Centre asks Bengal chief secy and DGP to visit Delhi, duo seek relief


State chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay and director general of police Virendra were directed to meet union home secretary Ajay Bhalla

New Delhi: A day after Trinamul Congress workers’ violent attack on BJP president JP Nadda’s convoy at Diamond Harbour, the Lok Sabha constituency of chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew: Abhishek Banerjee in South 24 Parganas of West Bengal, the union home ministry, headed by Amit Shah, on Friday morning summoned top two bureaucrats of the Mamata Banerjee government to New Delhi on December 14.

State chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay and director general of police Virendra were directed to meet union home secretary Ajay Bhalla at 12.15 pm to “discuss the law and order situation including the incidents regarding certain Z-category protectees” in the poll-bound state.

The ministry of home affairs’ step came after it received an adverse report from governor Jagdeep Dhankhar of “serious security lapses” on part of the state police which led to the brazen attack on Thursday leaving two senior BJP leaders: Kailash Vijayvargiya and Mukul Roy, who were also in Mr Nadda’s convoy, injured.

The MHA’s move however has infuriated the Trinamul supremo and the chief minister amid reports of Mr Shah’s possible visit to the state on December 19-20. She has not allowed her government’s top two bureaucrats to go ahead, sources revealed.

In the afternoon Mr Bandyopadhyay assured Mr Bhalla in a letter of the state government’s “elaborate arrangements for security coverage” which included a pilot and a bullet proof car for Mr Nadda in his convoy and a large deployment of police force led by the deputy inspector general of the range.

He however argued, “The tagging of many vehicles to the protectee convoys however made the situation unweildy, because typically, security authorities are to handle a protectee convoy of a few vehicles only, and not with/in the presence of so many other vehicles which got tagged to the convoy traveling together.”

Pleading for relief from appearance, Mr Bandyopadhyay told Mr Bhalla, “Further, 3 cases have already been registered in this connection, while two of them are specifically for vandalism, one each at Usthi PS and Falta PS, both under the Diamond Harbour Police District. 7 persons have been arrested in these 2 cases. While further reports are being obtained and compiled, in the circumstances, I am directed to request you kindly dispense with the presence of the State officials in the meeting, considering that the State Government is already addressing this issue with utmost seriousness.”

But Sreerampore TMC MP Kalyan Banerjee blamed BJP leader Rakesh Singh for provoking the attack on his party chief. “Mr Singh was in the convoy in front of Mr Nadda. He has 55 criminal cases against him and he made provocative gestures at the crowd. An FIR has been registered against him,” he alleged.

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NQ Origin duo can fly back to Townsville


Queensland State of Origin duo Coen Hess and Valentine Holmes will be able to fly home to Townsville on Thursday after finally being granted clearance by state health officials.

Maroons players and officials had remained in limbo as late as Tuesday about how they would exit the NRL’s bubble and enter quarantine in the state.

Officials had been waiting on answers from Queensland Health, with individual exit plans made for each player and staff member on their movements after Wednesday’s decider.

Those were finally approved by the state government on Tuesday afternoon, alleviating some stress within the camp.

All staff and players will need to serve at least one week in quarantine, where they will still have to practice social distancing among family members.

The first night will be spent in camp on the Gold Coast immediately after the game, before each player goes their own way.

But the situation was even trickier for the Cowboys duo based in Townsville, given the distance and transport required to return home.

At one stage it was feared they could have to make a 14-hour trip by road, a task virtually impossible given the need to rest and refuel.

However approval was given late on Tuesday afternoon to travel by plane, with personal protective equipment to distance themselves from other passengers.

It comes at the end of a long year for exhausted NRL players and officials after first entering the league’s bio-safe bubble in May to keep the game going.

Melbourne players such as Cameron Munster, Christian Welch, Josh Addo-Carr and Ryan Papenhuyzen have not been home since June when the Storm were forced into an interstate camp.

Players and officials from both Origin teams have been tested regularly for COVID while in camp, as well as filling out several health and wellbeing reports each day.

Queensland Health were approached for comment but did not respond.





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Silvagni encouraged by Brisbane taking a “punt” on injury-prone duo


Former list manager Stephen Silvagni says he isn’t worried about Brisbane recruiting two injury-prone players this off-season.

After Joe Daniher joined the club as a restricted free agent, the Lions were able to add to their haul by recruiting Cats midfielder Nakia Cockatoo on a two-year deal, who has notably struggled with several soft-tissue complaints in recent seasons.

Speaking about their two recent acquisitions, Silvagni said it was obvious the Lions were missing forward support for Eric Hipwood during the recently-completed finals series, where they were beaten by Geelong in the preliminary finals.

