Martin O’Neill was the bookmakers’ favourite to succeed Giovanni Trapattoni even before his reign came to an end on Wednesday morning, and his odds have been slashed since the Italian’s departure. But the former Sunderland and Aston Villa manager claims he has not been contacted over the vacancy. John Delaney has insisted no decisions have yet been taken over Ireland’s managerial vacancy. He said: “It’s best that we just reflect over the next four or five days. “I’m going to ask my board members to go and speak to the grass roots. It’s going to be a mix of everyone’s views, but in the next week, the FAI Board will decide the process of how we will go about the appointment. “It’s been a traumatic four or five days for Irish football and it’s time to reflect now.” However, that process will not include Norwich boss Chris Hughton, who has reaffirmed his commitment to the Canaries after being touted as a possible successor to Trapattoni. Hughton said: “I was very proud to play for Ireland and I always want to see Ireland winning football matches, but my responsibility is here.” Former Republic full-back Hughton also paid tribute to Trapattoni and the work he did with Ireland. He said: “He’s done a fantastic job there. We have to respect the fact that it is a nation that is not expected to qualify for all the championships that they enter. “I am disappointed to see him go because he is a fellow manager.” Leeds manager Brian McDermott has also committed his future to his club. He said: “It’s really important for me that we become successful at Leeds United and one day if I ever get the opportunity – and it’s been a privilege to see my name bandied around – that would be a job that I’d really want to do. “But at this moment, I wouldn’t be leaving Leeds United for any other club. “In years to come when Leeds get fed up of me – that might be the case – and if I got that opportunity, I’d have to take it.” He told BBC Radio Five Live on Thursday night: “I have had no contact whatsoever from anyone at the Irish FA at this moment and there’s not much more I can say about it.” Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert, though, believes O’Neill is an ideal candidate. He said: “There’s no doubt about it, he could do the job standing on his head. No problem. “I’ve always said he’s a fantastic manager and it would be up to him whether he’d want to go into international football or go back to club football. I don’t know but whoever takes him has got a great manager.” However, Football Association of Ireland chief executive Delaney told Sky Sports News: “We are going to get a new manager and that manager’s objectives will be to get us to the European Championship in 2016. “Football, as we all know, tends to surprise us, but I wouldn’t read anything into someone being a favourite or not being a favourite.” It is understood O’Neill’s name is at the very top of the FAI’s list, and that the 61-year-old Ulsterman, who was relieved of his duties at Sunderland in March, is open to an approach. Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy, who guided the Republic to the 2002 World Cup finals in the Far East, is also yet to rule himself out of the running having been mentioned in dispatches by Delaney, who will take a series of soundings before formally offering the post to a favoured candidate. Press Association
MORE: Get the latest March Madness odds from Sports InsiderWisconsin might be the top overall seed in the tournament, but that doesn’t mean the Badgers have an easy route to claiming the Big Ten’s automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament. An astounding eight Big Ten teams (Wisconsin, Michigan State, Maryland, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan) were ranked in the AP Top 25 at the conclusion of Sunday’s regular-season games. Any could beat the other on any given day — just ask Indiana coach Archie Miller.With that, here is the complete breakdown of the 2020 Big Ten Tournament, from brackets, TV information and schedules:Big Ten Tournament bracket 2020Wisconsin enters the Big Ten Tournament with the top overall seed, followed by Michigan State and Maryland as the 2- and 3-seeds, respectively. That said, the conference could place a mind-boggling 10 of 14 teams in the NCAA Tournament, per Ryan Fagan’s latest March Madness projections. Again: This conference tournament might have the most parity of any in college basketball.Below is the full seeding for the 2020 Big Ten Tournament:SeedTeamRecord (Big Ten)No. 1Wisconsin21-10 (14-6)No. 2Michigan State22-9 (14-6)No. 3Maryland24-7 (14-6)No. 4Illinois21-10 (13-7)No. 5Iowa21-10 (11-9)No. 6Penn State21-10 (11-9)No. 7Ohio State21-10 (11-9)No. 8Rutgers20-11 (11-9)No. 9Michigan19-12 (10-10)No. 10Purdue16-15 (9-11)No. 11Indiana19-12 (9-11)No. 12Minnesota14-16 (8-12)No. 13Northwestern8-22 (3-17)No. 14Nebraska7-24 (2-18)DECOURCY: Big Ten facing unprecedented, unparalleled parityOdds to win Big Ten TournamentMichigan State is the odds-on