Petrol prices reach record high

Soaring oil prices have led to petrol prices hitting record highs in the UK.

Motorists must now shell out 140.20p for a litre of petrol.

This is on the back of a slew of increases in fuel prices. Diesel was priced at 143.05p just last month.

No respite awaits car owners across the country experts suggest the average petrol price to rise to 150p very soon.

Chancellor George Osborne has promised that petrol prices would not suffer undue hikes so long as oil prices are kept under 45 pounds per barrel. With Iran’s monopoly over oil threatening to expand throughout the EU, patrons are very cautious about their time on the road.

 

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Rangers agree to pay cuts

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Four Rangers, including Captain Steven Davies have accepted 75% paycuts to prevent needless redundancy. But should the players clean up the administrators’ mess? Here’s what the fan thinks…

Olympic rings set to sparkle

Edinburgh Castle was originally intended as the Olympic ring location, but was vetoed due to public outcry.

By Alagappan Muthu

The Edinburgh skyline will feature a shiny new addition this summer in celebration of London 2012. The Olympic rings due to be erected in the Mound in Princes street gardens will also be lit up.

Officials from the Olympic committee and Edinburgh City Council are hopeful the new site would serve as a focal point for the public to meet and celebrate their athlete’s achievements.

“I feel that this site will be well received by the Edinburgh public and more than conforms to the city’s history and architecture”, said deputy council leader Steve Cardownie

Originally the games committee proposed to have the iconic logo on Edinburgh Castle. But it was met with outcry and Historic Scotland, caretakers of the castle, vetoed the proposal. Before Christmas, Edinburgh Evening News conducted a survey to determine which place would be best to display the insignia. The Airport was the most popular choice, followed by the Fourth bridge. The Mound came in third. Midlothain council also offered its Hillend Ski Center in the Pentlands as a potential site, but financial issues ruled this out.

The Mound has been the site of the city’s Christmas tree and has been seen as a popular representation of Edinburgh. After the Olympics, it will serve as site for the Paralympic logo as well. However both installments are yet to be granted planning permission.

Cricket in a right old ‘fix’

Salman Butt. Photo: courtesy AFP

Disgraced former Pakistan Captain Salman Butt and promising 19-year-old sensation, Mohammad Amir, lost their appeals yesterday when the Lord Chief Justice dismissed their claims of disproportionate sentencing in the Lord’s spot fixing case.

On November 3, Pakistan’s Butt, Amir and Mohammad Asif were convicted of spot fixing and sentenced to prison. Butt was given a 30 month sentence and Amir was charged to spend six months at a youth correctional facility. The bookie, Mazhar Majeed, was handed a sentence of 2 years and 8 months.

Asif, who is facing a one-year sentence, is also scheduled to appear. Balham Chambers, a London-based lawyer will be representing him. Unlike his fellow disgraced teammates though, Asif is appealing against the conviction itself.

The Incident

During the course of the fourth and final test match between England and Pakistan, at Lord’s from 26-29 August, it was proved that Butt influenced Asif and Amir to bowl no-balls to signal to Majeed that ‘everything was going according to plan’

Had he not been caught, Butt’s pocket would have been ₤150,000 heavier.

Deadly Impact

Any illegal activity in sport is disastrous, let alone players accepting money to underperform. They represent their country when on the field.  Is ₤150,000 enough justification to betray one’s motherland?

At a time when the International Cricket Council (ICC) is looking to widen the reach of cricket around the globe, the poison of match fixing is the last thing they want. As seen by the misdemeanor of the Pakistani trio, something as small as a no-ball has caused widespread havoc: young talents ruined; old cases dug up; fingers pointed; administrations in uproar. Would someone new want to pursue a sport in such malady?

And what of the loyalists?

The thrill of watching a ‘good game’ is now diluted with persecuting doubts. ‘Wait, this is too spectacular. Could it have been fixed? they wonder.  ‘Can I ever watch a game without being paranoid?’

But it is the players who are true to the game who bear the worst impact of match fixing.

They adhere to rigorous training, tackle overwhelming pressure and display inspiring human toughness to bring glory to their country. But instead of the recognition they deserve, their efforts are rubbished in one simple phrase: ‘Oh, it’s obviously been fixed!’

