Lewandowski's Last-Gasp Goal Earns Bayern 2-1 Win At Freiburg
- BERLIN : Robert Lewandowski scored twice, including a stoppage-time winner as Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich came from a goal down to beat Freiburg 2-1 on Friday and open up a six point lead as the league resumed after the winter break. With his back to the goal, Lewandowski controlled a cross with his chest and fired past the Freiburg keeper in stoppage time to rescue the three points for lacklustre Bayern. It was his 14th goal of the campaign. "For us it was a very hard game from start to finish because Freiburg were good," Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti said.
- "We did not play well but we did show a lot of character." "We didn't play a good first half but then we came back and won the game with a lot of will and character. We cannot be happy with the way we played but we can be with the result." Hosts Freiburg had stunned the champions with a fourth minute goal through Janik Haberer after a perfectly executed counter-attack and a defensive error from Mats Hummels.Bayern gradually took control of the game after an erratic opening 15 minutes and Arturo Vidal came close with a low drive on an icy pitch.
- Poland striker Lewandowski, who minutes earlier had come close, drew them level in the 35th minute, volleying in a corner from Douglas Costa. Bayern worked harder and upped the tempo in the second half, controlling possession and creating several more chances but Ancelotti's team lacked the final touch to score again until Lewandowski's late goal. Freiburg came close to grabbing a late winner against the run of play with Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer tested repeatedly in the final minutes before the Pole rescued the champions with his last-gasp strike. Bayern are on 42 points, six ahead of second-placed RB Leipzig, who host Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Barack Obama Calls Narendra Modi, PM Thanks Him For Boosting Strategic Ties
- NEW DELHI : Just ahead of Donald Trump's inauguration as the President of the United States, President Barack Obama called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review "all round progress" in the relations between US and India. As he wished the outgoing US President well for his future endeavours, Modi thanked Obama for strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries. "The two leaders reviewed with satisfaction the significant all round progress and cooperation in ties between India and the US in the past few years," said ministry of external affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup.
- According to a White House readout, Obama thanked Modi for his partnership and the two reviewed joint efforts of cooperation including defence, civil nuclear energy, and enhanced people-to-people ties. "Recalling his visit as Chief Guest at India's Republic Day celebrations in 2015, President Obama wished the Prime Minister warm congratulations ahead of India's upcoming 68th Republic Day anniversary," said the statement. Obama and Modi discussed the progress they have made on shared economic and security priorities, including recognition of India as a Major Defense Partner of the United States and addressing the global challenge of climate change.
- Obama, who visited India twice in his eight year tenure, is leaving the White House on Friday. President-elect Donald Trump will be sworn-in as the 45th American President. Among other south Asian neighbours, Obama also made a farewell call to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who was joined by chief executive officer Abdullah Abdullah.
Under I-T Pressure, Black Cash Flows Into PM Fund
- NEW DELHI : The intense pressure mounted by the income tax department post-demonetisation has prompted several of those under scrutiny to opt for the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY). The government had unveiled the PMGKY to offer a "last" opportunity to holders of unaccounted-for wealth to come clean. The scheme will be available up to March 31. Those who declare unaccounted-for cash under the scheme will be levied a charge of 50% (30% tax, 33% surcharge and 10% penalty). A declarant will also have to deposit 25% of the undisclosed income in the PMGK deposit scheme. Over the past two days, the Pune investigation directorate conducted surveys and searches on 37 jewellers in 16 cities across Maharashtra and detected serious irregularities. Sources in the tax department said several of those who had come under scrutiny are believed to have opted for the tax amnesty scheme.
- Since demonetisation, the I-T department has stepped up pressure to ensure that black money holders do not go scot free. Several search and survey operations carried out across the country have revealed large-scale irregularities. Investigations by the I-T authorities in Hyde-rabad have shown that those facing the heat from the tax department may prefer to opt for the PMGKY, sources said. A prominent jeweller had deposited cash exceeding Rs 100 crore in the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
- Tax department sources said that he identified the source of cash as advances from customers who purchased jewellery on the night of November 8. Tax officials found the claims to be wrong and the matter was referred to the ED and some of the accused were arrested. Similarly, a doctor's bank account showed a cash deposit of Rs 11.50 crore, and he admitted that the cash was from unexplained sources. The department has seized the balance of Rs 7.5 crore, sources said.
