Honda strike helps Japan upset Cameroon


Japan produced an upset by defeating fancied Cameroon 1—0 at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Monday.
Keisuke Honda, who turned 24 on Sunday, scored the only goal in a match that saw Japanese organization prevail over African goodwill.
The win was Japan’s first in a World Cup played away from home.
The Asians had a terrible run of form in the build up to this tournament. But Monday’s results allowed them to pull even with the Netherlands on points atop Group E.
Cameroon had hoped to emulate Ghana — the only African team to have won in this World Cup campaign so far — but will now have their work cut out as they take on Denmark and mighty Netherlands in their remaining Group E games.
In front of some empty stands — attendance in the 40,000—plus stadium was only 30,620 — Japan showed absolutely no deference towards Cameroon, the highest—ranked African team in the tournament.
Cameroon, for their part, rarely looked dangerous, especially as Inter Milan ace Samuel Eto’o appeared stranded on the right and out of much of the action.
However, apart from a couple of fumbled crosses by Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima, neither side had produced a serious attempt at goal by the half hour mark.
All changed in the 39th, however, when Daisuke Matsui delivered a perfect cross from the right to an unmarked Honda lurking on the far post.
The CSKA Moscow midfielder had plenty of time to adjust the ball, tapping it into the back of the net and celebrating his birthday in style with a Man of the Match award.
The goal should have woken Cameroon from their torpor. But the game’s narrative did not change much after the break, with the Africans lacking any sense of urgency and Japan frustrating their efforts with some excellent passing and organization.
And there were only flashes of genius from three—time African Footballer of the Year Eto’o — a rare one coming in the 49th minute, when some skillful leg work allowed him to rid himself of three opponents and deliver an inviting ball for the centrally placed Eric Choupo Moting, only for the Nuremberg forward to blast the ball wide.
Cameroon finally started applying some real pressure in the final 20 minutes of the game.
However, it was the Japanese who could have made it 2—0 on the counter attack, such as when Shinji Okazaki, in a suspect off—side position, sent the ball crashing against the post.
The Indomitable Lions finally showed some real grit in the final minutes, but Stephane Mbia’s long—range effort crashed against the crossbar while Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima produced a miraculous save to deny Pierre Webo deep in stoppage time.
The next Group E action sees Japan take on the Netherlands and Cameroon play Denmark on Saturday.

Pakistan, Iran sign gas pipeline deal sans India


A year after they decided to go ahead with the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project without India, the two countries on Sunday inked the last of a series of agreements needed to operationalise the deal. With the signing of the export deal in Tehran, Iran has now committed itself to supplying natural gas to Pakistan from 2014.
The export deal was signed by Reza Kasaeizadeh for the Iranian Gas Export Company and Mohammad Naim Sharafat on behalf of Pakistan's Inter State Gas Limited. ``This is a happy day. After decades of negotiations, we are witnessing today the execution of the agreement to export more than 21 million cubic metres of natural gas daily from 2014 to Pakistan,'' agencies quoted Iran's Deputy Oil Minister Javad Ouji as telling reporters at the contract signing ceremony.
The pipeline will facilitate transfer of natural gas from Iran's biggest gas field in South Pars to Pakistan through its restive Balochistan province. With all the paperwork now complete, Iran is expected to start building the 300-km stretch of the pipeline from Iranshahr to the Pakistani border through the Iranian port of Chabahar from Monday. Iran has already constructed 907 kilometres of the pipeline between the Asalooyeh Energy Zone and Iranshahr.
Pakistan - which is reeling under a severe energy crisis -- will now undertake a feasibility study for building its section of the pipeline from the border with Iran to Nawabshah, the hub of the country's gas pipelines in the province of Sindh. This feasibility study alone is expected to take a year to complete and the Pakistan leg of the pipeline will take another three years to construct.
Originally conceived in the mid-1990s, the pipeline was to be a three-nation venture that extended right up to India. Security considerations and inability to come to an understanding with Pakistan over transmission charges saw India waver time and again over joining the project amid speculation of New Delhi also coming under Washington pressure not to do business with Tehran. Finally, Iran and Pakistan decided to enter into a bilateral agreement in May 2009.

Anti-Maoist offensive, 10 rebels gunned down


Ranchi: The anti-Maoist offensive in Jharkhand has been intensified with security forces gunning down 10 rebels in West Singhbhum district, police sources said Monday.
Police claimed killing 10 rebels Sunday after security forces surrounded around 300 Maoists who engaged them in a gun battle for nearly 28 hours. But no bodies were recovered.

Six security personnel were also injured in the gun battle which ended Sunday evening, sources said.

Around 2,000 security personnel joined the operation, Green Hawk, which started in the district last Friday.

Troopers from paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Jharkhand Jaguar and Special Task Force (STF) were involved in the operation in Sonuwa and Porahat jungles of the district, around 170 km from Ranchi.

During the operation eight Maoist training camps were destroyed, and 21 landmines and two generators recovered, police sources said.

Security forces also recovered around two quintals of fish, dry fruits and other eatables from the training camps.

"Our plan is to disconnect Maoists' supplies like foodgrains and water. Security forces have started cornering the rebels but it will take months to fight the final battle," a police source told IANS.

CRPF Special Director General Vijay Raman is coordinating with police to launch offensives against the rebels in other parts of the state including Saranda Jungle, sources said.

Anti-Maoist operations have been intensified after union Home Minister P. Chidambaram visited Jharkhand last week and held a meeting with senior government officials and Governor M.O.H Farook, they said. 



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Ash pays Abhishek a surprise visit


The Bachchans normally do not mix business with pleasure.
Aishwarya Rai landed in Mumbai from Paris, she broke the golden rule ,Aishwarya asked the family driver to take her wherever Abhishek was. A first for her because normally she doesn't intrude when her husband is working. Even when she joins him on long outdoors, she never hangs around the sets when he's shooting.

“This time she made an exception because she was missing Abhishek all the way from Paris to Mumbai. And besides, Abhishek was doing promotional work for their film together. She not only met him, she also joined impromptu to talk to their fans on radio in Jaipur and Ahmedabad.”Said a friend of Aishwarya.

Both Abhishek and Aishwarya will be seen together in Mani Ratnam's "Raavan", but not as a couple. While southern star Vikram plays Ash's husband, Abhishek will be seen as her abductor. The film is releasing Friday

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