corruptors seem a step ahead of enforcement agencies

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Match-fixing
Pic Credit : The Economist

It is all nice to say that fans deserve fairplay, not cheating and corruption. Yet, allegations of betting, spot-fixing and match-fixing keep sprouting in the world of sport, and corruptors seem a step ahead of the sports authorities and the law enforcement agencies.

And it is difficult to catch thieves when hundreds of players are playing the game all over the world, more so in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Afghanistan has just got into the big boys league, having played their first Test match against India a few months ago. Of the big four, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have won the World Cup and all three are troubled by the nefarious activities of their players.

Bangladesh is seen as a rising team, but they, too, have caught up with the other three in matching their high levels of corruption.

It is not that only the subcontinental sides are corrupt, some of the top players from South Africa, England, Australia, New Zealand and West Indies have also faced allegations, charges and got punished.

Some were even jailed, too, while some others were discharged by the courts of law on technical infirmities in the prosecution. A couple of them successfully challenged the charges and got hefty compensations.

The names of players who have been banned or suspended for indulging in corrupt practices is public knowledge. The new element that has crept into corrupting the game is the mushrooming international leagues, the Indian Premier League showing them the way.

Corruption in cricket is back in board rooms and coffee table discussions, courtesy the Pakistani leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, admitting that he had indeed fouled the English cricket atmosphere with his despicable spot-fixing almost a decade ago, and the International Cricket Council (ICC) charging the legendary Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya with non-cooperation in its ongoing investigation into Sri Lankan cricket.

While disclosing the Jayasuriya case, the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit General Manager Alex Marshall also mentioned something that he, perhaps, thought a revelation, that most bookies operating around the world are Indian, without saying why his agency is unable to fix them.

It took six years for Kaneria to have a change of heart after vehemently denying that he had any role in spot-fixing during an Essex-Durham 40-over NatWest game in 2009 and accusing the jailed teammate Mervyn Westfield of ruining his cricket career by dragging him into it.

Kaneria, 37, who has been banned from playing in England by the England and Wales Board, had a successful career, having been the fourth highest wicket-taker with 261 Test wickets behind Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Imran Khan.

Kaneria got his script well written and rehearsed to say “he can’t live a life of lies” and like a saint with a past, apologised to Westfield, his Essex teammates and his own family.

The charge against Kaneria is that he pressurised Westfield to bowl an over costing 12 runs, and for that got paid 6,000 pound sterling, though he conceded only 10. For that the medium-fast bowler was jailed for four months.

As if on cue, the Essex Police said they would be reassessing the investigation in the wake of Kaneria’s admission.

Coming to Marshall, he sounded like President Donald Trump, who expressed his helplessness in imposing sanctions against Saudi Arabia.

Like Trump, who says placing sanctions against Saudi Arabia will hurt the Americans more than the Saudis in view of their sale of arms and military equipment to Riyadh, Marshall seem to imply that taking action against the Indians will hurt the world cricketing body more than the Indians!!

Marshall, however, had no hesitation in saying that the island nation’s case involves both local and Indian corruptors. He picked 12-20 active corruptors, six of these the players should be careful about, and showed their pictures to the England and Sri Lankan teams which are now playing a bilateral series in the island nation.

Jayasuriya’s case is surmised to be one of a couple of ongoing investigations into alleged corruption in Sri Lanka and many, including former captain Arjuna Ranatunga, believe that it could lead right up to the top of the cricket set-up and players.

Shockingly, the probe relates to the time Jayasuriya was the chief selector for a second time in 2016-17 when Sri Lanka lost the final match for a 2-3 series defeat, raising doubts about the team’s effort.

If what Ranatunga and others say is true then it only reaffirms the role the officials and influential players play in corrupting the game.

(Veturi Srivatsa is a senior journalist and the views expressed are personal. He can be reached at [email protected])

Analysis

The US presidential elections and future of India-US relations

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Donald Trump Joe Biden

As the coronavirus pandemic dominates global news in the United States, progress toward the next presidential election scheduled to be held on November 3 moves slowly forward. President Donald Trump had no real opposition in the Republican party and is running for re-election. And it has now become apparent that former Vice President Joe Biden will be his opponent as the Democratic candidate for president.

What would a Trump victory bode for the future of US-India relations? What would a Biden victory bode? Let me answer each of those questions in turn.

Given the love fests of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Howdy Modi’ event in Houston, Texas, in which Trump participated in September of 2019, and Trump’s ‘Namaste Trump’ event hosted by Modi in India in February of this year, it might be assumed that the future for US-India relations is a splendid one. This would be an incorrect assumption.

Both of these events were more symbolic than substantive. Trump’s participation in them undoubtedly helped to persuade some — perhaps many — Indian American Modi supporters who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 to cast their ballots for Trump in 2020. Trump’s campaign team took steps to ensure this by holding an event at his Mar-a-Lago resort in which a group of prominent Indian Americans announced their plans to work for his re-election and to mobilize Indian Americans on his behalf.

To understand the future potential of India’s relations with the US. with Trump as president, however, it is necessary to look beyond these political moves and to examine the present state of those relations and Trump’s personal style.

In a word, the best way to characterize the current relations between the US and India is “functional”. The relationship was relatively good for the first two years of Trump’s presidency. In fact, near the end of 2018, Alice Wells, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, was quoted in the media s saying: “This has been a landmark year for US-India ties as we build out stronger relationships across the board.”

