|Subhaditya Newsweek (32) Pictures in Animated Form|
|Subhaditya news Week (32) Collage|
Science News This Week:
|Science News Channel|
1) World Premiere of Muscle and Nerve Controlled Arm Prosthesis:
|World Premiere of Muscle and Nerve Controlled Arm Prosthesis|
Electrodes have been permanently implanted in nerves and muscles of an amputee to directly control an arm prosthesis, for the first time. The result allows natural control of an advanced robotic prosthesis, similarly to the motions of a natural limb.
A surgical team led by Dr Rickard Brånemark, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, has carried out the first operation of its kind, where neuro muscular electrodes have been permanently implanted in an amputee. The operation was possible thanks to new advanced technology developed by Max Ortiz Catalan, supervised by Rickard Brånemark at Sahlgrenska University Hospital and Bo Håkansson at Chalmers University of Technology.
"The new technology is a major breakthrough that has many advantages over current technology, which provides very limited functionality to patients with missing limbs," says Rickard Brånemark. Big challenges There have been two major issues on the advancement of robotic prostheses:
1) how to firmly attach an artificial limb to the human body;
2) how to intuitively and efficiently control the prosthesis in order to be truly useful and regain lost functionality.
"This technology solves both these problems by combining a bone anchored prosthesis with implanted electrodes," said Rickard Brånemark, who along with his team has developed a pioneering implant system called Opra, Osseointegrated Prostheses for the Rehabilitation of Amputees.
A titanium screw, so-called osseointegrated implant, is used to anchor the prosthesis directly to the stump, which provides many advantages over a traditionally used socket prosthesis."It allows complete degree of motion for the patient, fewer skin related problems and a more natural feeling that the prosthesis is part of the body. Overall, it brings better quality of life to people who are amputees," says Rickard Brånemark.
How it works Presently, robotic prostheses rely on electrodes over the skin to pick up the muscles electrical activity to drive few actions by the prosthesis. The problem with this approach is that normally only two functions are regained out of the tens of different movements an able-body is capable of. By using implanted electrodes, more signals can be retrieved, and therefore control of more movements is possible. Furthermore, it is also possible to provide the patient with natural perception, or "feeling," through neural stimulation."We believe that implanted electrodes, together with a long-term stable human-machine interface provided by the osseointegrated implant, is a breakthrough that will pave the way for a new era in limb replacement," says Rickard Brånemark.
The patient The first patient has recently been treated with this technology, and the first tests gave excellent results. The patient, a previous user of a robotic hand, reported major difficulties in operating that device in cold and hot environments and interference from shoulder muscles. These issues have now disappeared, thanks to the new system, and the patient has now reported that almost no effort is required to generate control signals. Moreover, tests have shown that more movements may be performed in a coordinated way, and that several movements can be performed simultaneously."The next step will be to test electrical stimulation of nerves to see if the patient can sense environmental stimuli, that is, get an artificial sensation. The ultimate goal is to make a more natural way to replace a lost limb, to improve the quality of life for people with amputations," says Rickard Brånemark.
2) NASA and JPL Contribute to European Jupiter Mission:
|NASA and JPL Contribute to European Jupiter Mission|
NASA has selected key contributions to a 2022 European Space Agency (ESA) mission that will study Jupiter and three of its largest moons in unprecedented detail. The moons are thought to harbor vast water oceans beneath their icy surfaces.
NASA's contribution will consist of one U.S.-led science instrument and hardware for two European instruments to fly on ESA's Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) mission. Jeffrey Plaut of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., will be the U.S. lead for the Radar for Icy Moon Exploration experiment. The radar experiment's principal investigator is Lorenzo Bruzzone of Universita degli Studi di Trento in Italy.
Under the lead of Bruzzone and the Italian Space Agency, JPL will provide the transmitter and receiver hardware for a radar sounder designed to penetrate the icy crust of Jupiter's moons Europa, Ganymede and Callisto to a depth of about 5 miles (9 kilometers). This will allow scientists to see for the first time the underground structure of these tectonically complex and unique icy worlds.
JUICE will carry 11 experiments developed by scientific teams from 15 European countries, the United States and Japan.
The spacecraft will orbit Jupiter for three years and travel past Callisto and Europa multiple times, then orbit Ganymede, a moon larger than the planet Mercury. JUICE will conduct the first thorough exploration of Jupiter since NASA's Galileo mission from 1989-2003.
By studying the Jupiter system, JUICE will look to learn more about the formation and evolution of potentially habitable worlds in our solar system and beyond.
"NASA is thrilled to collaborate with ESA on this exciting mission to explore Jupiter and its icy moons," said John Grunsfeld, NASA's associate administrator for science in Washington. "Working together with ESA and our other international partners is key to enabling future scientific progress in our quest to understand the cosmos."
The solar-powered spacecraft will carry cameras and spectrometers, a laser altimeter and an ice-penetrating radar instrument. The mission also will carry a magnetometer, plasma and particle monitors, and radio science hardware. The spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at the Jupiter system in 2030.
