Delhi The Buzz

MHA issues fresh COVID-19 guidelines, says need to be vigilant as new variant emerging in UK

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 28

Extending exiting COVID-19 guidelines for surveillance, containment and caution till January 31, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in a new order today said, while there has been a continuous decline in the active and new cases of infection, there is need to continues with the measures, keeping in view the surge in cases globally and emergence of a new variant of the virus in the United Kingdom (UK).

The Ministry in its fresh order said, “Accordingly, Containment Zones continue to be demarcated carefully; prescribed containment measures strictly followed within these zones; COVID-appropriate behaviour promoted and strictly enforced; and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) prescribed in respect of various permitted activities followed scrupulously”.

Therefore, the focused approach on surveillance, containment and strict observance of the guidelines/SOPs issued by MHA and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW), “as envisaged in the Guidelines issued on November 252020 need to be enforced strictly by States and UTs”, it said.

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Sharjah Book Authority will focus on emerging opportunities for Indian publishers

Book lovers at the Sharjah International Book Fair last month.
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

SHARJAH: Sharjah Book Authority’s virtual initiative, the Publishers Club, has announced its next session entitled ‘Opportunities for Indian Publishers in Sharjah and the wider Middle East’ to be held on Tuesday, December 15.

Guest speaker, Ravi Deecee, Managing Partner of DC Books, one of the top five publishers in India, will lead the discussions, highlighting opportunities available to Indian publishers in Sharjah and the wider Middle East. The session will be streamed live via Zoom.

In conversation with the international publishing consultant Emma House, Founder of UK-based Oreham House, Deecee will share his perspectives on how the Indian publishing community can boost the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region’s publishing landscape through exports, book sales and rights transactions as well as author appearances at the Sharjah International Book Fair, SIBF.

Key player

A regular attendee at SIBF for the past 12 years, Deecee will also showcase his experiences as a key player in the Indian book industry. The leading book publisher, DC Books is the first ISO certified book publishing house in India. Its e-publishing activities are managed through its sister concern, EC Media International, which functions as an eBook store housing books in more than 10 Indian languages.

The Publishers Club virtual series is a part of SBA’s ongoing efforts to support and advance the publishing sector by bringing together industry professionals on a unified platform to exchange knowledge and expertise and discuss strategies to advance the sector globally, while also presenting effective solutions for the unique challenges faced by businesses following the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Sports UK

Arsenal may have made costly transfer mistake as Arteta talks up emerging option

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has talked up Reiss Nelson, who put on a dazzling display against Molde in the Europa League.

He even admitted he could be used to play in Willian’s role on the right-wing, who has failed to impress since his arrival.

The Brazilian departed Chelsea after seven years following a contract wrangle.

The forward moved to north London, agreeing a three-year deal at the Emirates and many commended Arsenal’s business sense.

But that is already starting to look like a mistake after a shoddy start to his Gunners career.

And at the age of 32, he is not getting any younger and fans are already unhappy with his contributions.

Willian has failed to impress since his move from Chelsea

Other than his debut against Fulham where he got two assists, Willian has failed to register any form of goal contribution.

It has coincided with an abysmal spell in the Premier League where the Gunners have failed to find the net in nearly eight hours.

The result has left them 12th in the table, seven points behind league leaders and local rivals Tottenham.

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But it has been a different story in the Europa League, where Arsenal have already qualified from their group after beating Molde 3-0.

Arteta gave the youngsters a chance and Joe Willock, Emile Smith Rowe and Folarin Balogun all impressed.

And another to catch the eye was Nelson, who has long been rated by Arsenal coaches but has yet to find consistent form.

Reiss Nelson scored Arsenal’s second goal against Molde

Of course, there are not many 20-year-olds that have but Arteta saw a spark in Nelson on Thursday night that suggests he could take on a bigger role in the first-team after he scored in the win in Norway.

