|NewsWeek -35 Headlines in Animated Form|
|Collage of News Week-35 Headlines Pictures|
Science News This Week:
1) Life-friendly environment confirmed on Mars:
|Life-friendly environment confirmed on Mars|
Microbial life could have thrived on Mars billions of years ago, researchers from NASA's Curiosity mission reported March 12. An analysis of the rover's first drill sample on the Red Planet revealed a nonacidic, slightly salty aquatic environment with plenty of energy-rich minerals. There is no evidence of past life, the researchers said, but the sample revealed the most hospitable environment ever detected beyond Earth."We have found a habitable environment that is so benign and supportive of life that probably if this water was around and you had been on the planet, you would have been able to drink it," said Curiosity project scientist John Grotzinger of Caltech.
Curiosity has been very busy since its arrival on Mars last August. It landed in Gale Crater with plans to explore Mount Sharp, the 5-kilometer-high mountain at the crater’s center. But early in Curiosity's adventures the rover encountered the remains of what appears to be an ancient stream emptying into a lake.That region, called Yellowknife Bay, is where researchers decided to drill into a rock — the first time that has ever been done on another planet. "Mars has written its autobiography in the rocks of Gale Crater," said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program. "Chapter One is Yellowknife Bay."Curiosity's drill is one of its most important features because the Martian surface can be deceiving. Radiation pelts the soil, altering its chemistry, and winds carry material far from where they formed. But by drilling down a mere 6 centimeters, Curiosity hit bedrock. "You know the stuff formed there," said David Blake of NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.
Scientists got excited the moment they saw the powder from inside the rock. It was gray, evidence that it was at least partially protected from the harsh environment that gives the Martian surface its familiar rusty appearance. Once Curiosity extracted the drilled sample, two of the rover’s onboard tools, the Chemistry and Mineralogy and Sample Analysis at Mars instruments, took a closer look.The instruments detected chemicals, such as calcium sulfate, that can form only in nonacidic environments, a pivotal attribute for life on Earth. The rocks also contained clays that formed in water that was only slightly salty, meaning Yellowknife Bay wasn't a Dead Sea–like environment that would suck the water out of any microbial life.Curiosity did not find any of the organic carbon compounds that form the basis of amino acids and sugars — pivotal ingredients for complex life on Earth. However, Grotzinger points out that many single-celled organisms on Earth thrive in inorganic environments. The drilled powder contained hydrogen, carbon, sulfur, nitrogen, phosphorous and oxygen — elements that could have served as a chemical energy source for microbial life, he said.
While NASA researchers are confident with the analysis, the scientists stressed that another sample or two is needed to confirm the results and make sure none of the chemicals came from contaminants on the rover itself. Unfortunately, a problem with one of Curiosity's two onboard computers is keeping the rover from doing any more exploring for now. And in April, Mars will cross behind the sun, blocking scientists' lines of communication with the rover for about a month. The researchers hope to take another drilling sample in May before directing the rover toward Mount Sharp.From there, scientists can start putting all the pieces together to reconstruct Mars as it appeared a few billion years ago, when it was far warmer and more hospitable than it is today. Additional drilling by Curiosity will turn up more chemicals, while lab tests will determine how different compounds degrade over time. Meanwhile a probe called MAVEN, scheduled for launch later this year, will detect gases escaping from the Martian atmosphere that may have once persisted on the surface.The long-term goal, Grotzinger says, is to compare the geology and climate of ancient Mars with that of early Earth. It could turn out that Earth and Mars started on similarly biologically friendly paths before diverging into the worlds we see today.
2) One of World's Oldest Sun Dial Dug Up in Kings' Valley, Upper Egypt:
|One of World's Oldest Sun Dial Dug Up in Kings' Valley, Upper Egypt|
During archaeological excavations in the Kings' Valley in Upper Egypt a team of researchers from the University of Basel found one of the world's oldest ancient Egyptian sun dials. The team of the Egyptological Seminar under the direction of Prof. Susanne Bickel made the significant discovery while clearing the entrance to one of the tombs.