"The selection of JUICE's instruments is a key milestone in ESA's flagship mission to the outer solar system, which represents an unprecedented opportunity to showcase leading European technological and scientific expertise," said Alvaro Gimenez Canete, ESA's director of science and robotic exploration.
NASA invited researchers in 2012 to submit proposals for NASA-provided instruments for the mission. Nine were reviewed, with one selected to fly. NASA agreed to provide critical hardware for two of the 10 selected European-led instruments. NASA's total contribution to the JUICE mission is $100 million for design, development and operation of the instruments through 2033.
In addition to the radar team and instrument, the NASA contributions are:
Ultraviolet Spectrometer: The principal investigator is Randy Gladstone of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. This spectrometer will acquire images to explore the surfaces and atmospheres of Jupiter's icy moons and how they interact with the Jupiter environment. The instrument also will determine how Jupiter's upper atmosphere interacts with its lower atmosphere below, and the ionosphere and magnetosphere above. The instrument will provide images of the aurora on Jupiter and Ganymede.
Particle Environment Package: The principal investigator is Stas Barabash of the Swedish Institute of Space Physics. The U.S. lead is Pontus Brandt of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md. Under the lead of Barabash and the Swedish National Space Board, APL will provide instruments to this suite to measure the neutral material and plasma that are accelerated and heated to extreme levels in Jupiter's fierce and complex magnetic environment.
3) ‘Stressed’ Bacteria Become Resistant to Antibiotics:
|‘Stressed’ Bacteria Become Resistant to Antibiotics:|
Bacteria become resistant to antibiotics when stressed, finds research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology. In particular E. coli grown at high temperatures become resistant to rifampicin.
It is generally thought that antibiotic resistance is costly to maintain, for example mutations which reduce antibiotic uptake also restrict the amount of nutrients entering the cell. Consequently in the absence of antibiotics non-resistant bacteria will out-compete the resistant ones. However researchers from UC Irvine and Faculté de Médicine Denis Diderot have discovered that by putting bacteria under stress, by growing them at a high temperature, the bacteria could spontaneously develop resistance to the antibiotic rifampicin.
The mutations responsible for rifampicin resistance had different effects in other strains of E coli. In each type of bacteria tested the mutated subunit of the RNA polymerase rpoB allowed them to grow in the presence of rifampicin, but unlike the original test strain they did not necessarily have a growth advantage at high temperature.
Dr Olivier Tenaillon who led this study commented, "Our study shows that antibiotic resistance can occur even in the absence of antibiotics and that, depending on the type of bacteria, and growth conditions, rather than being costly to maintain can be highly beneficial. Given that rifampicin is used to treat serious bacterial infections such as tuberculosis, leprosy, Legionnaire's disease, and for prophylaxis in cases of meningococcal meningitis, this development has important implications for public health."
These bacteria provide strong evidence that the evolution of antibiotic resistance is governed by two properties of genes, pleiotropy and epistasis. Dr Arjan de Visser from Wageningen University explained, "Pleiotropy describes how the antibiotic resistance mutations affect other functions, hence their fate in other environments. Epistasis describes how well different mutations combine in their effect on resistance, and therefore determines which mutational pathway will be preferred by evolution when several mutations are needed for full resistance."
4) Particle Physics Research Sheds New Light On Possible 'Fifth Force of Nature':
|Particle Physics Research Sheds New Light On Possible 'Fifth Force of Nature'|
In a breakthrough for the field of particle physics, Professor of Physics Larry Hunter and colleagues at Amherst College and The University of Texas at Austin have established new limits on what scientists call "long-range spin-spin interactions" between atomic particles. These interactions have been proposed by theoretical physicists but have not yet been seen. Their observation would constitute the discovery of a "fifth force of nature" (in addition to the four known fundamental forces: gravity, weak, strong and electromagnetic) and would suggest the existence of new particles, beyond those presently described by the Standard Model of particle physics.
The new limits were established by considering the interaction between the spins of laboratory fermions (electrons, neutrons and protons) and the spins of the electrons within Earth. To make this study possible, the authors created the first comprehensive map of electron polarization within Earth induced by the planet's geomagnetic field.Hunter -- along with emeritus Amherst physics professor Joel Gordon; postdoctoral fellow Stephen Peck; student researcher Daniel Ang '15; and Jung-Fu "Afu" Lin, associate professor of geosciences at UT Austin -- co-authored a paper about their work that appears in this week's issue of the journal Science. The highly interdisciplinary research relies on geophysics, atomic physics, particle physics, mineral physics, solid-state physics and nuclear physics to reach its conclusions.