With Willian injured, Arteta admitted he could fill in for the Brazilian, saying: “He’s made some big steps in the last month or so. He’s shown what he can do. He’s another player who wants to take on all the time. He’s very vertical.

“He’s a great player who runs in behind. He’s very unpredictable. I really like these types of players to play in winger positions.

“Defensively there are things he needs to do better but he will improve that but he’s a much more mature player.

“He showed a great attitude to say he didn’t want to leave on loan because he believes he’s got a chance to play for this football club and he’s showing that he wants to take that direction. He’s performing in the right way.”

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Sports USA

Marcus Maye emerging as leader amidst lost Jets season

The Jets traded away one of their defensive leaders Sunday night. But Adam Gase said safety Marcus Maye is capable of filling the void left by defensive tackle Steve McLendon, who was dealt to the Buccaneers.

“What I’ve seen from Marcus Maye, really the entire season, I’ve been extremely impressed,” Gase said Wednesday. “To watch him — he shows up a lot when you watch the offensive side of the ball. You see him, he’s like a cheerleader sometimes.

“You see him coming off the bench if we have any kind of positive play, cheering on the offense. He speaks up a lot, which is something that I didn’t hear a lot last year.”

Maye, a fourth-year safety, is having a strong season, with 34 tackles, two sacks, an interception and four passes defensed. In Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins, Maye made an acrobatic interception, breaking up a long pass for Preston Williams and pinning the ball to his back as he fell to the ground.

Marcus Maye

“I think he knows, ‘Hey, I’m the guy that needs to speak up,’ and he does a good job of that,” Gase said.

Rookie running back La’Mical Perine equaled a career-high with nine touches in Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins, and though there were some mistakes in terms of blocking blitz pickups and protection, Gase liked what he saw from the fourth-round pick.

“I think the more he plays, he’ll relax and he’ll play fine,” Gase said.

Perine had seven carries for 27 yards and two receptions for 9 yards as Frank Gore’s backup in the Jets’ first game since releasing Le’Veon Bell.

OL Alex Lewis (shoulder) didn’t practice. K Sam Ficken (right groin), OL Chuma Edoga (calf), LT Mekhi Becton (shoulder), QB Sam Darnold (right shoulder) and WRs Jamison Crowder (groin) and Breshad Perriman (ankle/knee) were all limited.

The Jets traded OLB Jordan Willis and a 2021 seventh-round pick to the 49ers for a sixth-round pick in the 2022 draft, a source confirmed.

— Additional reporting by Brian Costello

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Football USA NFL

Giants’ James Bradberry emerging as one of top corners in the NFL

One thing is missing from James Bradberry’s budding résumé — and it isn’t participating in “engaging activities.”

Bradberry, 27, signed a three-year free-agent contract with the Giants that gave him the seventh-highest average annual salary ($14.5 million) at his position. He has lived up to the investment through five games, leading the NFL with nine passes defended as the league’s second-highest graded cornerback by Pro Football Focus.

It’s the Giants’ most Pro Bowl-worthy performance — except the NFL just canceled this season’s Pro Bowl (for the first time since 1949) because of COVID-19 and announced it will be replaced by star players in “a variety of engaging activities.” No worries. Fans, players and coaches still will vote for Pro Bowlers in name only, so Bradberry still has a chance to put the title in front of his name for the overdue first time.

“I wouldn’t say it’s important to me,” Bradberry told The Post. “It’s on the list of accolades I want to achieve before I’m done playing football, but the most important thing to me is the wins. Everything else will come down the line. If we are winning, we will get more recognition off the field. That’s when you start getting Pro Bowls, All-Pros and things like that.”

James Bradberry and Ron Rivera
Ron Rivera said he believes James Bradberry can be a top corner in the NFL.N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg;

Perhaps no one knows Bradberry’s capabilities better than the coach walking the opposite sideline Sunday: Washington’s Ron Rivera and Bradberry were together for four seasons with the Panthers. So, is Bradberry playing at an even higher level now than when he regularly faced Julio Jones, Michael Thomas and Mike Evans in NFC South matchups?