Change in attitude

Cricket is already suffering from a lack of fan involvement. People are starting to prefer the comfort of their homes to the excitement of the stadiums. Add in the needless Umpire Decision Referral System (UDRS) controversy and the ICC has more than enough on its plate already without having the bane of match fixing threatening to destroy the credibility of the sport.

Punishments and procedures can only go so far in curbing cricket’s worst illness, as seen from previous cases (Salim Malik’s life ban being removed, Marlon Samuels’ light sentence). The incentive is on the players themselves to resist temptation and it isn’t that hard. All one needs to do is remember the pride of wearing the national crest to spit in its face.

Wanting a little extra on the side doesn’t give anyone the right to cheat.

The sporting week ahead

Scottish Premier League

Hibernian FC vs Kilmarnock- 19/11/11 at 3pm.

Manager-less Hibs take on Kilmarnock at Easter Road in a bottom of the table clash on Saturday. Caretaker boss Billy Brown will be hoping for three points to help his campaign to become full time boss.

Dundee United vs Heart of Midlothian- 19/11/11 at 3pm.

Hearts are looking to halt their recent slump in form with a win at Tannadice. Manager Paolo Sergio begins his five match touchlink ban with former Hearts player Robbie Nielson making his debut for United.

 English Premier League

Manchester City vs Newcastle United- 19/11/11 at 5.30pm.

The two remaining unbeaten teams in the league meet this Saturday afternoon as both attempt to maintain their excellent start to this season.

Swansea City vs Manchester United- 19/11/11 at 3pm.

Alex Ferguson’s boys will be hoping to keep pressure on City when they clash with Swansea at Liberty stadium on Saturday evening.

Rugby

Edinburgh Rugby vs Racing Metro 92- 18/11/11 at 8pm.

Edinburgh hopes to build on their impressive away victory against London Irish last weekend in front of their home fans at Murrayfield.

Renowned cricket journalist commits suicide

by Al Muthu

Peter Roebuck

Peter Roebuck, noted cricket journalist leaped six storeys to his death
from his room at the Southern Sun hotel in Cape Town, South Africa on Saturday.

Police visited the 55-year-old former Somerset captain to investigate an allegation of indecent assault against him when he moved towards the window and jumped. A spokesperson announced that investigations are on-going and the matter will be subject to an inquest.

It is alleged that Roebuck invited Itai Gondo, 26, on pretence of a university scholarship and proceeded to seduce him against his will. Gondo met the English born cricketer-turned-journalist through a friend who knew one of his adopted sons. During a chat via Facebook, Roebuck wished the young Zimbabwean to call him ‘Dad,’ asking him to bring a stick in case he needed to beat him.

During the actual meeting however, Roebuck launched himself on the unsuspecting youth.  Gondo’s phone rang at the time, which ceased Roebuck’s assault and the shocked student fled the suite.

Southern Hotel

Peter Roebuck was as much a pot of controversy as he was a brilliant journalist.

During his stint as Somerset captain he refused to renew the contracts of Sir Vivian Richards and Joel Garner stating them to be too old. The two West Indian stalwarts left the club after scribbling ‘Judas’ on his door.

In 2001, he was handed a suspended jail sentence for caning three of his students.Henk Lindeque from South Africa recalls his stint at the Taunton Cricket Club where Roebuck would cane him and three of his friends and then wish to see the markings. He would then coax those who were unwilling.

Tatenda Dennis Chadya, one of Roebuck’s adopted sons tells a different story.  A lawyer in training, he has been under Roebuck’s care since 2005. Registering genuine shock over the incidents surrounding his “Dad’s” death, Chadya  admitted his house had stringent rules, but claimed the worst that happened was docking of allowances.

During his days as a player, Roebuck was prolific in domestic matches, amassing 25000 runs including 38 centuries. He pursued coaching after his life as a professional cricketer and eventually delved into the world of books and journalism. He wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald and ESPNCricinfo at the time of his death.

His form of commentary was  rare in that it was brutally frank. His article that questioned the domination of the Indian Premier League and how its popularity is dumbing down the audience from enjoying good and hard Test cricket is a typical example of his unique style of cricket journalism.

Perhaps Roebuck’s personality contributed to the disgraceful events surrounding his death. The man was often eccentric, introverted and political. An ardent follower of the old school values of cricket, his articles often probed those issues other journalists stayed away from.

Whatever has been said about the man, in the tragic passing of Peter Michael Roebuck, cricket has suffered a huge loss.

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