Then, in 2019, the relations went off the track in the first half of the year after the US and India got into a tit-for-tat tariff war after the US terminated India’s Generalized System of Preferences which allowed India to send certain goods to the US duty-free. There have been continuing efforts to structure a “modest” trade deal since then. It was thought there might be some type of deal done in September of 2019 while Modi was in the US by year’s end, and then during Trump’s India visit. But, as of today, there is still no deal.

This inability to get any meaningful trade agreement in place speaks volumes about India’s potential future relations with India with Trump as president. So, too does Trump’s style.

Trump’s campaign slogans this time around are “Keep America Great” and “Promises Made, Promises Kept.” Trump is not a policy wonk and most of his effort will go toward “America First”. This involves making the US more isolated by withdrawing from international agreements, restructuring trade agreements, emphasizing building walls to stop immigrants at the border, using tariffs to block trade with countries who are taking away American jobs, and confronting businesses who are allegedlly stealing American trade secrets.

This perspective suggests what India can expect for its relations with the US if it has to deal with Trump for a second term as president. The relations will stay functional at best. As I have said before, that’s because the words partnership, cooperation and collaboration are not in Trump’s vocabulary. Nationalism, isolationism and protectionism are.

Joe Biden stands in stark contrast to President Trump both professionally and personally. Biden is a strategic thinker and doer with a solid eight-year track record of leadership experience as Vice-President in forging alliances that have made a difference around the world and he has also been a long-standing friend of India.

He was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a leading advocate for the Congressional passage of the Indo-US civic nuclear deal in 2005. At a dinner convened 10 years later in 2015 by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Vice President Biden discussed the tremendous joint progress that had been made by the two countries in the past and declared “We are on the cusp of a sea change decade.”

Early in his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president in July of 2019, in laying out his foreign policy vision, Biden stated that the US had to reach out to India and other Asian partners to strengthen ties with them. The items on Biden’s foreign policy agenda for strengthening which are of importance for India include climate change, nuclear proliferation and cyberwarfare.

During his vice presidency, Biden worked side by side with President Barack Obama to do things that would contribute to achieving Obama’s vision stated in 2010 of India and America being “indispensable partners in meeting the challenges of our time.” In 2020, those challenges are even greater than they were a decade ago.

That is why it is so essential that India and the US develop a strategic relationship that enables them to become those indispensable partners. That can happen if Biden assumes the presidency on January 20, 2021. It cannot happen if Donald Trump remains as president for a second term.

The results of this upcoming election in the US matter greatly for the future of the United States. They matter greatly for the future of India-US relations as well. Time and the American electorate will tell what that future will be.

(Frank F. Islam is an entrepreneur, civic and thought leader based in Washington DC. The views expressed here are personal)

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Analysis

Covid-19 toll across world crosses 35,000

The COVID-19 is affecting 132 countries and territories around the world.

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Patients infected with the novel coronavirus

New Delhi, March 30 : The death toll around the world due to coronavirus crossed 35,000 on Monday evening, with Italy heading the list of 35,097 deaths with 10,779, while the number of cumulative cases rose to 737,929, with US leading with 143,055 of them, as per data from the Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Centre.

Spain was second with 7,340 deaths, followed by China with 3,308 (3,186 of them in Hubei where the outbreak was first recorded), Iran with 2,757 deaths, France with 2,606 deaths, the US with 2,513 (776 of them in New York) and the UK with1,228 deaths.

In number of cases, Italy was second with 97,689, followed by Spain with 85,195, China with 82,198, Germany with 62,435, Iran with 41,495 and France with 40,747.

Meanwhile, 156,652 people around the world had recovered, with nearly half of them (75,923) in China, followed by 16,780 in Spain, 13,911 in Iran and 13,030 in Italy.

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Analysis

45% of Indians do not back up their data, files: Survey

The survey was conducted among 728 Avast and AVG users between February 20-March 25.

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Data Privacy

New Delhi, March 30 : Nearly half of Indians do not back up because they think their data or files are not important enough and most of those who back up their data, do it once a month, a survey said on Monday.

Other reasons cited by the respondents for not backing up their data included not knowing how to do it, not having time and forgetting about it, according to the survey by cybersecurity company Avast.

“It could be that many aren’t aware they are backing up, as it could be happening automatically, in the background, however, others really might not be backing up at all, thinking it is not worth it,” Luis Corrons, Security Evangelist at Avast, said in a statement.

“Losing personal documents, photos and videos can be a painful experience and it’s not until this happens that they realize how valuable it actually is,” Corrons added.

Of those who do back up their data, nearly 42 per cent Indians back up to a cloud storage, 36 42 per cent back up their data to an external hard drive, 23 42 per cent back up to a USB or flash disk, 18 42 per cent back up their phone to their PC, and 10 42 per cent back up to a network storage drive, the results showed.

Corrons recommended to back up data to two different locations, like the cloud, and a physical storage, like an external hard drive.

When it comes to iPhone and Android phone owners, the percentage that backs up is nearly the same, 69 per cent and 70 per cent respectively.

The percentage of smartphone owners that don’t know how to back up their data does not vary much between iPhone and Android owners, with 13 per cent and 17 per cent claiming not knowing how to, respectively, the study revealed.

Data loss can be caused by users accidentally deleting their data themselves, hardware damage and failure, as well as malware, causing valuable data such as photos, videos, documents, and messages to be lost forever.

Ransomware and other malware, such as wipers, can either encrypt or completely destroy files, and there is no guarantee that files can be decrypted if a ransom is paid.

The survey was conducted among 728 Avast and AVG users between February 20-March 25.

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