“He is,” Rivera said. “He’s one of my favorites. This guy competed at the highest level against the highest-level players, Sure, he might’ve gotten beaten once in a while, but he would come back, line up and he would be physical.

“He’s a guy that I knew would get a good opportunity — and really I think he’s a guy that the more he works at it, the more reps he gets, the better and better he keeps getting.”

Bradberry has allowed just 15 receptions on 28 targets while mostly shadowing opponents’ top receivers, including limiting the Cowboys’ Amari Cooper to two catches for 23 yards last week.

“Credit to the coaches: They are putting together a good game plan week-in and week-out,” Bradberry said. “The offense over there is multi-faceted with many weapons. Whenever my name was called and it was time to line up against Cooper, I feel like I did my job.”

No argument from the Giants.

“James is held in high regard throughout the league,” defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said. “People respect him because of his play.

“The ball skills are there, the way he breaks up passes. His reaction and his anticipation are there, that helps us in terms of when we’re in our zone coverages. In man coverage, his ability to stay with his man and have good eye control makes it [so] you’re not worried about his side of the field or that guy.”

Bradberry admittedly didn’t do much research into Graham’s scheme during free agency. He was confident he could play in any system after blossoming with Carolina.

“That whole coaching staff taught me a lot about football,” Bradberry said. “[Rivera] was more than a coach. He talked to us about bringing your family around the facility and the importance of being a man and being there for your family. He did a lot for me off the field, too.”

Next up for Bradberry is likely Washington’s Terry McLaurin.

“He’s a young guy, but I definitely have a lot of respect for his game,” Bradberry said. “Explosive receiver, goes hard on every play, no matter what route is called, attacks the ball. We’ll definitely have our eyes open facing him.”

Good choice of words: Bradberry is doing plenty of eye-opening himself.

“I think I’ve still got some more room to grow,” Bradberry said. “I don’t think my game has increased a huge gap between this year and last year. I feel like I developed well each year while I was in Carolina, but you always want to take your game to another level.”

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Football USA NFL

Ryan Lewis emerging as force in Giants’ secondary

By force of habit, Ryan Lewis is still living out of his suitcase.

Playing for eight NFL teams in four seasons with stints lasting as short as two weeks offers a lesson, but Lewis can earn the right to unpack Sunday if he is able to stabilize a major weakness for the Giants. He likely will be the third different starter in five games at No. 2 cornerback — tested early and often by the Cowboys’ top-ranked passing attack.

“Being a defensive back in the NFL is no walk in the park,” Lewis told The Post. “One wrong step left or right, and you could get beat. You have to have a short memory. You can’t stop until the game is over. You can give up a couple deep balls and have the game-winning pick at the end. It’s all about your being your biggest fan and staying in it.”

Cut by Washington on Sept. 5, Lewis joined the Giants’ practice squad on Sept. 8, was elevated to the active roster Sept. 19, debuted Sept. 27 and took more than 42 snaps for benched starter Isaac Yiadom last Sunday.

The rapid ascension is the intersection of team need and familiarity because Lewis first learned a variant of this defense with the Patriots in 2017 and then played under Giants coordinator Patrick Graham when the two were with the Dolphins last season.

Ryan Lewis
Ryan LewisN.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

“I’ve always seen myself as a man-to-man corner,” Lewis said. “I feel comfortable pressing [receivers]. They keep the schemes real simple here so guys can learn quickly and execute. I’ve studied this defense inside-out for three years now, and it will allow me to just go out there and just play and not think too much.”

Lewis is the son of former Seahawks and Chiefs scouting executive Will Lewis, the nephew of former Giants defensive coordinator Tim Lewis (2004-06) and the cousin of “Monday Night Football” analyst Louis Riddick — the runner-up to be Giants general manager in 2018. That’s a lot of NFL knowledge in one family.

