SANTA CLARA — Play of the game? It’s too tough to narrow it just one when the 49ers pummelled the Green Bay Packers 37-8 Sunday night, so let’s go with one on both sides of the proverbial ball:BEST OFFENSIVE PLAY: Kittle’s touchdownJimmy Garoppolo’s 61-yard touchdown pass to George Kittle encapsulated just how well the 49ers can score, which they’re doing at over 30 points per game.Sure, it merely padded the 49ers’ lead to 30-8, but that scoring strike came immediately after the Packers’ put …
23 January 2006South Africa’s courtrooms are set to go the hi-tech route, with the accused taking part in proceedings from prison via video-conferencing facilities, in a system successfully pioneered at the Durban and Pinetown magistrate’s courts in KwaZulu-Natal.The Mercury newspaper reports that the technology is already being used for half the cases – about 30 a day – heard at Court 10 in Durban, where those accused of serious and violent crimes make pre-trial court appearances.The prisoners do not leave Westville Prison. Instead, they appear before the magistrate on a television set in the courtroom, the newspaper reports.The hi-tech system allows for a two-way interaction, with the camera panning to whoever is speaking at the time. It also provides for private telephone conversations with attorneys and the exchange of documents via fax.If implemented countrywide, the technology will save the government millions of rands in prisoner transportation costs – and end the risk of escapes, prisoner violence in vans and attacks on court orderlies.Deon Boardman, the national manager of the project, told the Mercury that the aim was to simplify court procedures and improve efficiency.“We are in the proof of concept stage,” he said. “It is an impact study and we aim to roll it out to other courts with high case volumes.“The test period is six months. So far, it has gone so well. It is a joint venture between the Departments of Justice and of Correctional Services, the National Prosecuting Authority and the police. In April, a joint decision will be made regarding roll-out.”Some 500 prisoners are transported every day from Westville Prison to various courts.“It is an administrative nightmare,” Boardman told the Mercury. “They have to be checked out of the prison, transported to the courts, checked into the grill, handed over to the police, escorted to and from the courts, fed, and taken back to prison. All of this for a two-minute court appearance.“The costs are enormous and the risk of escape is huge . this project is the way to go.”The project began in October 2005, initially with only a few cases a day to allow the court staff to become used to the system and make the necessary mental adjustment.“It was important for both court staff and prisoners to feel comfortable,” said Boardman. “All prisoners make their first appearance in the court itself so they know what the courtroom looks like.“They are then informed that their next appearances will be via video.“But if they want to come to court, they can. They simply make the request and they are requisitioned either the same day or the next day. But … most prisoners seem happy to appear on camera,” Boardman told the Mercury.The idea for the system came from Peter Benson of Durban-based Digital Voice Processing, which now runs the project, who first saw the technology at work in the US state of Florida, and suggested it to the Justice Department. He said it was inexpensive, with the pilot project only costing about R230 000 so far.“We worked out that if the department equipped every prison and one court in each courthouse with these video remand systems, the total cost of the technology would be recovered within nine months,” he told the Mercury.“I am passionate about this project,” he said. “It will save millions and it will save lives . I want to see this thing happen even if I don’t get the final tender.”SouthAfrica.info reporter
A Bharatiya Janata Party MP has joined the chorus for death sentence to rapists “even if he is one of ours” as more cases of sexual assault were reported across Assam and Meghalaya.“The guilty should be publicly hanged or shot dead. There should be no leniency with rapists, juvenile or adult. Even if the guilty is found to be a BJP member, he should be executed publicly,” R.P. Sharma, Lok Sabha member representing Tezpur parliamentary constituency, said on Thursday.Mr. Sharma, a lawyer by profession, has often embarrassed the BJP with his outspokenness. In October last year, he had accused some ministers of denting the party image by taking bribes and 10% commission for various work.The MP’s outburst followed the arrest of a 60-year-old man in Meghalaya’s North Garo Hills district for raping his seven-year-old granddaughter. The accused, Deny Marak of Kharkutta area, had reportedly committed the crime on April 10 and used threats to silence the child.On Wednesday, the police in western Assam’s Dhubri town arrested one Nurjamal Haque for sexually assaulting a teenage girl while she was alone in a house where works as a maid.In the last 24 hours, the police in Guwahati arrested two men for sexually exploiting girls through blackmailing. Cases had been registered against the two in the city’s Chandmari Police Station.While one of the accused, Anjan Kalita, had been blackmailing a girl in the city’s Gandhibasti area, the other – a security guard named Rabindra Phukan – had been exploiting a resident of an apartment in Chenikuthi area.