During this year's excavations the researchers found a flattened piece of limestone (so-called Ostracon) on which a semicircle in black color had been drawn. The semicircle is divided into twelve sections of about 15 degrees each. A dent in the middle of the approximately 16 centimeter long horizontal baseline served to insert a wooden or metal bolt that would cast a shadow to show the hours of the day. Small dots in the middle of each section were used for even more detailed time measuring.The sun dial was found in an area of stone huts that were used in the 13th century BC to house the men working at the construction of the graves. The sun dial was possibly used to measure their work hours. However, the division of the sun path into hours also played a crucial role in the so-called netherworld guides that were drawn onto the walls of the royal tombs. These guides are illustrated texts that chronologically describe the nightly progression of the sun-god through the underworld. Thus, the sun dial could also have served to further visualize this phenomenon.
During this year's excavation in cooperation with the Egyptian authorities and with the help of students of the University of Basel over 500 mostly fragmentary objects that had been recovered in former seasons were documented and prepared for further scientific examination. This also includes all the material of the lower strata of tomb KV 64 found in 2012. Inside the roughly 3500 year old tomb Basel researchers had discovered a sarcophagus that was holding the mummy of a woman named Nehemes-Bastet.
3) New Beautifully Colored Long-Horned Beetle from Yunnan, China:
|New Beautifully Colored Long-Horned Beetle from Yunnan, China|
The beetle family Cerambycidae, also known as long-horned beetles or longicorns, is characterized by emblematic extremely long antennae, which are usually longer than the total body length of the animal. The family is rather rich in diversity with more than 20 000 species known, distributed worldwide. Some representatives of these bizarre-shaped beetles, are also known as serious pests with their wood-feeding larvae causing extensive damage to living trees or untreated lumber. The beetles from this family are mainly associated with leaf litter habitats, where the specimens in this study were also collected.
The newly discovered species, Schwarzerium yunnanum, represents a remarkably engaging representative of the family with a blue-greenish beautifully colored body, and distinctive blue legs. A new subgenus, Rugosochroma, is also erected as a result of this recent discovery. The specimens examined were found in the Yunnan Province of China, where the name of the new species is derived from The study was published in the open access journal Zookeys.Alongside the new species, seven known ones have been recorded from China for the first time. Among these are the very rare Aphrodisium tricoloripes, known only from China, Myanmar and Vietnam, as well as Chloridolum semipunctatum, so far exclusively found in Northern Laos.All the species described, including the new one, belong to the subfamily Cerambycinae, which includes 750 genera in total. Within the long-horned beetle family, this remarkable biodiversity can be only rivaled by a single other subfamily Lamiinae, more commonly known as flat-faced longhorns
4) Early birds had four wings, not two, study reports:
|Early birds had four wings, not two, study reports|
Some primitive birds boasted four wings, before evolution led them to ditch their hind feathers in favor of webbed or scaly feet, scientists in China said on Thursday.
Previous research had uncovered the existence of bird-like dinosaurs with hind limb feathers, but evidence has remained slim in birds, which are widely believed to have evolved from dinosaurs. And even though the latest discovery documents new evidence of feathered feet in early birds, the question remains whether the plumes were actually a help or a hindrance in flight. The Chinese scientists behind the study, published in the US journal Science, said the 11 newly described fossil specimens offer evidence the leg feathers were used as a part of a four-winged system for flying. Researchers found the new trove of data by poring over fossils at China's Shandong Tianyu Museum of Nature, said lead researcher Xing Xu, a well-known dinosaur researcher. The 11 birds come from five species and were relatively robust: larger than a crow but smaller than a turkey, according to Xu, a professor at the Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origin, Chinese Academy of Sciences. One key specimen was a Sapeornis, a bird that was not previously believed to have hind feathers. However, fossils held in the museum showed the creature with a fan of feathers on each heel, some as long as five centimeters (two inches).
"We believe they were related to flight," Xu told AFP, describing the finding as "exciting" because ancient birds, with their delicate skeletons, have left behind few fossils for researchers to examine. The birds described in the study come from the Cretaceous period and flew some 121-125 million years ago, existing alongside dinosaurs, he said. The back wings took the form of leg plumes and may have helped the creatures maneuver in the air while the arm wings flapped or stretched wide to soar, according to the study.