favorite to win the Big Ten Tournament, per SportsInsider.com. The Spartans come in at 11/4 odds to win it, followed by Maryland (4/1), Michigan (6/1) and Wisconsin (7/1). Below are the full odds to win the 2020 Big Ten Tournament, per SportsInsider.com:TeamOddsMichigan State11/4Maryland4/1Michigan6/1Wisconsin7/1Iowa8/1Ohio State8/1Rutgers8/1Illinois10/1Penn State10/1Purdue20/1Indiana40/1Purdue40/1Nebraska150/1Northwestern150/1CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT BRACKETS:SEC | ACC | B12 | P-12 | Big East The toughest conference schedule in college basketball has concluded, and, naturally, it has resulted in three regular-season co-champions.Wisconsin, Michigan State and Maryland all finished the season 14-6 in Big Ten play, but the Badgers claimed the top overall seed of the Big Ten Tournament thanks to their 2-1 record against the Spartans and Terrapins. Michigan State was 2-2 against its fellow co-champions, while Maryland was 1-2. How to watch the Big Ten Tournament liveThe Big Ten Tournament can be watched exclusively on the Big Ten Network from Round 1 through the quarterfinals before shifting to CBS for the semifinal matches and championship game.Round 1Big Ten NetworkQuarterfinalsBig Ten NetworkSemifinalsCBSBig Ten championship gameCBSFAGAN: Sporting News March Madness projections 4.02020 Big Ten Tournament scheduleThe 2020 Big Ten Tournament will begin Wednesday, March 11 and run through Selection Sunday on March 15. It will take place at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Below is the full schedule for the tournament:Round 1: Wednesday, March 11Game 1: No. 12 Minnesota 74, No. 13 Northwestern 57Game 2: No. 11 Indiana 89, No. 14 Nebraska 64Round 2: Thursday, March 12 Time (ET)TV (national)Game 3: No. 8 Rutgers vs. No. 9 MichiganNoonBig Ten NetworkGame 4: No. 5 Iowa vs. No. 12 Minnesota2:25 p.m.Big Ten NetworkGame 5: No. 7 Ohio State vs. No. 10 Purdue6:30 p.m.Big Ten NetworkGame 6: No. 6 Penn State vs. No. 11 Indiana8:55 p.m.Big Ten NetworkQuarterfinals: Friday, March 13 Time (ET)TV (national)Game 7: No. 1 Wisconsin vs. Game 3 winnerNoonBig Ten NetworkGame 8: No. 4 Illinois vs. Game 4 winner2:25 p.m.Big Ten NetworkGame 9: No. 2 Michigan State vs. Game 5 winner6:30 p.m.Big Ten NetworkGame 10: No. 3 Maryland vs. Game 6 winner8:55 p.m.Big Ten NetworkSemifinals: Saturday, March 14 Time (ET)TV (national)Game 11: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner1 p.m.CBSGame 12: Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winnerTBDCBSBig Ten championship game: Sunday, March 15 Time (ET)TV (national)Game 11: Game 11 winner vs. Game 12 winner3:30 p.m.CBS
Guerrero had another go moments later, this time from an acute angle, but his rasping half-volley flew across the area and shaved the far post.Barca were laboured, even as they dominated the ball, but Leganes might have been tiring by the 42nd minute when Junior Firpo’s bustling run allowed Fati to take an instinctive shot, which he fired through the legs of Rodri Tarin and into the bottom corner.In the 69th minute, Messi gave his team the cushion they wanted, earning a dubious penalty with a storming run. He won the ball on the halfway line, nutmegged one defender and held off two more.After an exchange with Luis Suarez, he was finally knocked over, even if it appeared less of a foul than the previous attempts to stop him. Messi curled into the bottom corner.Suarez had come on for Fati and Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, Arthur Melo all departed too as Setien turned his attention to Sevilla. Leganes coach Javier Aguirre was sent off for whistling on the sidelines in injury-time.– Champions League-chasing Getafe slip up –Earlier, Getafe dropped more points in the race for Champions League qualification as they failed to break down Espanyol despite their opponents playing most of the match with 10 men.A goalless draw represents a missed opportunity for Jose Bordalas’ side and they could even have lost to Espanyol, who had Bernardo Espinosa sent off in the 16th minute but are building momentum.Getafe stay fifth, level on points with fourth-placed Real Sociedad, who will play their game in hand at Alaves on Thursday. Getafe could also be overtaken if Atletico Madrid win on Wednesday against Osasuna.Espanyol move to within two points of safety after resuming with a 2-0 victory over Alaves on Saturday.Villarreal stayed in the hunt for the European places by beating Real Mallorca 1-0. Carlos Bacca’s early finish leaves Villarreal seventh, three points from fourth. Mallorca remain 18th. Share on: WhatsApp Barcelona’s Argentine forward Lionel Messi (2R) kicks the ball during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona against CD Leganes at at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on June 16, 2020Madrid, Spain | AFP | Lionel Messi was rugby tackled and then scored a penalty as Barcelona put the pressure back on Real Madrid by easing to a 2-0 victory over Leganes at an empty Camp Nou on Tuesday.Messi was hauled to the ground in the first half by a diving Unai Bustinza wrapping two arms around his waist and he was knocked over again in the second, this time earning a penalty, which he converted.After 33 appearances, Messi now has 26 goals this season. In his last eight games, he has seven goals and eight assists.The 17-year-old Ansu Fati had earlier given Barcelona the lead, continuing his breakthrough season with a fifth goal in eight league starts.Leganes could have made the reigning champions feel uncomfortable if Miguel-Angel Guerrero had taken either of two golden early opportunities but the first was cleared off the line and the second denied by the post.