Strangely for the usually staid European Parliament, the session began with a burst of laughter. Then there was laughter during the sitting. And it finished with an amusing digression on the subject of gardening.Thus, Lord Jonathan Hill had brought with him to Brussels a sample of the British humour. Hill will now take over as the EU commissioner to lead the EU’s new DG for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets.The parliamentary session – a repeat vetting of the UK prime minister David Cameron’s nominee – looked as if it could open on a sour note. The previous week, MEPs in the Economic and Monetary Affairs committee failed to clear him.“It was as if the commissioner designate were a disgraced schoolboy being put on detention”, is how a German MEP described the situation. Not only had Hill had past links with the City of London (partly blamed for the financial crisis), but he also appeared to be weak on financial law. However, Hill kicked off his opening remarks with the words that he was “happy to be back”, but then immediately joked: “But I didn’t expect to be welcomed back so soon!” His wit got him copious laughter and even applause. Immediately, it was as if the temperature in the Brussels debating chamber shot up from pretty cold to pretty warm.Hence, Hill succeeded in carrying his audience (at least a lot of it) with him through his next cheerily expressed “scenario” of what he’d like to see at the end of his mandate. It was a glowing vision of sunny uplands, indeed. It included a completion of the banking union and went on to visualise contented EU citizens happy to be experiencing lower costs for life insurance and pensions.Furthermore, implementation of a European Capital Market Union would see to the successful funding of SMEs. This, in turn, would contribute to large-scale employment. Also, Hill predicted, there would be no retreat by the UK from the EU. Applause!Nevertheless, one MEP did sneer. He mocked the 2019 scenario as a “gloriously rosy picture”. As a UKIP member, he particularly pointed the finger at the UK staying in the EU.In contrast, there was a specific tribute paid by another of Hill’s interrogators for his British sense of humour. This was unlikely, in that she is a Socialist – that is, on the other side of the fence from Hill, and French! However, Pervenche Berès is herself no stranger to humour. She had once, as a somewhat barbed joke, presented a predecessor of Hill with a Barbie Doll horse. The doll had big blue eyes and a long mane of fine hair. The ceremonial presentation, during another committee session, was to reprimand the commissioner for skipping a meeting, for the sake of attending Cheltenham races.Later, for Hill, came a probing question on how often he met with David Cameron. There was laughter when Hill said he did not attend the “Chipping Norton does” (the British Chipping Norton “set” is an elite group of media, political and show-business acquaintances based on a market town in Oxfordshire).Finally came the gardening. As he was known as a keen gardener, what seeds should be sown when he gets into office, an MEP queried? Whoomph! Hill was now on serious ground. He advised, authoritatively, that, at this time of the year, one does not normally plant seeds. One digs. One cuts back unwanted growth. One applies manure, to achieve sound growth in season. The MEPs laughed. And Hill cleared through his grilling. He is expected to enter office on 1 November.
New Delhi: Mumbai Indians changed the entire scenario regarding the playoff race by beating Chennai Super Kings. Their 46-run win has also dented Chennai Super Kings’ net run-rate and it has also ensured that Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals are on the brink of elimination. Sunrisers Hyderabad now holds the key in the playoff race and a win against Rajasthan Royals will knock Steve Smith’s side out while for the bottom three teams, a loss in either of the games knocks them out. Here is what each team must do in order to seal a spot in the playoffs.Chennai Super KingsPosition: 1P – 12, W – 8, L – 4, Points – 16Remaining games: vs Delhi Capitals (May 1), vs Kings XI Punjab (May 5)What they must do: MS Dhoni’s absence hurt Chennai Super Kings against Mumbai Indians and their 46-run loss has dented their net run-rate as well. A loss in their last two games and big wins for Sunrisers Hyderabad could hurt their playoff chances.RELATEDMumbai IndiansPosition: 2P – 11, W- 7, L-4, Points: 14Remaining games: vs Kolkata Knight Riders (April 28), vs Sunrisers Hyderabad (May 2), vs Kolkata Knight Riders (May 5)What they must do: Mumbai Indians have effectively changed the entire complexion of the playoff race with their win against Chennai Super Kings. A win in either of their last three games will seal a playoff spot for them. For the bottom ranked teams, a loss in either game will result in their elimination.Delhi CapitalsPosition: 3P -11, W – 7, L – 4, Points – 14Remaining games: vs Royal Challengers Bangalore (April 28), vs Chennai Super Kings (May 1), vs Rajasthan Royals (May 4)What they must do: A win for Delhi Capitals against Royal Challengers Bangalore will not only knock Virat Kohli’s side, but they can also seal their playoff spot. If Delhi Capitals lose their remaining games and Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad win their remaining games, then they can be eliminated.Sunrisers HyderabadPosition: 4P -10, W – 5, L – 5, Points: 10Remaining games: vs Rajasthan Royals (April 27), vs Kings XI Punjab (April 29), vs Mumbai Indians (May 2), vs Royal Challengers Bangalore (May 4)What they must do: If Sunrisers Hyderabad wins against Rajasthan Royals, they eliminate Steve Smith’s side from the tournament. They must win three out of four encounters in order to stay in contention. If they lose more than one game, their chances of reaching the last four will take a big hit.Kings XI PunjabPosition: 5P – 11, W – 5, L – 6, Points: 10Remaining games: vs Sunrisers Hyderabad (April 29), vs Kolkata Knight Riders (May 3), vs Chennai Super Kings (May 5)What they must do: Their next game against Sunrisers Hyderabad is vital. A loss will dent their prospects in a big way. They have to win all their three games. A loss in one game could mean that Kings XI Punjab will have to rely on other results, notably Delhi Capitals and Mumbai Indians losing more than two games each.Kolkata Knight RidersPosition: 6P – 11, W – 4, L – 7, Points: 8Remaining games: vs Mumbai Indians (April 29), vs Kings XI Punjab (May 3), vs Mumbai Indians (May 5)What they must do: With their sixth straight loss, Kolkata Knight Riders are in a do-or-die situation. A loss against Mumbai Indians will eliminate them and they will be hoping to snap their losing streak. However, their poor record against Mumbai Indians makes their task even harder.Rajasthan RoyalsPosition: 7P – 11, W – 4, L – 7, Points: 8Remaining games: vs Sunrisers Hyderabad (April 27), vs Royal Challengers Bangalore (April 30), vs Delhi Capitals (May 4)What they must do: Rajasthan Royals have kept their playoff hopes alive with a win against Kolkata Knight Riders. However, they will be hoping Royal Challengers Bangalore and either of Kings XI Punjab or Sunrisers Hyderabad lose their remaining games in order to seal a spot in the top four.Royal Challengers BangalorePosition: 8P – 11, W – 4, L – 7, Points: 8Remaining games: vs Delhi Capitals (April 28), vs Rajasthan Royals (April 30), vs Sunrisers Hyderabad (May 4)What they must do: A loss in either game and they will be eliminated from the playoffs. If they win all their remaining games, they will have to hope Sunrisers Hyderabad, Mumbai Indians, Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders lose their remaining games. For all the Latest Sports News News, Indian Premier League News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. highlights Mumbai Indians have moved to second spot in the points table.Chennai Super Kings are still on top in the points table.Sunrisers Hyderabad can eliminate Rajasthan Royals from the playoff race.