Super tennis coach Nick Bollettieri is no more

Nick Bollettieri, who became one of the world’s most renowned tennis coaches despite having never played the sport professionally, working with stars including Andre Agassi, Maria Sharapova and Venus and Serena Williams while pioneering the concept of a live-in tennis academy for promising young players, died on December 4 at his home in Bradenton, Florida. He was 91.

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Nick Bollettieri, who became one of the world’s most renowned tennis coaches despite having never played the sport professionally, working with stars including Andre Agassi, Maria Sharapova and Venus and Serena Williams while pioneering the concept of a live-in tennis academy for promising young players, died on December 4 at his home in Bradenton, Florida. He was 91.

A pioneering mentor who coached 10 world number ones, he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2014. His death was announced by IMG Academy, which evolved out of the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy that he founded in Florida in 1978. The school did not cite a cause.

Nicholas James Bollettieri was born in Pelham, N.Y., a few miles north of the Bronx, on July 31, 1931. Both parents were Italian immigrants, his mother a homemaker and his father a pharmacist who owned his own shop.

Lalu’s kidney transplant successful in Singapore
RJD president Lalu Prasad’s kidney transplant surgery in Singapore was successful, his son and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav said. Yadav said his father, as well as elder sister Rohini Acharya, who donated one of her kidneys to the 74-year-old, were fine.

Ahead of the surgery Acharya took to Twitter to share pictures with her father and said, “Ready to rock and roll. Wish me good luck.”

Yadav, who is out on bail, has been jailed for his involvement in fodder cases and has been hospitalised several times in Delhi and Ranchi for treatment.

“After Papa’s kidney transplant operation was successful, he was shifted from the operation theatre to ICU. My sister and donor Rohini Acharya and RJD National President (Lalu Yadav) both are healthy. Thank you for your prayers and good wishes,” Yadav said in a tweet in Hindi.

Dominique Lapierre passes away at 91
The world and , especially India, lost another great writer on December 4: Dominique Lapierre, the author of famous books Freedon at Midnight and City of Joy, the latter a fabled descriptive of a rickshaw puller in the city of Calcutta (now Kolkata).  He was 91.

His wife Dominique Conchon-Lapierre has been quoted in the newspaper Var-Matin, saying: “At 91, he died of old age at peace and serene since Dominique is no longer suffering.”

Even though Lapierre was from France, he was passionate about India, something that was reflected in his 1985-work City of Joy — based on the hardships of a rickshaw puller in Kolkata — that turned out to be a massive success. It was also adapted for a movie in 1992 which starred Patrick Swayze and was directed by Roland Joffe.

The author contributed his earnings for patients suffering from tuberculosis and leprosy. In one of his interviews in 2005, he recollected that his earnings and contributions from readers made it “possible to cure a million tuberculosis patients in 24 years (and) to care for 9,000 children with leprosy.”

Born on July 30, 1931 in Chatelaillon, Lapierre’s works, in collaboration with the American writer Larry Collins, became bestsellers such that they sold about 50 million copies of the six books he wrote.

His most popular work was Is Paris Burning? that was published in 1965 and traced the events leading up to 1944’s time period when Nazi Germany seized their control of Paris. It eventually was adapted for the big screen by Francis Ford Coppola and Gore Vidal. Other works by the duo included Or I’ll Dress You in Mourning (1968), O Jerusalem (1972),  The Fifth Horseman (1980), and Is New York Burning?

The author was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award, in 200

Iran abolishes morality police after months of protests
Iran has abolished its controversial morality police following months of protests set off by the death of a young woman who was being held by the force for supposedly violating the country’s strict Islamic dress laws.

The morality police “was abolished by the same authorities who installed it,” the statement by attorney general Mohammad Javad Montazeri said, according to state media reports. But he went on to suggest that the judiciary would still enforce restrictions on “social behaviour”. He also indicated that the authorities were reviewing the head scarf regulations.

But it was not clear whether the authorities planned to relax the hijab law, which remained in force. There was, however, no confirmation of the closure from the interior ministry which is in charge of the morality police, and Iranian state media said Montazeri was not responsible for overseeing the force.