“We had a bit of luck at the beginning,” admitted Barca coach Quique Setien.But his team’s reward for a rather underwhelming performance is a five-point advantage over Madrid, who can reduce that back to two by winning at home to Valencia on Thursday.Valencia will be a more thorough examination of Madrid’s sharpness after the three-month break and Barca can expect tougher tests to come than Leganes too, starting with a trip to third-placed Sevilla on Friday.Setien will hope Gerard Pique recovers from a nasty challenge that means he will need stitches in his shin. “It split his shinpad,” said Setien. “We hope it’s not serious.”Leganes have dropped to the bottom of the table and look doomed to relegation, their chances of survival damaged by Barcelona snatching away their top scorer Martin Braithwaite as an emergency signing in February.Leganes were not alone in feeling the rule had hurt them disproportionately and their sense of injustice might have been deepened by the fact Braithwaite was left on the bench for the entire 90 minutes.– Wasteful Guerrero –Barcelona controlled possession in the first half but created little and would have been behind early on if Guerrero had been more precise.First, Javier Eraso sprinted clear and despite taking too long to shoot, the ball spilled out for Guerrero, whose drive hit the foot of Clement Lenglet on the line.
Facebook9Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Dr. Jay Rudd, Aurora LASIKOne of the most frequent questions we get about LASIK is, “How much does it cost?” Rightfully, most of us are cost conscious. However, those considering blade-free LASIK should weigh the cost alongside the tremendous lifelong benefit of clearer vision.So, let me first address the issue of LASIK pricing.If you’re considering LASIK, you’ve probably noticed widely varying prices advertised by LASIK providers. Some are hard to resist. However, people quickly learn in the disclaimers of bargain basement pricing that there’s a catch. Either it’s the additional cost of “enhancements” that aren’t included (but are essential for the best outcomes). Or, the provider is not using the latest technology that will deliver the kind of results you want for the only two eyes you’ve got!Dr. Jay Rudd helps patients see better each day at Lacey’s Aurora LASIK.As a fellowship-trained surgeon for over 16 years, my highest priority has always been to provide the most advanced options available for clearer, brighter vision. So when we opened Aurora LASIK late last year, we were determined to offer transparent pricing that ensures you’ll get the highest level of care available in the U.S., with no pricing surprises. After all, who wants to cut corners when your vision is on the line?We also want to ensure that, not only will our patients be thrilled with the results (96% of our LASIK patients are seeing 20/20 or better), they can count on their investment lasting a lifetime. So we offer our lifetime enhancement policy that delivers peace of mind into the future.Now, let’s talk about that investment. It’s always interesting to me how people will spend $5/day on a latte (that’s $1,820 a year) or $100/month or more for digital cable (or $1,200/year), yet when it comes to LASIK, they’ll trust their eyes (and future eyesight) to the lowest bidder.Aurora LASIK’s Lacey offices provide the most advanced technologies available. Photo courtesy: Aurora LASIKEven those who turn to contacts or eyeglasses often fail to consider the compounded cost that can run, conservatively, $500 a year (or $5,000 over a ten-year period).The national average for blade-free LASIK is about $2,250/eye. At Aurora LASIK, our $2,200/eye pricing includes all pre- and post-operative care, in addition to our lifetime enhancement policy — to bring you the best vision outcome possible.And for a limited time only, we’re offering our summer special of $500 off LASIK.To make it even more affordable, we have special 100% financing through Alphaeon Credit, allowing you to create a payment plan that fits your budget.Isn’t it time you invested in something that will open up a new world of better vision — for a lifetime? Call us today at (360) 459-LASIK to schedule a free screening. Or join us for one of our free seminars, and you’ll be entered to win $1,000 off LASIK!