The paper describes how the team combined a model of Earth's interior with a precise map of the planet's geomagnetic field to produce a map of the magnitude and direction of electron spins throughout Earth. Their model was based in part on insights gained from Lin's studies of spin transitions at the high temperatures and pressures of Earth's interior.Every fundamental particle (every electron, neutron and proton, to be specific), explained Hunter, has the intrinsic atomic property of "spin." Spin can be thought of as a vector -- an arrow that points in a particular direction. Like all matter, Earth and its mantle -- a thick geological layer sandwiched between the thin outer crust and the central core -- are made of atoms. The atoms are themselves made up of electrons, neutrons and protons that have spin. Earth's magnetic field causes some of the electrons in the mantle's minerals to become slightly spin-polarized, meaning the directions in which their spins point are no longer completely random, but have some net orientation.
Earlier experiments, including one in Hunter's laboratory, explored whether their laboratory spins prefer to point in a particular direction. "We know, for example, that a magnetic dipole has a lower energy when it is oriented parallel to the geomagnetic field and it lines up with this particular direction -- that is how a compass works," he explained. "Our experiments removed this magnetic interaction and looked to see if there might be some other interaction that would orient our experimental spins. One interpretation of this 'other' interaction is that it could be a long-range interaction between the spins in our apparatus, and the electron spins within the Earth, that have been aligned by the geomagnetic field. This is the long-range spin-spin interaction we are looking for."
So far, no experiment has been able to detect any such interaction. But in Hunter's paper, the researchers describe how they were able to infer that such so-called spin-spin forces, if they exist, must be incredibly weak -- as much as a million times weaker than the gravitational attraction between the particles. At this level, the experiments can constrain "torsion gravity" -- a proposed theoretical extension of Einstein's Theory of General Relativity. Given the high sensitivity of the technique Hunter and his team used, it may provide a useful path for future experiments that will refine the search for such a fifth force. If a long-range spin-spin force is found, it not only would revolutionize particle physics but might eventually provide geophysicists with a new tool that would allow them to directly study the spin-polarized electrons within Earth.
"If the long-range spin-spin interactions are discovered in future experiments, geoscientists can eventually use such information to reliably understand the geochemistry and geophysics of the planet's interior," said Lin.Possible future discoveries aside, Hunter said that he was pleased that this particular project enabled him to work with Lin. "When I began investigating spin transitions in the mantle, all of the literature led to him," he explained. "I was thrilled that he was interested in the project and willing to sign on as a collaborator. He has been a good teacher and has had enormous patience with my ignorance about geophysics. It has been a very fruitful collaboration."
5) Floral Signs Go Electric: Bumblebees Find and Distinguish Electric Signals from Flowers:
|Floral Signs Go Electric: Bumblebees Find and Distinguish Electric Signals from Flowers|
Flowers' methods of communicating are at least as sophisticated as any devised by an advertising agency, according to a new study, published Feb. 21 in Science Express by researchers from the University of Bristol. However, for any advertisement to be successful, it has to reach, and be perceived by, its target audience. The research shows for the first time that pollinators such as bumblebees are able to find and distinguish electric signals given out by flowers.
Flowers often produce bright colours, patterns and enticing fragrances to attract their pollinators. Researchers at Bristol's School of Biological Sciences, led by Professor Daniel Robert, found that flowers also have their equivalent of a neon sign -- patterns of electrical signals that can communicate information to the insect pollinator. These electrical signals can work in concert with the flower's other attractive signals and enhance floral advertising power.
Plants are usually charged negatively and emit weak electric fields. On their side, bees acquire a positive charge as they fly through the air. No spark is produced as a charged bee approaches a charged flower, but a small electric force builds up that can potentially convey information.
By placing electrodes in the stems of petunias, the researchers showed that when a bee lands, the flower's potential changes and remains so for several minutes. Could this be a way by which flowers tell bees another bee has recently been visiting? To their surprise, the researchers discovered that bumblebees can detect and distinguish between different floral electric fields.
Also, the researchers found that when bees were given a learning test, they were faster at learning the difference between two colours when electric signals were also available.How then do bees detect electric fields? This is not yet known, although the researchers speculate that hairy bumblebees bristle up under the electrostatic force, just like one's hair in front of an old television screen.
The discovery of such electric detection has opened up a whole new understanding of insect perception and flower communication.Dr Heather Whitney, a co-author of the study said: "This novel communication channel reveals how flowers can potentially inform their pollinators about the honest status of their precious nectar and pollen reserves."Professor Robert said: "The last thing a flower wants is to attract a bee and then fail to provide nectar: a lesson in honest advertising since bees are good learners and would soon lose interest in such an unrewarding flower."The co-evolution between flowers and bees has a long and beneficial history, so perhaps it's not entirely surprising that we are still discovering today how remarkably sophisticated their communication is."
6) Protein 'Passport' Helps Nanoparticles Get Past Immune System:
|Protein 'Passport' Helps Nanoparticles Get Past Immune System|
The body's immune system exists to identify and destroy foreign objects, whether they are bacteria, viruses, flecks of dirt or splinters. Unfortunately, nanoparticles designed to deliver drugs, and implanted devices like pacemakers or artificial joints, are just as foreign and subject to the same response.
Now, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science and Penn's Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics have figured out a way to provide a "passport" for such therapeutic devices, enabling them to get past the body's security system.