“My dad was [Riddick’s] mentor and Louis has taken on a little bit of that same role for me,” Lewis said. “He’s very insightful on things to do in the league and how you can separate yourself from the competition. But I’ve always been a sponge toward my dad. I even did a business-class project on how he does his job. It’s something I definitely want to do when I’m done playing.”

First things first: The Cowboys are averaging 407.8 passing yards per game and have three game-breaking receivers in Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. Dak Prescott has a 100.5 passer rating in eight career games against the Giants.

It’s a lot to ask of even an experienced cornerback.

“RyLew has been a hard worker since he got here,” safety Jabrill Peppers said. “He knows the nature of this league, and he honed in on his technique and fundamentals. We saw it in practice, so I’m happy that, when he got his number called, he performed.”

Giants defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson says it would be ideal to settle on one cornerback (rather than a rotation) playing opposite James Bradberry. The ship appears to have sailed for season-opening starter Corey Ballentine.

“Ryan showed a lot of positive things in terms of how he played on outside routes,” coach Joe Judge said. “We have to keep putting him in positions where he can really use his speed and some of his instincts to make plays for us.”

Lewis’ instincts should tell him to keep doing whatever he’s doing right now.

“I’ve gotten real comfortable living out of my suitcase, and my girlfriend doesn’t like that,” he joked. “It’s been a different type of career, but I’m living out my dream. If this is how it is, then looking back it’s going to be a crazy story.

“As soon as I got here, my focus was on helping the team win. I’ve been staying at home, grinding, watching film. Maybe when the season is over, I’ll unpack that suitcase.”

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Football USA

Fantasy football: Tight end position is emerging strength

While fantasy football owners continue to stress over the injuries to elite running backs and receivers, few realize the emerging strength from the tight end position.

Those who play daily fantasy football on FanDuel and Draft Kings are getting a better look at the depth of the position — as many of the top tight ends like Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Mark Andrews are playing in prime-time games and are unavailable for the Sunday main slate. This isn’t to say you need to be playing more DFS. It’s more an indictment of how this position should no longer be considered a throwaway in fantasy.

Maybe it’s the change at quarterback that has everyone nervous, but Noah Fant is a rising star in this league. He is fifth in the league at his position with 27 targets, fourth in receiving yards and has two touchdowns in four games. Of all positions in fantasy, tight end shows the least decline with a change at the quarterback position, as a number of backups lean on the short-passing game that features the position.

If the Titans ever get over their COVID-19 outbreak, you need to get yourself some shares of Jonnu Smith. Even with the impending return of wide receiver A.J. Brown, Smith sits second in the targets pecking order for this team. He and Ryan Tannehill have an on-field rapport that dates back to last season, and it was still evident during their first two games this season.

The depth at the position doesn’t end there. Jimmy Graham has found the Fountain of Youth in Chicago, Dalton Schultz is a featured target in a high-octane Dallas offense, and Mo Alie-Cox is becoming much more well-known outside of just Indianapolis.

Keep a close watch on this position moving forward. As the other positions thin out, you can find plenty of fantasy points here. No one ever said you couldn’t use a tight end in your flex, did they?

Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at  Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to for all your fantasy football advice.

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Sports USA

Emerging theory behind Gary Sanchez’s Yankees nightmare

Sandy Alomar spent two decades catching in the majors, so he has an understanding of the difficulties Gary Sanchez has faced this season in trying to adapt to a new stance behind the plate.

The results have been brutal, as Sanchez’s productivity at the plate plummeted this season and he was benched in favor of Kyle Higashioka with Gerrit Cole on the mound in Tuesday’s Game 1 of the AL Wild Card Series against the Indians in Cleveland.

“He changed his style of catching and that’s a process,’’ said Alomar, who is serving as Cleveland’s manager during the postseason while Terry Francona deals with health issues.