He also welcomed the calculated risk Brisbane is taking in recruiting Cockatoo, who hasn’t played senior footy since early 2018.

“My understanding with Nakia Cockatoo is he was close to playing this year,” he said on AFL Trade Radio’s Late Trade.

“They’re backing themselves in and they’re in the window, at some point you need to take the punt.

“The Lions have gone to the last two finals series, they’ve right in their window and brought Joe Daniher in … when you go away from their finals campaign, they did need another quality tall.

“I think Eric Hipwood has enormous talent, but can’t do it on his own and isn’t his own physical presence. To bring in Nakia Cockatoo, he brings a bit of speed in that lineup.

Brisbane recently solved Lincoln McCarthy’s fitness issues, with the former Cat not missing a game through injury since joining the club at the end of 2018.







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These Sisters Have Transformed the Piano Duo


AHETZE, France — “Oh, look!” said the pianist Katia Labèque, pushing aside some neatly ironed clothes hanging on a rack.

Behind the clothes, which were behind the boiler in the utility room of her home and studio here in French Basque Country, was a poster advertising concerts last year at the Philharmonie in Paris. It showed Katia and her sister, Marielle — both with dark hair flowing, glamorously dressed — and listed three programs: five centuries of Basque music; a Stravinsky and Debussy double bill; an evening with three art-rock auteurs, Thom Yorke, Bryce Dessner and David Chalmin.

“We’re ridiculous,” said Katia. “This is the only poster we have, and it’s hidden.”

The poster suggests the wildly varied musical interests of the Labèque sisters, who for over 50 years have been playing — and enlarging — the two-piano repertory. They have interpreted traditional classical and Romantic works, to brilliant effect, but have also ventured into jazz, Baroque, modernist and experimental genres — commissioning scores, inventing projects and testing their limits. Their latest recording, out this week, is a newly arranged two-piano adaptation of Philip Glass’s opera “Les Enfants Terribles.”

“What always struck me with both of them is that, although they are very different human beings, they both have this endless curiosity about everything, not just music,” said Simon Rattle, the music director of the London Symphony Orchestra and a frequent Labèques collaborator.

Katia, 70, and Marielle, 68, have been inventing themselves since they were teenagers. First taught by their mother, an Italian piano teacher and pupil of the renowned pianist Marguerite Long, the sisters moved at 11 and 13 from their hometown, Hendaye (not far from here), to attend the prestigious Paris Conservatory.

“They taught you the tricks, but not the love of music that we learned from our parents,” Marielle said. “Maybe that helped us develop our sense of independence, the desire to move in the world on our own terms.” (The sisters, interviewed mostly in French, also speak fluent English, Italian and Spanish.)

They decided against the solo careers that their fiercely competitive training had shaped them for. “From the moment we left — and it was 1968, the year of revolution of the students — we said, ‘Let’s do something maybe not so conventional,’” Katia said.

They decided to play together.

“They took a time-honored form, the double piano, which had become slightly less fashionable, and breathed entirely new life into it,” said Deborah Borda, the president and chief executive of the New York Philharmonic.

Despite their almost uncanny unity onstage — “it’s a mystery beyond sisterhood,” Mr. Rattle said — the Labèques have very different personalities. In the interview, Katia exuded energy and enthusiasm, while Marielle remained calm and reflective. But they agreed that they never really had a career plan. After deciding to perform together, they joined the Conservatory’s chamber music graduate class to develop their dual repertory, and worked as ensemble musicians with Félix Blaska’s dance company.

One day, while they were working on Olivier Messiaen’s “Visions de l’Amen,” Messiaen, who taught composition at the Conservatory, knocked on the door. After listening for a bit, he asked if one of the sisters would record the work with his wife. Even then, they showed surprising strength of purpose.

“We said, ‘No, we are just starting out and we can’t begin by dividing,’” Katia recalled. But eventually Messiaen asked them to record the work together, which led to encounters with the composers Gyorgy Ligeti, Pierre Boulez and Luciano Berio, whom they boldly approached, asking him to compose a work for them. Berio suggested they give the French premiere of his double piano concerto, which they subsequently played all over the world.

Their international breakthrough came with a 1980 recording of “Rhapsody in Blue,” which was a best seller but led to some harsh criticism from parts of the classical music establishment.

“The concert halls were closed to Gershwin,” Katia said. “People would say, ‘He is not a serious composer.’ The same thing was true 30 years later, when we started to play Philip Glass.”

They were also sometimes ribbed for their designer outfits and glossy image. But Chad Smith, the chief executive of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, said he loved that the Labèques “have a complete vision. Lighting creates a beautiful environment; clothes, too. They come with a theatrical approach and have shown the false narrative that it’s less serious if you engage in the visual.”