he arrangement of the feathers, along with their stiff vanes, suggests they were "aerodynamic in function, providing lift, creating drag, and/or enhancing maneuverability, and thus played a role in flight," said the study. Researchers are continuing to hunt for details on the possible color of these feathers, and are crafting models to show exactly how they may have been used in flight, Xu said. But other experts are not so sure that the foot-feathers were used to fly, but may have served other purposes like attracting mates. "No one thinks that these animals flapped their legs," said Kevin Padian, professor of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Padian was not involved in the study but was among the experts who reviewed it before publication. "Some say that the leg feathers would have increased lift, but there is no evidence for this: to increase lift the feathers would have to be arranged in such a way as to form a competent, planar airfoil, and no one thinks (or has shown) that this was the case," Padian told AFP. "On the other hand it is indisputable that such feathers would create drag," he added. "In fact, the authors neither perform nor cite any research in support of any hypothesis that these feathers contributed to any sort of flight," Padian wrote. Nevertheless, Padian applauded the research, calling it a "great study" because it shows how leg feathers changed over time among bird-like dinosaurs and primitive birds. Nowadays, there are some modern birds that have retained flashy leg feathers, but those tend to be exotic chickens or pigeons that are bred for the rarity, not birds that have evolved that way, said Xu. Some, like the golden eagle, have retained feathered feet but their fluffy pedalers are for insulation, not flight.
5) Key Step in Manufacture of Red Blood Cells Decoded: Subtle Regulatory Chords Direct the Birth of Blood Cells:
|Key Step in Manufacture of Red Blood Cells Decoded: Subtle Regulatory Chords Direct the Birth of Blood Cells|
A healthy adult must generate as many as one hundred billion new red blood cells each day, to maintain the numbers circulating in his blood. A team of EPFL researchers has identified a key step in the process by which red blood cells are born. The discovery could not only shed light on the causes of blood disorders such as anemia, it could also bring closer the medics' dream of being able to manufacture red blood cells in the lab -- thus providing a potentially inexhaustible supply of an essential component of blood for transfusion.A red blood cell, or erythrocyte, is essentially a sack of haemoglobin that transports oxygen around the body. It starts life in the bone marrow as a haematopoietic stem cell, and undergoes a highly controlled process of proliferation and differentiation before acquiring its final identity.One key step in that differentiation process is mitophagy, the elimination by absorption of the stem cell's respiratory apparatus, mitochondria. With the mitochondria gone, the cell's carrying capacity for haemoglobin is maximised. But the mechanism controlling mitophagy has never been properly understood, until now.
In a paper published this week in Science, Isabelle Barde of the EPFL's School of Life Sciences and Frontiers in Genetic Programme, and colleagues, describe experiments which show that KRAB-containing zinc finger proteins, working in concert with a cofactor called KAP1, modulate mitophagy in subtle and sophisticated ways.The senior author on the paper, virologist Didier Trono, has been interested in the KRAB/KAP1 system for several years. 350 million years old, it is known to have a role in "silencing" components of the mammalian genome known as retroelements, because they were originally retroviruses that became incorporated into the genetic code of the organisms they infected. "It did such a good job that over the course of evolution it got co-opted to do many other things," Trono says.
Among the roles the KRAB/KAP1 system took on was regulating mitophagy. The researchers found that mice genetically modified to lack KAP1 quickly became anemic because they were unable to make red blood cells. More specifically, they found, the process of stem cell differentiation stalled at the stage where mitochondria were degraded in erythroblasts, the precursors of erythrocytes. And knocking out KAP1 had a similar effect in human blood cells, indicating that its role in regulating mitophagy has been conserved throughout evolution, from mouse to man.
The researchers went on to show that the KRAB/KAP1 system works by repressing repressors of mitophagy. In other words, like any good double negative, it activates the target process. That suggests that mutations in the various components of this regulatory system could contribute to blood disorders such as anemia and certain types of leukemia, which in turn indicates future therapeutic targets for those diseases. It also suggests ways in which red blood cell synthesis might be emulated in the lab.
But the finding has broader significance too. Mitochondria, while essential for the healthy functioning of many cells, can also be lethal to cells if they generate damaging free radicals -- by-products of cellular respiration under certain conditions. The oxidative stress these free radicals produce has been implicated in liver disease, heart attacks and obesity. Hence, understanding how mitophagy is controlled could lead to a better understanding, and potentially better treatment, of those conditions.Trono thinks that the principle of multilayered and combinatorial regulation may apply to a wide range of physiological systems. "It gives a tremendous level of modularity to nature to accomplish physiological events," he says, likening it to the way in which a pipe organ works.