The research was conducted by professor Dennis Discher, graduate students Pia Rodriguez, Takamasa Harada, David Christian and Richard K. Tsai and postdoctoral fellow Diego Pantano of the Molecular and Cell Biophysics Lab in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Penn.
It was published in the journal Science."From your body's perspective," Rodriguez said, "an arrowhead a thousand years ago and a pacemaker today are treated the same -- as a foreign invader."We'd really like things like pacemakers, sutures and drug-delivery vehicles to not cause an inflammatory response from the innate immune system."the innate immune system attacks foreign bodies in a general way. Unlike the learned response of the adaptive immune system, which includes the targeted antibodies that are formed after a vaccination, the innate immune system tries to destroy everything it doesn't recognize as being part of the body.
This response has many cellular components, including macrophages -- literally "big eaters" -- that find, engulf and destroy invaders. Proteins in blood serum work in tandem with macrophages; they adhere to objects in the blood stream and draw macrophages' attention. If the macrophage determines these proteins are stuck to a foreign invader, they will eat it or signal other macrophages to form a barrier around it.Drug-delivery nanoparticles naturally trigger this response, so researchers' earlier attempts to circumvent it involved coating the particles with polymer "brushes." These brushes stick out from the nanoparticle and attempt to physically block various blood serum proteins from sticking to its surface.
However, these brushes only slow down the macrophage-signaling proteins, so Discher and colleagues tried a different approach: Convincing the macrophages that the nanoparticles were part of the body and shouldn't be cleared.In 2008, Discher's group showed that the human protein CD47, found on almost all mammalian cell membranes, binds to a macrophage receptor known as SIRPa in humans. Like a patrolling border guard inspecting a passport, if a macrophage's SIRPa binds to a cell's CD47, it tells the macrophage that the cell isn't an invader and should be allowed to proceed on."There may be other molecules that help quell the macrophage response," Discher said. "But human CD47 is clearly one that says, 'Don't eat me'."
Since the publication of that study, other researchers determined the combined structure of CD47 and SIRPa together. Using this information, Discher's group was able to computationally design the smallest sequence of amino acids that would act like CD47. This "minimal peptide" would have to fold and fit well enough into the receptor of SIRPa to serve as a valid passport.
After chemically synthesizing this minimal peptide, Discher's team attached it to conventional nanoparticles that could be used in a variety of experiments."Now, anyone can make the peptide and put it on whatever they want," Rodriguez said
The research team's experiments used a mouse model to demonstrate better imaging of tumors and as well as improved efficacy of an anti-cancer drug-delivery particle.As this minimal peptide might one day be attached to a wide range of drug-delivery vehicles, the researchers also attached antibodies of the type that could be used in targeting cancer cells or other kinds of diseased tissue. Beyond a proof of concept for therapeutics, these antibodies also served to attract the macrophages' attention and ensure the minimal peptide's passport was being checked and approved.
"We're showing that the peptide actually does inhibit the macrophage's response," Discher said. "We force the interaction and then overwhelm it."The test of this minimal peptide's efficacy was in mice that were genetically modified so their macophages had SIRPa receptors similar to the human version. The researchers injected two kinds of nanoparticles -- ones carrying the peptide passport and ones without -- and then measured how fast the mice's immune systems cleared them.
"We used different fluorescent dyes on the two kinds of nanoparticles, so we could take blood samples every 10 minutes and measure how many particles of each kind were left using flow cytometry," Rodriguez said. "We injected the two particles in a 1-to-1 ratio and 20-30 minutes later, there were up to four times as many particles with the peptide left."Even giving therapeutic nanoparticles an additional half-hour before they are eaten by macrophages could be a major boon for treatments. Such nanoparticles might need to make a few trips through the macrophage-heavy spleen and liver to find their targets, but they shouldn't stay in the body indefinitely. Other combinations of exterior proteins might be appropriate for more permanent devices, such as pacemaker leads, enabling them to hide from the immune system for longer periods of time.
|Movie News Channel|
Movie Release This Week:
In the fast-paced action thriller, Dwayne Johnson stars as a father whose teenage son is wrongly accused of a drug distribution crime and is looking at a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years. Desperate and determined to rescue his son at all costs, he makes a deal with the U.S. attorney to work as an undercover informant and infiltrate a drug cartel on a dangerous mission -- risking everything, including his family and his own life.
In a misguided attempt to protect his family and pay back gambling debts to the local Mobster, Jimbo robs a fish market, which is coincidentally owned by the same Mobster. On the run, Jimbo is cornered in a local curio shop, where he takes hostage an assortment of colorful characters, including Maguire, who may be his illegitimate father. Surrounded by the Police, the SAS, and the Mobster's crew, the young man must find a way out of his precarious predicament with the help of his oddball captives.
Tells the turbulent story of Antonio Márez (Luke Ganalon), a young boy growing up in New Mexico during World War II. When Ultima (Miriam Colon), a mysterious healer comes to live with his family, she introduces Antonio to the power of the spiritual world. A strong woman with a great understanding of life, Ultima encourages Antonio who begins to question his strict upbringing. Through a series of mysterious and at times terrifying events, Antonio must grapple with questions about the nature of divinity and his own destiny.
