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India calls for ‘comprehensive resolution’ of Middle East conflict, united action against extremists

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United Nations: India has called for united action against extremist outfits operating in northern Iraq and Syria and a “comprehensive political resolution” of the conflict. India stressed the need to stop the “dangerous trends” emerging in the Middle East and Gulf regions that are endangering peace and stability of the religion. It also stressed the need for bringing all parties to the negotiating table, but said it should be a “Syrian-led process”.

Speaking at a Security Council debate Tuesday on the Middle East, India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin expressed India’s “deep concern with the activities of proscribed outfits, radicalized and extremist groups in the West Asia and Gulf region, especially in northern parts of Iraq and Syria.” They “are critically impacting on peace and stability in the region,” he said. “Efforts must be taken by all parties and stakeholders in the region to curb these dangerous trends.”

Although he refrained from naming the groups, it was a reference to the principal operator in the region, the Islamic State, which is also known by the acronym ISIS, and others like the al-Nusra Front.

Opposition to these outfits, which control parts of Syria and Iraq and draw supporters from as far away as the United States, is fragmented. The US, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, and opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are ranged on one side and Syria, Russia and Iran on the other.

“We believe the consolidation of political processes and solutions while building durable state institutions will be the effective way of addressing such extremism and radicalism in the region,” Akbaruddin said.

“India has consistently called for a comprehensive political resolution of the conflict, bringing all parties to the negotiating table,” he added in a nuanced statement. “It has to be a Syrian-led process, taking into account the legitimate aspirations.”

He expressed support for the UN-sponsored Syrian peace conference that was to have started Monday, but was postponed because of questions over who should represent the opposition to al-Assad.

“We remain hopeful that the UN’s mediation efforts will yield results,” he said. “We urge all parties to demonstrate the requisite political will, exercise restraint, and commit to seeking common ground in accommodating their differences.”

Akbaruddin said that India had donated $4 million in humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees and would contribute more at the Syrian Donors Conference for refugee assistance next month in London.

Turning to the other regional hotspot, Yemen, Akbaruddin said, “We have been urging all concerned parties in Yemen to amicably resolve their differences and we hope that the UN-mediation efforts would assist the people of Yemen in finding a consensus-based solution.”

Speaking about the long-running Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Akbaruddin said, “India remains firmly convinced that dialogue remains the only viable option that can effectively address the issue.”

Straddling a middle path between traditional friend, the Palestinians, and Israel, with which India has developed closer ties more recently, he said, “The imperative need is for restraint, to avoid provocation and unilateral actions and to return to the peace process. We remain hopeful and urge both sides to resume the peace process soon, for a comprehensive, just and lasting resolution of the Palestinian issue.”

He added, “India supports a negotiated solution resulting in a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living within secure and recognized borders, side by side at peace with Israel.”

Reiterating India’s support for the Palestinian cause, Akbaruddin said, “India has always played a proactive role in garnering support for the Palestinian cause in multilateral fora.”

He referred to visits by President Pranab Mukherjee and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and said, “These visits and interactions reinforce and renew our political and diplomatic support to the State of Palestine in its endeavors to realize an independent and sovereign State of Palestine.”

During those journeys, they both also visited Israel.(IANS)

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Cricket madness in Chicago

People sacrifice other chores just to enjoy this beautiful game and to keep it alive in countries outside India where cricket is not a major sport.

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Cricket has become a popular sport in Chicago. Around 900 people play the game in the windy city.

WLCA Working Committee

Hari Mohan, Harshavardhna Hedge, Kunal Tembhurne, Niranjan Kulkarni, Saurabh Nigam, Shreenidhi Bharadwaj, Shekar Reddy Palla, Shwetabh Gaurav, Sunil Saini, Vivek Sarkar

About:

Cricket is more a religion, less a sport in India. People are obsessed with the sport and magnitude of love cannot be defined in words.

In the United States, Baseball, Basketball and Soccer are obviously more popular. However, Cricket has a strong presence due to the passion and love of Indians for the game. The Indian community in USA avidly plays and promotes cricket and, in the process comes closer to each other.

The passion for the game is unreal in USA too. Working men enjoy the sport in their free time. They even book grounds (baseball/soccer grounds) to practice and conduct tournament matches. The players are from all backgrounds – students, businessmen, lawyers, IT professionals to doctors. They all take out time out of their busy schedules and come together to rejoice the gentleman’s game in the windy city.

Cricket
The tournament played between Chicago Centaurs and Arrigo Avengers.