An organist has both a keyboard and a pedalboard at his disposal, and he uses them in multifarious combinations to modulate the sound his instrument produces. Similarly, tiny adjustments in one or a few controlling elements can produce significant effects in many biological processes. And though mutations in any one of them could potentially lead to malfunction, the damage tends to be limited because the contribution of each one is small. That, in turn, renders the system robust. It's that robustness, Trono believes, that evolution has been selecting and refining for hundreds of millions of years.
Movies Release This Week:
|Movies - News|
1) Upside Down:
Ever since Adam (Jim Sturgess) and Eden (Kirsten Dunst) fell in love as teens, their bond has faced astronomical odds. The pair are separated not just by social class and a political system bent on keeping them apart, but also by a freak planetary condition: they live on twinned worlds with gravities that pull in opposite directions—he on the poverty-stricken planet below, she on the wealthy, exploitative world above. Their budding but illicit romance screeches to a tragic halt when interplanetary-border patrol agents catch them and Eden suffers an apparently fatal fall. But when, ten years later, Adam learns she is alive and working at a vast corporation whose towering headquarters connects their planets, he sets out on a dangerous quest to infiltrate the company and the upper world to reconnect with her. UPSIDE DOWN is a visually stunning romantic adventure that poses the question: what if love was stronger than gravity?
2) The Incredible Burt Wonderstone:
|The Incredible Burt Wonderstone|
Superstar magicians Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) have ruled the Las Vegas strip for years, raking in millions with illusions as big as Burt's growing ego. But lately the duo's greatest deception is their public friendship, while secretly they've grown to loathe each other. Facing cutthroat competition from guerilla street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), whose cult following surges with each outrageous stunt, even their show looks stale. But there's still a chance Burt and Anton can save the act—both onstage and off—if Burt can get back in touch with what made him love magic in the first place.
3) 3G: A Killer Connection:
|3G: A Killer Connection|
There are 4.3 Billion mobile phone users in the world. Every minute 60 thousand Phantom Calls are received worldwide. These calls have no known source of origin, no numbers and cannot be traced. Some people believe that these calls are spirits trying to connect to our world! 3G is the nightmarish story of Sam Arora and Sheena, a couple, who become victims of a series of events when Sam buys a 3G enabled second hand phone in Fiji islands while on a holiday. One night they receive a Phantom Call which changes their lives forever. They must face the unbelievable reality that the phone is somehow responsible for all that is happening to them and around them. The only way to stay alive, it seems is to unravel the mystery of the phone. But as the hours burn on, that becomes harder and harder to do. Technology is a part of our lives, what happens when technology wants to take our lives? 3G embodies the horror of a recurring nightmare that draws inspiration from the insecurities of modern life. In spite of all our technology and sophistication, we can't escape the unknown. 3G get ready for the killer connection!
4) Vanishing Waves:
A scientist with a neurological research team volunteers to experiment with a new technology which will allow him to access the thoughts of a coma victim.
CLIP is a dynamic, disturbing portrait of contemporary Serbian youth. Jasna, played fearlessly by Isidora Simijonovic, is a pretty girl in her mid-teens. With a terminally ill father and dispirited mother at home, she is disillusioned by her unglamorous life in a dismal Belgrade suburb. Opposing everyone, including herself, she goes experimenting with sex, drugs and partying.
Political News This Week:
1) Srinagar CRPF camp attack: Suspected Pakistan terrorist arrested, hunt on for another:
|Srinagar CRPF camp attack: Suspected Pakistan terrorist arrested, hunt on for another:|
A Pakistani terrorist, suspected to be involved in the suicide attack on a CRPF camp in Srinagar, was on Thursday arrested from Chattabal area in the city. On a tip off about presence of two terrorists in Chattabal, the special operation group cordoned off the area and nabbed Abu Talib, a resident of Multan, sources said.
The spot where he was picked up from is a little over a km from Bemina area where the terrorists struck on Wednesday, leaving five CRPF personnel dead and seven others injured.
