Cricket match fixing is in the news again, with The Sunday Times alleging that the 2011 World Cup semi-final between India and Pakistan in Mohali was 'fixed'. It also said a little known Bollywood starlet Nupur Mehta was used to lure players on the English county cricket circuit into underperforming, a charge Mehta has denied. A backgrounder on match fixing:
Cause: Betting on matches is widespread in cricket-playing countries, perfectly legal in some, illegal in others like India. Match fixing arises when bookies induce players to perform in a particular way.
Variations: Apart from paying off players to perform poorly or a team captain to throw a match, bookies have also engaged in 'spot fixing' where, with bets having been taken on the fate of particular balls, they are bowled in a specific manner to benefit the bookie.
Instances: The biggest scandal erupted in 2000, when South African skipper Hansie Cronje admitted to having accepted money to throw matches. Soon players from other countries were also implicated, among them India's Mohammad Azharuddin and Pakistan's Salim Malik. A decade later, in August 2010, Pakistani cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammed Amir and Mohammed Asif were exposed as having engaged in spot fixing during Pakistan's test match against England at Lord's. They have been banned by the International Cricket Council and were jailed last November.
Loo and Behold
Europe's financial difficulties have not stopped the Scottish Wildlife Trust from spending »50,000 on building a state-of-the-art toilet on an island that has been uninhabited for 150 years. It will stand on a hilltop at Handa off the Scottish coast, an all-steel affair to withstand the fierce winds that blow there. Who is it for? The 6,000-odd bird watchers who briefly descend every summer.
The offerings made by devotees at the dargah of saint Moluddin Chishti in Delhi set it apart from all other shrines. They are mostly cigarettes, bidis and hookahs. It seems this 13th Sufi saint, at a time when no one knew it was carcinogenic, loved his tobacco, which he smoked in a hookah. Devotees pray, tie a sacred thread, and then light a cigarette as a mark of respect.
A Central government initiative begun last year to link Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia and IITDelhi to form a 'meta university' has got nowhere so far. It was the first step in a grand plan to link 6,400 universities and 30,000 colleges across the country. Officials say there are many problems and IIT-Delhi was yet to come on board.
Compiled by Basudha Das