Over the years, they have pursued Baroque music, on Silbermann-model period-style pianofortes made for them and with the ensemble Il Giardino Armonico; ragtime; traditional Basque music; and jazz. Katia once lived with the jazz musician John McLaughlin and played in his band, and counts Miles Davis — who wrote two songs for her — and Billie Holiday as influences. The sisters have plunged deep into experimental terrain in “Minimalist Dream House,” an ongoing series of concerts and recordings with Mr. Chalmin, who is Katia’s partner, and Mr. Dessner.

“They have an extremely broad vision of what they can do in a concert hall, and they treat everyone with the same respect,” said Mr. Dessner, best known as a member of the indie-rock band the National.

The coronavirus pandemic paused a number of their projects. A concerto by Nico Muhly, which should have premiered at the New York Philharmonic in early June, is now scheduled for the Paris Philharmonie on Nov. 12; a program with Mr. Dessner and the soprano Barbara Hannigan will probably be pushed to 2022.

But one thing they could work on in quarantine was “Les Enfants Terribles,” arranged by Mr. Glass’s longtime collaborator, Michael Riesman. During the initial lockdown the Labèques worked separately to prepare the score — Marielle lives with her husband, the conductor Semyon Bychkov, about nine miles from the house Katia and Mr. Chalmin share — but sent recordings back and forth and spoke frequently with Mr. Riesman about changes.

“We wanted more of the story and the dramatic parts,” Katia said. “It was so odd that it’s a story of confinement.” After the lockdown restrictions were relaxed in May, they were able to practice together, and recorded the work in the state-of-the-art studio at Katia’s house.

“I love the way they play Philip Glass,” said Mr. Riesman. “They have the right style, the right approach. They don’t overly dramatize or emote.”

Mr. Muhly said, “They are actually much more involved in everything than most people of their stature. They email you about material; they are totally involved. The rhythms of the day are organized around an unspeakably rigorous work ethic, but there is something really elegant about the way they live their lives which flows into music and food and their extended family of artists.”

The sisters’ trick, according to Katia, is their constant desire to change and learn. “We never want to rely on what we’ve done,” she said. “We have always tried to be relentlessly in the present.”



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Crows duo to explore free agency


Adelaide has announced that Brad Crouch and Kyle Hartigan will explore their free agency options.

SEN’s Sam Edmund reported on Wednesday that Crouch, a restricted free agent, has nominated St Kilda as his club of choice.

The 26-year-old midfielder has played 95 games for the Crows and won the club’s best and fairest in 2019.

Adelaide head of football Adam Kelly said in a statement: “We will now consider our options and make decisions that are in the best interests of the Adelaide Football Club.”

Hartigan wants to return home to Victoria and will exercise his right as an unrestricted free agent.

AFL.com.au is reporting that the defender has nominated Hawthorn as his preferred destination.

“Kyle is a quality individual who has consistently given his all both on and off the field during his eight seasons with the club,” Kelly said.

“He has worked tirelessly with the Adelaide Crows Foundation and will always be a part of the Crows family.

“We wish Kyle, Emily and Hazel all the very best for their move to Victoria.”

The 28-year-old has played 113 games for the Crows.







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Force re-sign former All Blacks duo


The Western Force have re-signed former All Blacks duo Richard Kahui and Jeremy Thrush for the 2021 Super Rugby AU season.

Kahui won the World Cup with New Zealand in 2011 and scored 10 tries in his 17 appearances for the All Blacks.

The 35-year-old centre played with the Force in the 2020 season and said he was excited to go on for another year.

The Force were winless in this year’s Super Rugby AU but Kahui is confident of a future upturn in fortunes.

“Some of the signings we’ve made have been massive,” he said.

“There are some big names of international rugby and it’s great for Western Force supporters. All the cattle’s there now and we’ve got the ingredients for a big campaign.”

Those big-name recruits include Irish legend Rob Kearney, Wallabies duo Tevita Kuridrani and Tom Robertson, and Argentine pair Tomas Cubelli and Julian Montoya.

Established players such as Kyle Godwin, Greg Holmes, Ian Prior, Jono Lance, Kieran Longbottom, Brynard Stander and Marcel Brache have all re-signed.

Thrush joined the Force in 2018 as part of what was then known as World Series Rugby.

The 35-year-old lock, who played 12 Tests for the All Blacks, captained the Force twice this year when Prior was injured.

“It’s great to be committing to another year with the club. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here in Perth at the Force,” Thrush said.

“My family and I have felt so welcomed by all the players, they’ve made it so easy to transition into the club from day one.

“We’re a very ambitious club and we’re moving forward in the right direction to make the Force and rugby in WA as strong as possible, that’s what really excites me.”