The Pakistani terrorist opened fire on the SOG personnel with a pistol but he was overpowered and arrested, the sources said. The terrorist told police that he is a resident of Multan in Pakistan and was operating under the alias of Abu Talib, they said.Sources said the breakthrough was achieved when the intelligence agencies traced a call made by the terrorist to his handlers in Pakistan soon after the attack on Wednesday. Two suspected Pakistani terrorists, disguised as cricketers had on Wednesday stormed a CRPF camp in Srinagar in a 'fidayeen' (suicide) attack, the first major strike in the city in three years.
2) Hero to heroin: It's a k/o for Vijender
|Hero to heroin: It's a k/o for Vijender|
Till a week ago, international boxer Vijender Singh was seen in his native state of Haryana as a sports star, a youth icon and a brand ambassador. But a heroin drug haul by the Punjab Police has changed much for the feted Olympics bronze medallist. Vijender, who was made a deputy superintendent of police (DSP) in the Haryana Police, has become a suspect in a sensational drugs haul being investigated by the Punjab Police. The police had recovered 26 kg of heroin, worth Rs.130 crore (almost 25 million USD) in the international market, from a Canada-based NRI drugs dealer who was operating in Punjab.
Given his sporting success and good looks, Vijender rubbed shoulders with Bollywood stars, celebrities and VIPs at various functions and social events.
Such was his popularity that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had attended Vijender's wedding at the Delhi Flying Club in May 2011. Vijender had run into controversy at that time after his wedding reception card carried the national emblem.
Vijender's name figured in the drugs haul controversy on two counts: One, his wife Archana's SUV was found outside the apartment from where the police found the big consignment of drugs; second, his fellow boxer Ram Singh, during questioning by the Punjab Police, made startling disclosures, admitting that along with Vijender, he had taken heroin from the arrested drugs kingpin, Anoop Singh Kahlon.
Vijender has been in denial mode, claiming complete innocence in the matter from day one. But things got complicated after he refused to give his blood and hair samples to the Punjab Police investigators for laboratory analysis.Punjab Police is now contemplating a court move to get Vijender's blood and hair samples. The police, who questioned Vijender at a Haryana Police establishment near Panchkula for nearly four hours, want to investigate the star boxer's role in the drugs racket, given the disclosures of his sparring partner Ram Singh."Till he satisfies us with evidence that he is not connected to the drugs racket, Vijender will also remain a suspect. By not giving his (blood and hair) samples, he has made things complicated. He is likely to be questioned again," a Punjab Police officer said.
Haryana's Director General of Police (DGP) S.N. Vashishth has said that they were cooperating with their Punjab counterparts in the investigations."I have assigned Superintendent of Police Hardeep Singh Doon to extend all cooperation to the Punjab Police," the Haryana DGP said.Vijender, who was training at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) Patiala (in Punjab, 80 km from here), has sought leave for one week from his training programme for upcoming boxing tournaments.His fight, it now appears, will shift, in coming days, to outside the ring.
3) India must stop dialogue with Pakistan: Arun Jaitley:
|India must stop dialogue with Pakistan: Arun Jaitley|
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley on Friday criticized the Pakistan Parliament's resolution condemning the hanging of Afzal Guru, the mastermind of the December 13, 2001 terror strike, saying that India must stop its dialogue with Pakistan."Pakistan has crossed all limits. All dialogues with them should be stopped," he said.He said the resolution confirms New Delhi's worst fears that the Parliament attack conspiracy was hatched across the border.
Saying that the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has been magnanimous in normalizing the relations with Islamabad, Jaitley said New Delhi should forget the dialogue process with the neighbour."If India can be kicked around in this manner internationally, there is something seriously wrong with how we are managing our affairs," Jaitley told the parliament, referring to the tension with Pakistan and Italy's refusal to send back two marines to face murder charges for shooting two Kerala fishermen.Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said that by passing the resolution, Pakistan has justified the attacks on the Indian parliament, which is unacceptable.
"The Pakistani parliament by passing this resolution has interfered in our domestic affairs. They have given encouragement to terrorists and clearly said that the attack on Indian parliament was justified. This is something which parliament of India should not accept," said Sinha.Echoing similar sentiments, BJP chief Rajnath Singh said that there is a need to adopt a strong policy against Pakistan and its actions."The central government needs to register strong protest against Pakistan in the international arena. They needs to adopt a strict policy towards Pakistan," Singh told media in Jaipur.Two days before it completes its five-year term, the Pakistan National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, passed the resolution moved by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who heads a special parliamentary panel on Kashmir.