THEY’RE celebrating into the wee small hours in Boston tonight as Donegal Boston secured the senior football championship.The Donegal lads needed extra time to overcome arch-rivals Wolftones in an epic encounter.The Donegal team managed by Paul Martin McDaid from Malin included some well-established county names including St Eunan’s stalwart Rory Kavanagh as well as Michael Boyle, Emlyn Mulligan of Leitrim and a number of Donegal under 21 and minor stars. Donegal starting home based players such as Darren Green, Matthew Smyth, Tony McClenaghan and Gavin Gallagher secured the win after extra-time.Donegal led by just a single point at half-time, 1-02 to 1-01.Tones fought back and led by two points with two minutes left but Mulligan levelled with the last kick to send the game into injury time tied 1-07 apiece.Mulligan was again the star in the first period of extra time, hitting Donegal’s scores – one point from the spot – to lead at that break 1-10 to 1-09. Donegal Boston edged it by a point in the end despite having two players sent off. CELEBRATIONS STATESIDE AS DONEGAL BOSTON WIN SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP was last modified: August 31st, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:ChampionsDonegal BostonGFCwolftones
Despite the impetus to direct funding towards post-apartheid development imperatives like housing and basic service supply, the government is now prioritising research.Most research capacity in the higher education sector is located in the country’s top 12 universities, but the National Research Foundation is spending R43-million each year in an equity drive to boost research activity in the historically disadvantaged institutions. (Image: School Moves)Brand South Africa ReporterAfter years of academic isolation, the country’s higher education institutions have eagerly rejoined the international research environment.The country puts out more research than any other on the continent, generated by 12 500 academics and as many researchers based at research councils, institutes and companies. There are hundreds of researchers who have achieved international recognition as leaders in their fields of research.Most research capacity in the higher education sector is located in the country’s top 12 universities, but the National Research Foundation is spending R43-million each year in an equity drive to boost research activity in the historically disadvantaged institutions. Altogether, the higher education sector contributes 34 percent of the country’s research and development initiatives.Despite the impetus to direct funding towards post-apartheid development imperatives like housing and basic service supply, the government is now prioritising research. In 2001, state funding for research increased by 15%.The challenges presented by a developing country combined with first-world teaching and research facilities at some of our universities and technikons, provide unique opportunities for study and research in South Africa. Many local institutions are working in collaboration with foreign institutions, and many academics from abroad spend periods of time here.Applied research projectsThrip. Higher education institutions are also forging links with private companies on applied research projects. The government’s huge Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme (Thrip) embraces government, industry, science councils and higher education institutions in joint ventures to develop new technology and skills for the country.Innovation Fund. The government has also set up an Innovation Fund, which received R125-million for 2000 – 2001. The initiative encourages multi-disciplinary collaboration on projects addressing major social and economic problems. Countless opportunities exist for students to embark on academic study and research that has a real impact on the broader society.Statutory research bodiesSouth Africa has eight statutory science councils through which the government commissions research for social, scientific and technological development. Each has its own web site, offering a huge range of science-, technology- and industry-related information, archives, databases, services, products, funding and other facilities.National Research Foundation. The NRF promotes research through funding, human resource development and the provision of research facilities in order to facilitate knowledge creation, innovation and development in all areas of science and technology. The NRF’s web site has plenty of information on research and funding opportunities in the higher education sector.For specific information on bursaries and scholarships administered by the NRF, click here.To access research funds for research to be conducted at historically black universities, click here.Agricultural Research Council. The Agricultural Research Council promotes agriculture and related sectors through research, technology development and technology transfer.Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. The CSIR is the largest scientific and technological research, development and implementation organisation in Africa.Council for Geosciences. The Council for Geosciences provides geoscience information and services for the benefit of the people of South Africa.Human Sciences Research Council. The HSRC facilitates problem-solving and enhances decision-making through research excellence in the human sciences.Medical Research Council. The MRC improves South Africans’ health status and quality of life through relevant and excellent health research.Mintek. Mintek is one of the world’s leading technology providers, specialising in mineral processing, extractive metallurgy and related fields.South African Bureau of Standards. The SABS is responsible for the development and publication of standards for products and services.Other research organisationsAfrica Institute of South Africa. The AISA Promotes research on Africa and aims to further the aims of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad).Southern African Association for Institutional Research. The SAAIR furthers research and development in the context of research units in higher education institutions.South African Association for Research and Development in Higher Education. The SAARDHE aims to further research in higher education with grants and awards.For more information on research opportunities, visit Study South Africa.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
CFLs have saved South Africa 1800 MW of electricity. (Image: Red, green and blue) Eskom has revived previously mothballed stations to achieve power supply. (Image: Bongani Nkosi) MEDIA CONTACTS • Hilary Joffe Spokesperson Eskom +27 11 800 6993 or +27 79 697 9374 RELATED ARTICLES • Eskom build programme powers ahead • Solar power lights the way • Camden power station working again • Kusile power station to go aheadBongani NkosiThe largest rollout of energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs in the world has saved Eskom, South Africa’s power utility, 1 800MW of electricity over the last six years – a massive boost to the country’s power-saving drive.Between 2004 and 2010 more than 43.5-million compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) were distributed throughout South Africa, with Eskom installing them in households free of charge as part of the National Efficient Lighting Programme.“The electricity saved as a result of the marked reduction in consumption by lighting in homes and buildings across the country brings us closer to achieving our energy-saving targets,” Andrew Etzinger, a senior manager at Eskom, said in a statement on 17 January.In the programme, Eskom replaced power-hungry incandescent light bulbs with CFLs, which consume 80% less electricity and are more environment-friendly.“Eskom leveraged the programme to raise awareness of the importance to save electricity through converting to energy efficient lighting alternatives,” the utility said.CFLs have become an international trend, with government bodies promoting their use and even distributing them to households in programmes similar to those of Eskom. The utility said South Africa has rolled out the highest number of CFLs to date; Mexico is set to follow when its programme of rolling out 30-million CFLs is complete.The US federal government has urged citizens to opt for the energy-saving bulbs, pointing out that if every home replaced traditional lights with CFLs the country would save enough energy to light more than 2.5-million homes for a year, the US National Public Radio website reported in 2007. The government also said that using energy-saving bulbs in every home would save greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that of 800 000 cars.Demand up, prices downAccording to Eskom there is now a growing demand for CFLs, which since 2004 has driven the price down significantly. Eskom said the current price of R15 (US$2.20) per bulb was more acceptable compared to the initial cost of between R60 and R80 ($8.75 and $11.65).The light’s design has also become more suitable for local use. “Over the past six years, we seem to have overcome all of the barriers that once discouraged the widespread use of CFLs,” Etzinger said.“Now that they are more affordable, easily accessible and can be used in almost any setting that we’d use a normal light bulb, the adoption of CFLs is really starting to gather momentum in this country, as it is elsewhere in the world.”Power crisis remainsBut South Africa is not yet off the hook when it comes to power supply. The 1 800MW saved with the CFL programme does not mean South Africans can slack off on energy saving. Eskom’s call to consumers to use electricity sparingly remains loud.Power supply will stay tight until the first unit of Medupi Power Station comes online in 2012, Eskom said. The coal-fired station is one of South Africa’s biggest power-generating infrastructure initiatives. Currently under construction in Limpopo province, Medupi’s six units will generate 4 788 MW when complete by 2015. Its first unit is scheduled to be commissioned in 2012.Kusile power station in Mpumalanga, another major project currently underway, will start generating power in 2014 when its first unit is commissioned. The two stations are part of Eskom’s build programme, through which the state-owned enterprise has also revived formerly mothballed stations.