Bullet Train Loan : Maharashtra Not Keen To Be Guarantor
- MUMBAI : A fortnight after the state cabinet deferred a proposal for clearing PM Narendra Modi's ambitious Rs 97,636-crore Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, it has emerged that the finance department led by BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar has raised objections over the state acting as guarantor for the loan of Rs 79,087 crore being secured from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) at a nominal interest rate of 0.1%. "Our debt burden has crossed Rs 3.56 lakh crore, and we have secured loans of Rs 65,032 crore for the metro project, public works, irrigation projects and the development plan for drought-prone areas. So it is beyond our capacity to accept the role of guarantor," said a senior official.
- "No doubt the rate of interest is nominal, but we will still have to examine the proposal in view of the 50-year repayment period," the bureaucrat added. On January 4, the proposal for the project was brought before the cabinet but was not taken up for consideration owing to the absence of finance minister Mungantiwar. CM Devendra Fadnavis had then told TOI that a high-level cabinet sub-committee would be formed for in-depth study of the project. A senior bureaucrat said a six-member cabinet sub-committee is being set up to study the report submitted by JICA as well as the project's financial feasibility. The transport department has proposed a cabinet sub-committee comprising transport minister Diwakar Raote and cabinet members Vinod Tawde, Vishnu Sawara, Eknath Shinde, Ramdas Kadam and minister of state Vijay Deshmukh; however, the CM is yet to approve the proposal.
- The bureaucrat said the Centre too was not in a position to stand as guarantor as the project was not promoted by a Central Public Sector Undertaking. "If it's a CPSU project, it is well within the powers of the Central government to take guarantee. But the department of economic affairs has laid down guidelines on guarantee for loans which state that if it's not a CPSU project, the Centre should not take responsibility," he said. The bureaucrat pointed out that the state, in collaboration with the ministry of railways, is floating a special purpose vehicle, but as per norms prescribed by the Centre, an SPV is not a Central PSU. "Under such circumstances, particularly in view of lack of clarity, the Centre will have to step in to resolve the issue raised by the state finance department," he said.
Vintage Federer Floors Berdych In 90 Minutes
- MELBOURNE : Swiss marvel Roger Federer blitzed long-time rival Tomas Berdych in straight sets to storm into the fourth round with a vintage performance at the Australian Open on Friday. The 17-time Grand Slam champion, seeded 17th after an injury-hit 2016, downed the 10th-seeded Czech 6-2, 6-4, 6-4, in just 90 minutes. Federer reached the round of 16 in Melbourne for the 15th time where he will face Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori. "From the baseline, honestly I felt worlds better than in the first couple of rounds. Yeah, it's wonderful. I'm really happy, yeah, of course," Federer said. "I'm sure I've done some sort of a performance like this (before). When you don't get broken, you don't have to save any break points, you're always in the lead, it's always easier to play."
- Any concerns that Federer might be in for a tough night evaporated with a double service break to lead Berdych 5-2 in the opening set. The Swiss maestro continued to put on a tennis masterclass to leave the big Czech floundering. Federer breezed through the opening set in 26 minutes, made it 2-0 another 31 minutes later and cruised through the final set in 33 minutes to complete an astonishing demolition of one of his long-time rivals. Federer broke Berdych's big serve four times and did not face one break point on his own service, while hitting 40 winners against just 17 unforced errors.
- "I didn't expect it as such, to be honest, especially not this kind of a scoreline," Federer said. "Especially having to save no breakpoints, just always rolling on the serve. That was a big surprise to me. "I think it was a great mental test for me to see if I could stay in the match point for point, keep rolling. "I was able to do that. That's where I'm just really happy that I was able to deliver that. "I had no expectations really for tonight, but I did surprise myself." On facing Nishikori in his next match, the 35-year-old Swiss legend said: "I'm a big fan of his game. He's got one of the best backhands out there. I love how he can crush it down the line or crosscourt. "He's got wonderful second serve returns. He's fast on his legs. Strong in his mind.
- "I know how tough he is as the match goes along. He finds his range and his rhythm, he's tough to stop." It was the 23rd career meeting between the pair and their seventh meeting at a Grand Slam, and fourth at the Australian Open. Federer extended his record to 17-6 over Berdych and has won their last six meetings. The last time the Czech defeated Federer was in the semi-finals at Dubai in 2013. The Swiss legend is looking to become the third man to win five Australian Open singles titles after Novak Djokovic and Roy Emerson, who have both won six.