As husband and wife Daniel and Lacey Barret witness an escalating series of disturbing events involving their family, their safe and peaceful home quickly unravels. When it becomes clear that the Barret family is being targeted by an unimaginably terrifying and deadly force, Daniel and Lacey take matters in their own hands to solve the mystery of what is after their family.
Best friends Ishaan, Omi and Govind – young, ambitious and restless – are trying to make a mark in the India of the early 2000’s. These are exciting times – a new millennium has just dawned, India’s a nuclear power and ostensibly shining – a perfect place for the 3 Ahmedabad boys to start a business that could be their ticket to fame and riches. In a country where cricket is religion, they hit upon a brilliant plan – to start a training academy that could produce India’s next sporting superstars! What follows is without doubt the greatest adventure of their lives, as they attempt to navigate the big hurdles in the path of fulfilling their dreams.
All Tommy Connolan has to do is deliver a "Package" to a rival crime lord, nicknamed 'The German'. It seems like a routine job, until another gang tries to hijack the precious cargo and Tommy has to fight every inch of the way to deliver it safely. The problem is, the "Package" isn't what Tommy was led to believe, and now he's in even deeper than he ever thought possible.
1) Hyderabad blasts: Ammonium Nitrate used in bombs:
|two blasts rocked Hyderabad's busy Dilsukh Nagar area, reports indicate ammonium nitrate, a small quantity of explosives and iron nails were used in the bombs|
A day after two blasts rocked Hyderabad's busy Dilsukh Nagar area, reports indicate ammonium nitrate, a small quantity of explosives and iron nails were used in the bombs.
Initial reports on Friday copper wires used to tie several pieces of the bombs together, which were packed in aluminium containers.
It is also speculated a delayed timer was used for detonating the bombs used in the blasts. The delayed timer provides ample time for the bomb-planter to escape after placing the bomb.
Police on Friday gathered vital clues in the devastating bomb attacks in Hyderabad and also announced rewards for anyone providing information about the suspects seen in Dilsukh Nagar where the evening rush hour bombings on Thursday also maimed dozens.
Meanwhile, the death toll in the twin bomb blasts that rocked Hyderabad rose to 16 with two more of the injured succumbing to their injuries today while the Crime Investigation Department (CID) began the probe.The toll could mount further as the condition of some of the injured is critical.
Intelligence sources on Thursday night said the modus operandi 'bombs on bicycles and choice of locations' pointed to the Indian Mujahideen, an amorphous group suspected to have carried out the May 2008 serial blasts in Jaipur, where too bombs were tied to eight brand-new sports bicycles.
Security sources said they also suspected the Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Lashkar-e-Toiba, which had promised to retaliate after India hanged Afzal Guru for his involvement in an attack on Parliament in 2001.
Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said on Friday India had intelligence agency warnings of a security threat several days before two bombs went off in the city.
Two first information reports were registered at Saroornagar police station under the limits of Cyberabad police commissionerate. The case was later handed over to the CID.
National Investigation Agency with the help of Central Forensic Science Laboratory and Andhra Pradesh Forensic Science Laboratory gathered clues from the sites of both the explosions.
|Dilsukh Nagar Road after Blast|
Police get vital clues
Police on Friday gathered vital clues in the devastating bomb attacks in Hyderabad and also announced rewards for anyone providing information about the suspects seen in Dilsukh Nagar where the evening rush hour bombings on Thursday also maimed dozens.
Cyberabad Police Commissioner D. Tirumala Rao asked people for information about a young man seen in the area before the bombs went off.
Claiming that police had obtained many clues, Rao said he was confident the case would be cracked. He said investigations were on at a brisk pace.
Police are believed to have gathered revealing clues from CCTV footage.
"I don't think CCTVs have failed. Some images have been captured," Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters after a visit to the scene of attack on Friday evening.
Of the three CCTVs in the area, two are believed to have captured some images which may help the police in identifying the terrorists who planted bombs near two cinema theatres.
Pall of gloom
A pall of gloom descended on the otherwise busy Dilsukh Nagar Road while heart rending scenes were witnessed at hospitals.
There was palpable tension in Dilsukh Nagar where VIPs made a beeline while thousands gathered out of curiosity.
Besides Shinde and Azad, union ministers S. Jaipal Reddy, K. Chiranjeevi and Sarve Satyanarayana, BJP president Rajnath Singh, former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi visited the blast site and hospitals.
Hundreds of people, mostly BJP and ABVP activists, gathered at the blast sites and raised slogans against terrorists and Pakistan.
Police had a tough time in controlling the crowds. Though police did not impose any restrictions on traffic, only few vehicles were on the roads.
Most shops and business establishments on the road was closed.
Opposition attack Shinde
Shinde faced anger over the attack from opposition politicians who questioned whether the government had done enough to prevent it after the warning. Police said two of three security cameras at the market were not working at the time.
