The Olympic Council of Asia, which governs the games, reportedly balked at including bridge, which in the eyes of some is linked with card games such as poker, black jack — and hence, gambling.To be fair, bridge would be as out of place in a casino as bullfighting in Bhutan.The auditoriums set up for bridge are hushed, dotted with dozens of card tables with four players at each. At one session, curious photographers were given access for just five minutes, and then ushered away. Fans can watch the hands that are dealt — and how they are played — on large television screens filled with the red and black symbols for spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs.“The photographers really wouldn’t matter because the top players zone out these distractions,” Aaida Abu-Jaber, a player from Jordan told The Associated Press. “They are in their zone and focused and they don’t know what’s happening around them. They are just looking at their cards and thinking.”Abu-Jaber called it “athletics of the mind, rather than the body.”ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next In this Aug. 21, 2018, photo, spectators watch bridge match on a screen at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. The card game of bridge is being included for the first time in the Asian Games. At least two players are over 80. The main promoter of the sport at the games is 78-year-old Indonesian billionaire Michael Bambang Hartono. He is also playing. One player likened bridge to being the “athletics of the mind.” (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)JAKARTA, Indonesia — What’s left of Finton Lewis’ thinning hair is spiked and dyed an orange-red color.The 64-year-old Lewis says the haircut keeps him feeling younger on the outside, and playing the card game of bridge keeps his brain nimble on the inside.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES There’s no age limit, and no language barrier. Abu-Jaber said she’s played against dozens of nationalities — on-line and in-person. The game has a universal language everyone understands, driven by English-rooted words like “no trump, slam, pass”and so forth.“You can play with anybody, even if you can’t understand their language and they can’t understand yours,” she said.Though age is no problem, attracting a younger generation is.Asadullah Khan, who is playing for Pakistan, joked that many of the players have “no hair and protruding bellies. Most of us are smokers and losing our cognitive skills.”For the record, 54-year-old Khan has all his hair — gray hair and a gray mustache.“It’s going to be an extinct game if the younger generation doesn’t take it up,” he said. “The younger people are not enthusiastic about bridge, not excited about it unless it runs in the family.”Khan said attracting younger players might be easy since bridge offers sedentary thrills, perhaps like computer games.He argued that “defending a (card) hand well or making a special play” was just as exciting as serving an ace in tennis.He even pushed for inclusion in the Olympics, which seems unlikely.“It surely should be in the Olympics,” Khan said. “Getting exposure like this helps.” MOST READ Gov’t in no rush to rescue animals in Taal “I know I’m not as physically fit as most sports people are,” said Lewis, who is playing for India in the bridge competition at the Asian Games.Being fit doesn’t matter much in bridge, which is being included for the first time in the Asian Games. Fans like to talk it up as a “mind game” in the same realm as chess.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’Yang Kong Te of the Philippines is playing in the Asian Games at 85. Lee Hung Fong of Malaysia is 81. Indonesian billionaire Michael Bambang Hartono is a mere 78, and the big reason why bridge is on the schedule. His reported net worth in about $17 billion, a fortune made in tobacco, banking, and communications.To be fair, the median age of the field is about 50, which is still generations away from 9-year-old Indonesian skateboarder Aliqqa Novvery — the youngest of the more than 11,000 competitors in the Asian Games. 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Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is urging officials of the various Government agencies, who last week received a circular from the Finance Ministry to submit their 2020 Budget proposals, to ignore the document.“Just ignore them, ignore the thing … I think they should just go through the perfunctory exercise,” Jagdeo stated during a press conference last week.However, he did recognise that these public servants were being pressured into going along with the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government’s illegal acts.“It’s not the public servants we gotta go after because they are being pressured. We should go after the Director of the Office of Budget (at the Finance Ministry) for sending out a circular like this and the Treasury Secretary,” the Opposition Leader noted.Asked whether any action would be taken against those officials who initiated the process, Jagdeo said, “They would have to say why they’re not opposed to this issue (and) why they sent out a circular of that nature. Unless, their hoping it would be helpful to us at the public level if the Government changes.”However, the Opposition Leader made it clear that should the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) get into office, it would not start with a budget circular such as the one sent out by the Finance Ministry. Instead, he noted that the Party would seek to remove excess expenditure in order to save taxpayers’ money.“The first PPP Government would immediately start from zero. Every expenditure made by this (coalition) Government will be reviewed and we will cut the excesses. The ministerial travels, the rental of buildings, the dietary, a whole range… We believe we can save a good $20-$30 billion and pass it on back to people through lower taxes and restoration of the benefits like the $10,000 grants and so on. So we’re not gonna work with Jordan’s framework for no budget,” Jagdeo contended.Despite affirmation that the December No-Confidence Motion (NCM) against the coalition Government was validly passed and the fact that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has said the Administration should be in caretaker mode, preparations have commenced for 2020’s Budget.In a move that is in implicit violation of the CCJ’s ruling, the leaked circular, dated June 21, 2019, instructs department heads, Permanent Secretaries, regional executives and heads of constitutional agencies to make submissions to the Ministry and complete aspects of Budget preparations, with a deadline of August 7, 2019 to hand in their Budget proposals.The Budget agencies were given between August 19 and September 27, 2019 to consult with the Ministry on their submissions. October 10 was named as the date to present the constitutional agencies’ budgets to the National Assembly.The circular, which was signed by the Ministry’s Finance Secretary, Michael Joseph, also named November 25, 2019 as the date to present the overall budget in the National Assembly. Affixing his signature to the circular, Joseph noted in the correspondence that it was penned under the delegated authority of the Finance Minister, pursuant to Section 13 of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act.The CCJ ruled on June 18 that the Government was defeated by a vote of no confidence, meaning early elections must be called. But just three days later, the Finance Ministry issued the circular for Budget debate in November, which is beyond the proposed date for new elections as proposed by the Opposition in a concession to the exigencies of the appeal by the Government to the NCM’s passage.According to Jagdeo, this is a recent move in a series of acts by the coalition Government and its Ministers to defy the Trinidad-based regional court’s ruling.“This is what we see manifested every single day – either it’s “forget the decision of the court” like some of them said – “we’re going along with our own business, forget what the Constitution says”, etc,” the Opposition Leader noted.In several parliamentary democracies, such as New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan, etc, there are explicit “Caretaker Conventions” and in those that have not, the practice is to follow the precedents in these jurisdictions. A fundamental tenet in these conventions is that only routine functions of the Government must be maintained and there can be no initiative that will bind any new incoming Government to policies with which they do not agree.Caretaker ConventionsThere is a convention on Caretaker Governments used in New Zealand. Section 6.21 states that “On occasion, it is necessary for a Government to remain in office for a period on an interim basis, when it has lost the confidence of the House, or (after an election) until a new ministry is appointed following the Government formation process”.It continues that “during such periods, the incumbent Government is still the lawful executive authority, with all the powers and responsibilities that go with executive office. However, Governments in this situation have traditionally constrained their actions until the political situation is resolved, in accordance with what is known as the convention on Caretaker Government”.