Pravin Amre has worked with a number of India players.Such is the magic of one-day cricket that it can make one forget even excruciating losses suffered in Test cricket a short while ago.The gap between Tests and ODIs in England was not long, yet in that span of time, skipper MS Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher had to face intense media scrutiny, and rightly so. The moment India slipped back into winning mode in the shorter form of cricket, all talk is about winning again.Till some time ago, Suresh Raina was the butt of ridicule when he played abroad as he was unable to score on tracks which offered something to the pace bowlers.Suresh Raina trained under Amre for four days before leaving for the England tour.Call it a metamorphosis or getting into the right mode mentally, Raina was able to conquer the demons and hammer a hundred in style in the second ODI.As reported by Mail Today, the sudden transformation for Raina came after some good “mental sessions” with Pravin Amre, whose stature as a private coach is now rising.We all know that in a sport like cricket, coaches are usually associated with a batsman or a bowler in the initial stage of development. From the time a budding player picks up a bat or starts bowling with a tennis ball, then a cork ball and then the red leather cherry, it’s all about individual efforts.It’s only when the player starts performing and gets associated with a good local club that he gets assistance from coaches. In a place like Delhi, there are so many coaching ‘shops’ being run by former cricketers who have played club cricket or domestic cricket.advertisementThe more business-like former international cricketers are ready to lend their name to an academy where fundamentals are imparted and youngsters turn up in whites for nets.The way cricket is played has changed drastically over the years and emphasis is no longer on what was called ‘copybook’. It’s not just Raina who has gained from Amre, who played 11 Tests and 37 ODIs for India.Amre has made a mark with his ability to help out a few other well-known cricketers like Ajinkya Rahane, Robin Uthappa and Naman Ojha as well.By Amre’s own admission, his job varies from case to case and he is quite happy doing a freelance job sitting in Mumbai. He knows he will not be travelling with Team India and whatever contributions he is going to make will be from home.You and I may think that Amre needs to be present at the nets to iron out the chinks but so advanced has technology become today that the guru can see it all on television. Today, TV replays and videos are available easily and for a coach to spot any major chink is not a problem.Then again, just as the top tennis professionals from Roger Federer to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic hire the best personal coaches for working on technique and tactics, cricket is seeing a new trend emerging.It’s good to note that former cricketers like Amre are able to give back to the sport what they learnt from guru Ramakant Achrekar. Today, cricketers are professionals and have a right to earn, be it an active player or anyone offering assistance.The days of charity are over when Bishan Singh Bedi offered tips to almost anyone who wanted his guidance, be it a player from India or overseas. One of India’s best left-arm spinners has a sharp cricketing brain and never minces words when he has to be critical.One does not expect the newage freelance coaches in India to offer free service like Bishan paaji, but they should take pride in what they do. Amre, for instance, was able to work with Rahane differently, as the latter lacked power in his shots.Amre relied on “baseball techniques” to improve Rahane’s hitting in the shorter format of cricket where generating power in shots is important. And the results are there to see.Before this, one also heard of India opener Gautam Gambhir taking help from Tamil Nadu’s W.V. Raman to help him out with his technique. Cricket is now an art and a science thanks to the three distinct formats.Gambhir and Raman were part of the same IPL franchise – KKR – but the time has come when more batsmen and bowlers could be seeking professional help as they have the money to do it.advertisementIf people like Amre and Raman are recognised for their contributions as coaches, there are former bowlers who have also helped. Manoj Prabhakar has been readily available for teaching budding bowlers the art of reverse swing.There are some more names like Subroto Banerjee, T.A. Sekhar and Narendra Hirwani, who offer valuable insight to bowlers.So the day is not far when we could have a Team India captain planning strategy and tactics with “foreign coaches” while cricketers seek professional help from personal coaches for perfection in technique.Dangerous for the likes of Fletcher, isn’t email@example.com