No group claimed responsibility and Shinde said it was too early to make accusations.
Shinde said the government had warned states of an unspecified threat though no particular target was identified. "A general alert was given in the past two to three days to the whole country. And that's all," he added.
BJP - the main opposition party - termed the blasts a "massive failure" and slammed the UPA government on its claim that it was committed to fighting terrorism, while urging Shinde to follow it up with action.
"Show that you are committed to fight terrorism. Is the centre's role only to alert the states or help them stop acts of terror," Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj said in the Lok Sabha after Shinde's statement.
Stating that the government and the opposition were not on the same page on handling terrorism, she said the two parties need to fight the menace jointly.
The BJP also blamed Pakistan for the terror attacks in Hyderabad, and asked the government to scale down relations with the neighbouring country and stop confidence building measures for the time being.
2) Bandh cripples banks, transport for 2nd day; ATMs run dry
|Bandh cripples banks, transport for 2nd day; ATMs run dry|
Trade unions claimed victory in their first ever two-day Bharat Bandh, billed as the biggest working class action since independence, as ATMs ran dry and transport services remained hamstrung exasperating millions of people in several cities across the country.
After the bandh, sponsored by 11 central trade unions cutting across party lines, Left parties warned the government of "bigger action" if the demands including a halt to disinvestment, strict enforcement of labour laws and raising minimum wages to Rs 10000 were not met.
A joint statement by general secretaries of four Left parties- Prakash Karat (CPI-M), S Sudhakar Reddy (CPI), T J Chandrachoodan (RSP) and Debabrata Biswas (Forward Bloc) - said: "The Central government has to immediately address the demands raised and take steps to fulfil them, otherwise bigger actions will follow. This is a wake-up call to stop the anti-people and anti-working class policies."
On the second day of the bandh, a mob of lumpens attacked commercial establishments in Okhla industrial area of the national capital. They threw stones at over three dozen business establishments before police swung into action. No one was injured and several protesters were detained. Commuters in the capital had a harrowing time as public transport remained in disarray and most of the taxis and autos stayed away.
|Trade Union Strike|
On the first day of the bandh on Wednesday, neighbouring Noida and Greater Noida witnessed violence with bandh supporters damaging dozens of vehicles and vandalising business establishments.In the north, public transport and banking services continued to be affected in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. Majority of the state-owned buses for inter-state and inter-city routes didn't ply.
|bandh supporters damaging dozens of vehicles and vandalising business establishments|
Meanwhile, with banking services remaining crippled, ATMs ran dry across cities, particularly the financial hub of Mumbai. "A majority of ATMs have dried up. Additionally, there has not been any cheque clearing as personnel from RBI too joined the strike. It will take at least 2-3 working days to clear the backlog for banks", said All India Bank Employees' Association Vice President Vishwas Utagi.
Trade body Assocham has pegged the losses to the economy at an estimated over Rs 26,000 crore during the two-day bandh. "The strike has significantly disrupted economic and industrial activity in many parts of the country. It is not clear how the bandh would address the issues that are sought to be resolved," said CII President Adi Godrej. "Suspension of work in the banks impacts cheque clearances and other transactions which are crucial for business," he said, adding the strike also affected cargo and export business.The bandh evoked a mixed response in most states barring Kerala where life was paralysed for the second consecutive day. Government offices and educational institutions remained closed and vehicles stayed off the roads.
In West Bengal, life was partially affected as CITU decided to observe only industrial strike on the second day. With transport out of purview, buses and taxis plied much to the relief of commuters.The bandh had no major impact in most parts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Though banking services were hit, there was no disruption of transport operations. In Chennai, most of the ATMs ran dry due to lack of cash.Bandh hit life hard in Odisha as train services were affected after protesters blocked tracks at many places while markets and business establishments remained closed.
3) VVIP chopper scam: CBI team to meet Italian prosecutors :
|VVIP chopper scam: CBI team to meet Italian prosecutors|
A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team looking into the VVIP chopper scam in India have reached Italy. They will be meeting the Italian prosecutors who have created a stir by naming former Air Force chief SP Tyagi as a part of the bribery scandal in the Rs. 4,000-crore deal for 12 AgustaWestland (AW) choppers.
The Italian prosecutors have told NDTV that there is enough evidence against the former air chief. They also said that SP Tyagi's defence that he wasn't in-charge when the scandal took place doesn't stand.
"We cannot get into specifics but all I can tell you is that we have all the evidence to nail Shashi Tyagi,'' said the sources, adding, "This includes wire taps.'' They spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case.
Italian prosecutors have said in their report that SP Tyagi, who headed the Indian Air Force from 2004-2007, ensured that the tender for the helicopters was tailored so carefully to match AW's abilities, that the American and Russian competitors were eliminated. The retired Air Chief Marshal has denied the charges, which include being paid kickbacks via his cousins Julie (Sanjiv), Dosca (Rajiv) and Sandeep who were allegedly given 100,000 euros or 70 lakhs in cash.