Man Utd target Declan Rice insists he’s happy at West Hamby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveDeclan Rice insists he’s happy at West Ham.The midfielder continues to be linked with Manchester United.But he told the Mirror: “I’ve signed a long-term, five-year contract last season and if I didn’t want to sign it, I wouldn’t have done it.“It makes me a West Ham player for the next five years and I’ll be giving my best for the team and the supporters.“All I can do is to keep my head down, play my football and I’m not taking any notice of what’s going on outside.“The manager keeps emphasising to us that we are a top club with a big-team mentality and we’ve started the season that way.“We see how the boss works, and we know what he’s done at Manchester City , Real Madrid and Villarreal. He’s a top manager and all the lads respect him because we know he’ll take us in the right direction.“As a club, we want to get into Europe and his track record says he usually gets there. If we make it this season, that’s a bonus – but we need to keep pushing.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
New Delhi: Pakistan will be judged not by words but on basis of the action it takes to dismantle terror infrastructure on its soil, India said Saturday, asserting that its non-military strike on the JeM terrorist training camp in Balakot achieved its desired objective. External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said if Pakistan claims to be a ‘naya Pakistan’ (New Pakistan) with a ‘nayi soch’ (new thinking), then it should demonstrate ‘naya’ action (new action) against terror groups operating with impunity from its soil. The MEA’s comments came a day after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said he will not allow Pakistani soil to be used for terror directed at other countries. Khan has been saying that a ‘Naya Pakistan’ is embarking on a new journey under his leadership. Kumar said Pakistan has been making identical statements after separate terror attacks and now Islamabad will have to take up the concrete action the international community expected it to take and must rein in terror groups operating from its soil. “We remain resolute in our determination to persuade the international community of the necessity of compelling Pakistan to move beyond mere words and to show credible, verifiable and sustained actions. We have and we will continue to act with responsibility and maturity,” he said at a media briefing. Kumar said the widespread presence of terrorist camps in Pakistan is public knowledge and repeated requests by India and the international community for Pakistan to take action against such groups has been met with “denial”. “In 2004, the then President of Pakistan had made a solemn public commitment that they would not allow any territory under their control to be used for terrorist activity in any manner,” he said. “But till today, however, Pakistan has failed to take any credible action against Jaish-e-Mohammed and other terrorist organisations, which continue to operate with impunity from Pakistan,” he said, adding Pakistan will be judged not by its words but on the basis of action it takes to dismantle terror infrastructure. Tension between the two nuclear-armed neighbours escalated after the February 14 Pulwama terror attack and subsequent aerial strike by India on a training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Balakot on February 26. Pakistan retaliated the strike next day by unsuccessfully attempting to target Indian military installations. The JeM claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack. “Our non-military counter terrorism strike of February 26 achieved the intended objective. It has demonstrated our firm resolve to take decisive action against cross-border terrorism,” Kumar said about Balakot strike. He, however, evaded questions on number of casualties in the strike. Kumar said the fact that Pakistan refused access to journalists from visiting the site of the strike in Balakot meant that they have “plenty to hide”. “So the initial bravado that everything is open please come and visit has disappeared. We are absolutely confident that strikes on Balakot has been successful and achieved the desired objectives,” he asserted. On Pakistan’s retaliatory strike, he said instead of taking action against terrorist groups on its soil, Islamabad chose to escalate through an “act of aggression” by violating Indian airspace and attempting, unsuccessfully, to target military facilities. Kumar also accused Pakistan of propagating a “false narrative” of the events of the day when Pakistani jets unsuccessfully attempted to target Indian military installations. In the aerial combat India had lost a Mig-21 Bison aircraft and its pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by Pakistan. Pakistan claimed it downed two Indian jets, and rejected IAF’s assertion that a F-16 aircraft was shot down by it during the dogfight. “Only one aircraft was lost by us. If, as Pakistan claims, they have a video recording of the downing of a second Indian aircraft, why have they not shown it to the international media even after more than one week? “Questions should be asked to them as to where the fuselage of the aircraft is and what has happened to the pilots? As we have already said, there are eyewitness accounts and electronic evidence that Pakistan deployed F-16 aircraft and that one F-16 was shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan,” Kumar said. He said Pakistan should explain why it continues to deny that its F-16 aircraft has been shot down. “We have asked the United States to also examine whether the use of F16 against India is in accordance with the terms and conditions of sale,” he added. Kumar said India’s armed forces continue to maintain strict vigil and will remain determined in the defence of the nation and its citizens. Hitting out at Pakistan for remaining in a state of denial, he said, “It is regrettable that Pakistan still continues to deny Jaish-e-Mohammed’s own claim of taking ownership of the Pulwama attack.” The MEA spokesperson referred to the Pakistan foreign minister’s interview to BBC on March where he talked about “some confusion” about JeM’s claim on the Pulwama attack. “Is Pakistan defending the Jaish-e-Mohammed and acting as its spokesperson? Does Pakistan’s claim have any credibility,” Kumar asked. He said despite the media interviews by Pakistan’s foreign minister and former president Musharraf acknowledging the presence of JeM in Pakistan, the spokesperson of the Pakistan armed forces openly denied the presence of the terror group in the country.