“He has one knee down now and that’s gonna take time in order to see results,” Alomar said. “He’s a big guy with a good arm. I don’t know if that position is gonna help him a lot.”

The 6-foot-5 Alomar would know, although he stressed he hasn’t seen much of Sanchez this season, since the Yankees and Indians didn’t play during the regular season and he’s been limited to watching Sanchez on video.

Gary Sanchez
Gary SanchezRobert Sabo

But he knows how much of an impact a defensive change can have on a catcher’s offense.

“Absolutely,’’ Alomar said. “If you don’t feel comfortable yet with the situation and you’re trying to improve, it can affect your offense also. Possibly it’s affecting him. I don’t know.”

He hoped not to find out, as even though Sanchez wasn’t in the Game 1 lineup, Alomar remained wary of the 27-year-old, recalling that Sanchez hit 34 homers a year ago.

“He has talent and a good bat,’’ Alomare said. “I’m happy he’s not in the lineup, even though the other guy [Higashioka] hits home runs.”

Aaron Boone and the Yankees made the move to Higashioka largely because of Gerrit Cole’s success pitching to Sanchez’s backup.

In four regula- season starts with Higashioka behind the plate, Cole had a 1.00 ERA in 27 innings, compared to a 3.91 ERA in 46 innings over eight outings pitching to Sanchez.

On Monday, Higashioka said it was “of course” difficult for Sanchez to not be in the Game 1 lineup, but Higashioka was confident Sanchez would recover from the disappointment.

“I know Gary and I know he’s extremely mentally tough,’’ Higashioka said. “If anything, it’s gonna spur him on and [he’ll] perform even better and get back to his normal self.”

It’s been a while since that’s been on display, as Sanchez finished a disappointing regular season by going 2-for-20 with no extra-base hits, three walks and seven strikeouts. And Sanchez is coming off a 2019 postseason in which he went just 4-for-31 with a homer, three walks and 16 strikeouts.

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Cricket IPL

MS Dhoni’s success gives extra motivation: Sanju Samson on emerging from place with ‘no cricketing history’

Ranchi is no Mumbai or Delhi when it comes to cricketing history. Seeing MS Dhoni come from a city not known for its cricket and dominate at the highest level is certainly a big motivation for people from such cities who are aspiring to achieve success at the international level, according to young wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson.

Sanju Samson, who hails from Kerala, a football-loving state, has managed to make heads turn across the globe with his natural ability.

25-year-old Samson, who is in the mix for the India wicketkeeper-role in limited-overs, has said MS Dhoni proved to be an inspiration right from his early days in international cricket. Samson’s comments come after Dhoni retired from international cricket on August 15.

“Yes, Dhoni bhai has inspired all of us from the day he came to play for India in the first match against Bangladesh and then scored that famous century against Pakistan,” Samson told Gulf News.

” His success provides extra motivation for me as he came from Ranchi to become one of the all time greats of the game while I hail from Kerala – both places no cricketing history,” he said.”

Dhoni will continue to represent Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL) but his absence from the international scene puts the spotlight on the likes of Samson and Rishabh Pant who are battling for spots in the senior national team.

I am heading in the right direction: Samson

Samson played for India in January 2020, 5 years after he made his international debut. The Rajasthan Royals wicketkeeper-batsman failed to impress in the opportunities he got during the home series against Sri Lanka and in the tour of New Zealand. With Rishabh Pant also flattering to deceive, KL Rahul sealed the wicketkeeper’s role in T20Is.

However, Samson believes he is headed in the right direction and doesn’t look to replace anyone in the senior national team.

”No, I don’t think of replacing anybody, all of us are trying to win matches for the country at the end of the day. I am just focusing on ultimately playing for my country,” Samson said.

“I have had a very good season in 2019 in domestic, India A and then for India. I have worked hard for the last 8-9 years in terms of my training, game and diet.

“At this point, I have a good 10 more years of cricket left in me and I will give it my best shot. I am headed in the right direction but have miles to go.”

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