Last week, a court in Italy had refused to share with India documents of the report.
The Italian inquiry exploded into a political scandal in Delhi with the arrest last week of the man who used to head AW's parent company, Finmeccanica. Prosecutors presented a detailed report of a preliminary inquiry, which outlines a web of middlemen and companies used to route nearly 350 crores as kickbacks to India.
West Bengal Thursday observed the Language Martyrs Day to pay homage to those who died for the cause of the Bengali language in Dhaka in 1952.
“I pay my deepest regards to all those who struggled for the cause of mother language and even laid down their lives in our country and abroad, especially Bangladesh,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said after paying tribute to the martyrs at Curzon Park here.
|Commemorative programme in Deshapriya Par|
The government also held a commemorative programme in Deshapriya Park where intellectuals and artists participated.
Employees of the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission sang songs dedicated to the memory of the language martyrs in the Park Circus area.
A replica of the Shaheed Minar in Bangladesh was set up inside the mission.
In 1948, Pakistan declared Urdu as the official language in both West and East Pakistan. The people of East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, protested.
On Feb 21, 1952, students and political activists took out a procession against Urdu in Dhaka. Police opened fire, killing many people.
This sparked off widespread protests, forcing the Pakistan government to give equal status to Bengali.
5) Security beefed up ahead of Nagaland assembly polls:
|Security beefed up ahead of Nagaland assembly polls:|
Authorities stepped up security ahead of the Nagaland assembly polls on Friday with para-military personnel and police officials being deployed to ensure smooth elections.
Altogether 255 companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed in the state for the elections. Of the 2023 polling stations, 821 have been identified as sensitive and 662 as hyper sensitive.
The security personnel patrolled the streets and checked the vehicles passing by. They were also deployed in large numbers outside the polling booths.
Rahul Kumar, a presiding officer, appealed to the people to come out and exercise the right to vote.
"I am satisfied with all the arrangements that have been made by the government. The people should come out and vote, as it is very important as the state is to be run by the elected people only. So, that is very important. I would appeal to all the people to come and vote," he said.
Nagaland goes to the polls tomorrow to elect 60 members to the 12th Assembly from among 188 candidates with 11.93 lakh electorate.
The ruling Naga People's Front is the only party contesting all the 60 seats. The opposition Congress is contesting 57 seats, followed by NCP in 15, BJP in 11, JD-U in three, RJD in two and the United Nagaland Democratic Party in one.
6) Rallying in Shahbagh Square, Young Bangladesh Finds Its Voice
|Rallying in Shahbagh Square, Young Bangladesh Finds Its Voice|
A young girl’s call pierces through the din of the packed square. Like the macabre billboards that loom above featuring bearded old men in nooses, and the blood red headbands worn by scores of participants, her demands are direct and full-throated: “Hang the war criminals and long live Bangladesh!” The fact that she and most of her fellow protesters were not yet born when the crimes at issue were committed, more than four decades ago during the country’s bitter war for independence, is beside the point. “This is a shame on our nation,” says Nidhi Hossain, the 13-year-old girl holding the megaphone. “We must get rid of these criminals once and for all so we can move forward.”Protests — even very, very large ones — are nothing new in the world’s most densely populated city. Tens of thousands are known to take to the streets to chant down rivals or the latest spike in petrol prices. The difference with the now two-week-old Shahbagh movement, say those old enough to know, is that it has managed to transcend Bangladesh’s stale party politics, religion and the age divide unlike any mass agitation in recent memory. While the ruling Awami League party has tried to co-opt some of the momentum and the opposition is crying foul, all have taken a backseat to a frustrated young generation that is finding its voice.
1) Sourav Ganguly’s father, Chandi Ganguly, passed away on Thursday:
|Sourav Ganguly’s father, Chandi Ganguly, passed away on Thursday|
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly’s father, Chandi Ganguly, passed away on Thursday.
He was 74 and is survived by wife Nirupa and two sons, Snehasish and Sourav.
He suffered a heart-attack on Thursday evening and passed away on the way to the hospital.
He was closely associated with the cricket administration in the state and served the Cricket Association of Bengal in various capacities, including that of the secretary and the treasurer.
The association has decided to keep the CAB flag at half-mast on Friday. Also, two minutes silence would be observed as a mark of respect before the start of the Vijay Hazare Trophy East Zone leg match between Bengal and Assam, at the Eden.
In a statement released late on Thursday, the CAB said: “We convey our solace to the bereaved family of Late Chandidas Ganguly and pray to the Almighty for eternal peace to his departed soul. His sudden death is an irreparable loss not only for the association, but also for Bengal cricket.”
Dignitaries from different spheres of life, including chief minister Mamata Banerjee and state’s urban development minister Firhad Hakim, visited the Ganguly residence to pay their respects.
On CAB’s behalf, joint-secretary Subir Ganguly and treasurer Biswarup Dey were present.