Besides condemning the February 9 hanging of Afzal Guru, the resolution expressed concern at the situation created in Jammu and Kashmir by the execution. The House called for Guru's body to be handed over to his family. Guru was hanged and buried within Tihar Jail in Delhi.His execution triggered protests in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan-based terrorist groups such as the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed have vowed to take revenge for the execution. The parliamentary resolution said the international community should not remain silent spectators in efforts to find a solution to the Kashmir dispute.It said steps should be taken to implement the United Nations Security Council's resolutions on the Kashmir issue.The resolution called for an end to alleged killings in Jammu and Kashmir and the removal of the army from towns and cities of the Kashmir Valley.
4) Kerala - 'Happening' state this week:
|Two Italian marines accused of shooting dead two fishermen Feb 15, 2012|
Much national news was made in Kerala this week. The case of the diplomatic row over the trial of the two Italian marines accused of shooting dead two fishermen Feb 15, 2012 continues, even as the antics of a loose-tongued chief whip of the Kerala assembly, P.C. George, made headlines.Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has been on edge this past year, after the killing of the fishermen off the Kerala coast by the marines.
|two Italian marines accused of shooting dead two fishermen Feb 15, 2012|
The Communist Party of India-Marxist in the state lost no opportunity to fish in troubled waters over the Italian marines issue, and went so far as to link Congress president Sonia Gandhi to the case, given her country of origin.Till the end of last year, Chandy played safe. He won appreciation for the tough stance he took. When the marines were granted permission to return to Italy for Christmas, many felt Chandy had succumbed to pressure from Delhi. There was apprehension that they would not return, but they were back ahead of the deadline that time.In January, however, the apex court ruled that the marines case would be tried in a special court to be set up in Delhi; the Kerala High Court did not have jurisdiction in the matter. Tongues were set wagging again, and many held that the chief minister's efforts would come to nought. The fears came true -- after the change of government in Italy, the government of that country has now decided not to send the marines back. (The two were allowed to return February to cast their votes and spend time with their families).
"There will be no laxity on our part. We have already told the centre that the marines will have to return to face trial," Chandy said, as the matter became a hugely contentious and completely unprecedented diplomatic row between the two countries.The CPI-M has been using this instance to raise emotions.
"Who does not know that all the players in this case are colluding and the fears that we raised soon after the incident took place are now coming true," said CPI-M politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.As Chandy entered damage-control mode, flying to Delhi and interacting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, fresh trouble was unleashed back home by chief whip of the assembly George, a veteran six-time Kerala legislator, who alleged that Minister of Forests K.B. Ganesh Kumar was beaten up by his lover's husband.A Malayalam newspaper had earlier reported the incident, without disclosing the minister's name.
As the issue hogged headlines in the state, George went a step further and unleashed a diatribe on a TV channel against two top leaders, K.R. Gowri and late T.V. Thomas, married couple that later parted ways over political differences, and both former ministers.This led to widespread protests from both the ruling and opposition legislators.Friday morning, this issue flared up in the Kerala assembly. The entire opposition was up in arms, demanding action against George for his frequent lapses into tactlessness. The uproar in the assembly came just as Finance Minister K.M. Mani was about to present the state budget.
George, however, said it was all because of a mischievous TV channel that had aired what was meant to be a private chat. "If anyone feels hurt, I apologise," he said.
Speaker G. Karthikeyan intervened to assure the house that he would look into the rules and procedures of the house to deal with the issue.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has been a legislator for four decades, and realises that some of the pressures he faces comes from running a coalition government. What compounds the problem is the thinness of the majority -- just three legislators separate the rival fronts in the 140 member assembly.
"Those who occupy public positions should be careful when they make statements," remarked Chandy.As a new session of the assembly begins Friday and extends till the second week of next month, Chandy braces for more punches from the opposition.
5) Varsity ball in Xavier's court:
|Varsity ball in Xavier's court|
The Bengal government has proposed a public private partnership (PPP) model for the upcoming St. Xavier's university but the Xavier's authorities will "study it in detail" before take a final decision.The proposal for a state-aided university was handed over to Father Felix Raj, the principal of St. Xavier's College, at a meeting with higher education minister Bratya Basu on Thursday.