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Danger duo have it down pat


“Pat’s such a dynamic player and he’s really hard to match up on, so he often takes the best defender,” Hawkins said.

“It depends, too, because Pat’s got the ability to go into the midfield, so he might be down there for short bursts. I tend to try and play a little bit higher and leave Pat a bit deeper but that changes depending on the opposition.

“He’s great to be able to play alongside because he draws the footy to him and draws defenders to him, which makes our job easier.”

Hawkins arrived as a player in the 2011 grand final when he took nine marks and kicked three goals against Collingwood to lead the Cats to a premiership.

He has not played in a preliminary final since 2017 after being suspended for last year’s meeting with Richmond but he now enters his seventh prelim with a burning desire to reach his third grand final.

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“My hunger is as strong as ever,” Hawkins said.

He said although they would love to give Gary Ablett a fairytale farewell and several players had an overwhelming desire to play in their first grand final, the topic had not been broached. Mark Blicavs and Dangerfield are both entering their fifth preliminary final without playing in a decider.

Hawkins said experience did not give the Cats an advantage over the Lions as everything was new about 2020 but he thought his teammates were confident playing at the Gabba. Both sides are unbeaten at the venue this season.



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Stanford duo awarded Nobel Prize in economics


People walk by Hoover Tower on the Stanford University campus on March 12, 2019, in Stanford, California.


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Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson, professors at Stanford University, were awarded on Monday the Nobel Prize in Economics for their work on auction theory.

  • “Over time, societies have allocated ever more complex objects among users, such as landing slots and radio frequencies. In response, Milgrom and Wilson invented new formats for auctioning off many interrelated objects simultaneously, on behalf of a seller motivated by broad societal benefit rather than maximal revenue,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in its release.

  • “Their discoveries have benefited sellers, buyers and taxpayers around the world,” the Academy noted.

  • The laureates’ findings allowed them to design auction formats for goods and services hard to sell in a traditional way, such as radio frequencies.

A screen shows pictures of U.S. economists Paul Milgrom (L) and Robert Wilson during the announcement of the winners of the “2020 Nobel Prize Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel” in Stockholm on October 12, 2020.


anders wiklund/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

U.S. universities confirm their dominance in the economics field with 57 of the 91 Nobel laureates since the prize was founded in 1969. The U.K. comes second with nine winners.



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AFL suspend Adelaide duo after drugs bust


Adelaide pair Tyson Stengle and Brad Crouch have both been found guility of conduct unbecoming and handed suspensions, the AFL confirmed on Saturday.

Stengle will be suspended for the opening four rounds of the 2021 season, while Crouch will miss the first two weeks of next season.

Both Stengle and Crouch apologised earlier this month after they were caught with an illicit substance.

As part of their penalty, they have also been ordered to attend a drug and alcohol education course and been handed a strike under the AFL’s illicit drugs policy.

While Stengle is contracted to Adelaide until at least the end of 2022, Crouch’s future at the club is up in the air as he assesses his options as a free agent.

He will have to serve the two-game ban at whatever club he decides to sign with.






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AFL suspends Adelaide Crows duo Brad Crouch, Tyson Stengle after being caught with illicit substance



Adelaide’s Tyson Stengle and Brad Crouch have been suspended by the AFL for four and two matches respectively after being caught by police with an illicit substance last month.

The AFL confirmed on Saturday the pair had been found guilty of “conduct unbecoming”, following an investigation into the September incident.

The Crows players will also have a so-called first strike against them under the AFL’s drugs policy and will have to attend a drug and alcohol education course before next season.

Police caught Crouch and Stengle with an illicit substance in Adelaide’s central business district on September 28.

Crouch and Stengle were not charged by police but they were referred to counselling under a drug diversion program.

“We strongly condemn this type of behaviour and Brad and Tyson have not acted in a way that reflects our values,” Adelaide’s head of football Adam Kelly said in a statement.

“They must work hard to regain the trust of their teammates and coaches, as well as our staff, members and fans.

“All players across the competition receive a great deal of education about drug use and the AFL’s illicit drug policy.”

In April, the Crows suspended Stengle for four matches and fined him $2,500 after he was caught drink-driving and driving an unregistered car.

The 21-year-old is due to answer the charges in Adelaide Magistrates Court later this month.

The AFL said it took that “relatively recent” incident into account when determining the length of Stengle’s suspension.

In August, Stengle signed a contract extension with the Crows until the end of the 2022 season.

Crouch, the Crows’ 2019 club champion, fell off-contract at the end of Adelaide’s season and became a restricted free agent.

Rival clubs including Geelong, Richmond and Port Adelaide are understood to be pitching offers to the 26-year-old midfielder.

AAP/ABC



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