Tournaments in Chicago

As cricket has a strong presence in Chicago, many friendly yet competitive tournaments are conducted by cricket fanatics to keep the game alive.

Chicagotwenty20 tournament

Chicagotwenty20 is the oldest cricket tournament that was conducted in Chicago. It’s first season took place in 2009 and the tenth season was played in 2018. The league is played in 20 overs format. 56 teams participate from Chicago and are divided into groups 4 with 14 teams in each group.  Each team has a squad of 16 players with 11 playing and rest 5 as extras. Each team has a home ground. 7 matches are played at home ground and the rest at the opponent’s ground. The top eight teams from each group are qualified for the quarter finals. The tournament is almost four months long. The best player of the winning team is awarded the man of the match in every match. Best Batsman, Best bowler, MVP ( most valuable player) awards are given at the end of the season.

The 2018 season was won by team Yorkers. The Best Batsman, Highest score and the MVP award was given to Mr Pavan Shetty of team Yorkers, who scored 418 runs. The best bowler award was given to Sivakumar for taking 27 wickets.

WLCA Super 8 tournament

WLCA (West Loop Cricket Association, Chicago) was formed by four IT professionals in 2016 with the sole objective of promoting the game of cricket in Chicago City area. Based out of vibrant and affluent Chicago West Loop, WLCA is an assemblage of 300+ cricket players. These cricket enthusiasts come from different walks of life being corporate professionals, UIC/IIT students and local businessmen. There are hundreds of followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Cricket
This is the team who connected via the meetup link which has more than 300 members.

WLCA mainly involve in:

  • Organize annual cricket tournament
  • Coordinate weekly cricket games in different Chicago City park locations
  • Coordinating friendly games with other known Chicago Suburban teams
  • WLCA team represented Chicago City in other Chicagoland tournaments including Chicago T20 League and Soha Cup
  • Maintaining and making available Cricket Equipment Kit free of cost to playing group

The WLCA hosts Super 8 Cricket tournament which started in 2017 by the West Loop cricket association (WLCA). It is played under the format of 8 overs and 8 players in each team. This concept of tournament was the first to be launched by WLCA in Chicago. This is the shortest time-consuming format (2 days) and the played at the heart of Chicago Downtown. The first season was extremely successful (12 teams) and participating teams called out as the best organized cricket tournament amongst many happening in Chicago.

Season 2 played in 2018 organized by WLCA had 16 teams divided into four groups with four teams in each group. The semi-finals and final are played with 10 overs. There is a man of the match, best bowler, best fielder award for every match

Here is the fixture and schedule of Season 2:

There are 16 teams participating in this short format cricket tournament.

16 team is divided into 4 groups.

Group A Group B Group C Group D
Winter Wolves (A1) Chicago Wild Kittens(B1) Arrigo Avengers(C1) Super 9s(D1)
Dark Knights (A2) Challengers(B2) Cook County(C2) Chicago Super Kings(D2)
Chicago Centaurs(A3) Hunters (B3) Westside Wolves(C3) River City (D3)
International Khiladies (A4) Ballers(B4) Knights(C4) CSK+(D4)

Each team in the group will play only two matches with the other two teams.

From each group top two teams will be qualified for the quarterfinals, then semis and finals.

Chicago Centaurs were the Champions and Super 9s were the runners up.

Female cricket players
Female cricket players. Pixabay

The tournament has become a big deal in no time. It was sponsored by big names like USBank (thanks to Susan Brown), Lodha Group (this group was also the associated sponsor of Ind vs, Eng Test Series in 2018) and Metra Spice Mart (Only Indian Grocery Store in Chicago Downtown). The tournament has gained momentum in no time and is likely to do so in the years to come.

Keeping the game alive overseas

Cricket has become a huge deal in Chicago. Around 900 people play the game in the windy city. Tournaments like above help in maintaining healthy competition and something to be excited for.

People sacrifice other chores just to enjoy this beautiful game and to keep it alive in countries outside India where cricket is not a major sport.

“My favourite sport and always loved to watch and play the game anywhere in the world anytime. Always loved to organize these kinds of tournament from childhood so continuing the same thing outside the country”, Says Harshavardhna Hedge, Organizer, WLCA super 8 tournament.

The Indian Cricket Team
The Indian Cricket Team

“Well I love the sport and love my country. We get to relive our childhood and impart love for the game to the next generation. The community comes together and enjoy, and we also return to the society through charity”, Says Hari Mohan, Organizer, WLCA super 8 tournament.