"We had a very fruitful meeting and I am thankful to the government for their openness in dealing with our proposal. The government has suggested a state-aided St. Xavier's University. We have to study the proposal in detail before we can take a decision," said Felix Raj.The university, if St. Xavier's accepts the proposal, will be the first state-aided private university in the country.It will, however, not get the minority status that it had requested.
|Varsity ball in Xavier's court|
"It will be run by the Jesuits but it will not be a minority university," clarified Felix Raj.The university, to come up in Rajarhat Action Area III, will be a separate entity from the St. Xavier's College of 30 Park Street.The proposal, submitted by St. Xavier's in September 2012, stated that it wanted the new entity named St. Xavier's University and asked for an annual Rs 25-crore grant from the state government, which would, among other things, take care of teacher salaries.College authorities are not averse to a PPP model, provided the proposal meets the Jesuit standards.
"St. Xavier's College has UGC nominees, state government nominees and Calcutta University nominees on its board so it is not going to be new for us. But we also don't want to lose our identity. We will have to see what exactly the partnership entails," said Felix Raj.The college authorities hope to send in their suggestions about the government's proposal in a week's time."If we can come to a situation that is acceptable for both we should be able to start the university in a year's time," said Felix Raj.The Mamata Banerjee government has allotted a 16-acre plot of land in Rajarhat to St. Xavier's for the university. On December 22, at the college's Christmas celebrations, the CM had played Santa by handing over a letter formalising the allocation of the plot.
"We want St. Xavier's to become a university. We want it to grow more and more," said Mamata, moments after being handed over the first honorary membership card to the alumni association ' number 001 ' making her a part of the Xaverian family.Mamata had requested for an alumni membership at the beginning of 2012, when she was at the Park Street address for the convocation and valedictory session.
Sports News This Week:
1) Ailing Federer outmuscled by resurgent Nadal:
|Ailing Federer outmuscled by resurgent Nadal|
Roger Federer's title defence at the BNP Paribas Open came to a surprisingly abrupt halt on Thursday when he was hammered by his long-time rival Rafa Nadal 6-4 6-2 in the quarter-finals.While Nadal's fitness on hard courts had been in some doubt on his return to the ATP circuit after seven months out with a knee injury, it was Federer's troublesome back that proved the most significant factor as he was totally outplayed.
The four-times Indian Wells champion continually struggled to hold serve, was broken four times and made a slew of backhand errors against an opponent who moved well and controlled most of the rallies with deeper and more accurate groundstrokes."I was hanging in there in the first set so you always believe that with a good return game and I dug myself out of a couple of tough service games, that I could do it, you know," Federer told reporters after losing to Nadal for a 19th time.
"The longer the match went on, I realised I had to change up my game. I played differently than I was hoping to be able to. Obviously he got more comfortable as the match went on, as well."Things became difficult. Obviously once I was down a set I knew it was going to be difficult. It (the back niggle) is obviously a small issue, and that doesn't work against guys like Rafa."
Federer, who had beaten claycourt specialist Nadal 6-3 6-4 in last year's Indian Wells semi-final when they last met, said he had not been surprised by the Spaniard's fluent movement about the court on Thursday."He's not going to come back if he's not well," the 31-year-old Swiss said. "He's not going to come back half broken. I expected him to tear through the clay. I expected him to be tough here, which he shows to be."
2) Live Cricket Score: India Vs Australia 2013 - Third Test, Day 2:
|Live Cricket Score: India Vs Australia 2013 - Third Test, Day 2|
Indian bowlers restrict Australia to 273/7. Australia have won the toss and elected to bat.
A reminder that the Australian eleven has already been picked. Here it is - Warner, Cowan, Clarke, Hughes, Smith, Haddin, Henriques, Siddle, Starc, Lyon, Doherty. No news about the Indian team, apart from the fact that Dhawan will make his debut. It's likely that India will be unchanged, but let's wait for Dhoni to say that.
What a moment for Shikhar Dhawan. Sachin Tendulkar hands over his Test cap to him. He's the second Indian player to make his debut in this series. The first one was Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who got his cap from Ishant Sharma. India regained much of the ground by claiming four wickets in the final session as Australia failed to capitalise on a century partnership for the opening wicket in the third and penultimate cricket Test here Friday.
At stumps on the second day, Australia were 273 for seven with comeback man, Steven Smith and Mitchell Starc, batting on 58 and 20 respectively.