2) Ind vs Aus: Clarke's unbeaten ton takes Australia to 316/7 at stumps on Day 1 of first Test:
|Ind vs Aus: Clarke's unbeaten ton takes Australia to 316/7 at stumps on Day 1 of first Test:|
Captain Michael Clarke led from the front with a sparkling unbeaten century under pressure as Australia recovered from a precarious position to post a respectable 316 for seven on the opening day of the first Test against India on Friday.
Clarke brought up his 23rd Test century off the second last ball of the day hitting left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja towards long-off to remain unbeaten on 103 on a day which saw an engrossing battle between the bat and the ball.
Clarke negated all the good work done by off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (6/88) who took all but one among seven wickets that fell on the day at the Chepauk.
Clarke was well-complemented by debutant Moises Henriques (68) as the pair added 147 runs for the sixth wicket after Ashwin's terrific post-lunch spell saw the visitors being reduced to 153 for five.
The Tamil Nadu offie finally broke the partnership by dismissing the impressive Henriques, trapping him leg-before much to the relief of his teammates.
Ashwin, who took his sixth five-wicket haul in Test matches ended with fantastic figures of six for 88 in 30 overs but should consider himself unlucky being robbed off Clarke's wicket due to the absence of Decision Review System (DRS).
The Indian women were tested for the first time in the Hero World Hockey League and went down 2-3 in the penalty shootout after holding a higher-ranked Japan 2-2 in regulation time at the Major Dhyan Chand National stadium on Friday.
Trailing by two goals for most duration of the match, the hosts clawed their way back into the encounter making it 2-2 at the final hooter. However, the Japanese girls held their nerve to prevail. Japan are now tied with India at the top of the table with 10 points each. Malaysia, who scored a 12-0 win over Fiji, are placed third with nine points.
Soundarya Yendala and Rani Rampal scored while Chanchan Devi, captain Ritu Rani and Vandana Katariya were off target for India in the shootout. Mazuki Arai, Yuri Nagai and captain Rika Komazawa scored for Japan.
After a tight match earlier in the tournament against Russia, which too had gone to the shootout, Japan went in against India with the intent to dominate, which they did after taking the lead in just the fourth minute when Shiho Sakai converted a penalty corner.
The Japanese forwards created another chance minutes later but Indian defender Deep Grace Ekka made a timely clearance. Japan kept attacking putting the Indian defence under tremendous pressure.
The hosts continued to struggle with basics like trapping and kept losing the ball which made teh job of Japan easier. To make things worse, a foul by Jaspreet Kaur in the 31st minute gave the Japanese the opportunity to make it 2-0 through Akiko Ota.
India recovered towards the end of the first half and stretched the Japanese defence with relentless counter-attacks. They enforced four penalty corners but failed to make them count.
The second half saw the hosts in a better light. They looked more organised but still had to wait to get their first goal in the 62nd minute when Yendala's deflection completed a penalty corner attempt. Three minutes later, Anupa Barla scored the equaliser. However, the shootout ended the resistance.
4) Pistorius bail decision expected in S.African court:
|Pistorius bail decision expected in S.African court|
A judge is likely to decide on Friday whether to grant bail to Oscar Pistorius, with prosecutors arguing he is a cold-blooded killer and his own lawyers that he is far too famous to have any chance of fleeing prosecution.The bail hearing, which began last Friday, was set to resume at 0800 GMT.
Defence lawyers for Pistorius say the athlete shot dead his girlfriend only by terrible mistake, and deserves bail to prepare for a case that has garnered global attention and has been marred by a bungled police investigation.
The star "blade runner", whose lower legs were amputated in infancy, has become an even more globally recognised figure since he killed model Reeva Steenkamp, 29, in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine's Day at his home.Prosecutors have told the court it was a premeditated murder, with Pistorius firing four shots through a locked toilet door at a cowering Steenkamp on the other side. She was hit in the head, arm and hip.
Witnesses said they heard a gunshots and screams from the home in a gated community surrounded by 3-metre- (yard-) high stone walls and topped with an electric fence.Pistorius contends he was acting in self-defence, mistaking Steenkamp for an intruder and feeling vulnerable because he was unable to attach his prosthetic limbs in time to confront the threat, he said in an affidavit read in court.The 26-year-old said he grabbed a 9-mm pistol from under his bed and went into the bathroom.
Pistorius described how he fired into the locked toilet door in a blind panic in the mistaken belief that the intruder was lurking inside.Bail hearings in South Africa allow for prosecutors and defence lawyers to lay out their basic arguments, based on preliminary evidence.The arrest of Pistorius stunned millions who watched in awe last year as the Olympic and Paralympic sprinter reached the semi-final of the 400 m in the London Olympics.The impact has been greatest in sports-mad South Africa, where Pistorius was seen as a rare hero who commanded respect from both blacks and whites, transcending the racial divides that persist 19 years after the end of apartheid.Police investigating Pistorius pulled their lead detective off the athlete's case on Thursday after it emerged he himself faces attempted murder charges for shooting at a minibu
|Subhaditya News Channel (32)|