|Animated NewWeek36 Clips|
|Collage of News Week-36 Main Pictures|
Science News This Week:
1) Universe is a teeny bit older than thought:
|Universe is a teeny bit older than thought|
Planck satellite reveals information from just after the Big Bang, largely confirming scientists' theories.The universe is a little older and perhaps a bit stranger than previously thought, according to the best measurements ever taken of the radiation left over from just after the Big Bang. Presented March 21 at a press conference in Paris, the data from the Planck satellite combine to form a map of the remnant glow that largely affirms scientists' theories about the universe's early history. But the results also reveal a few quirks that scientists will have to explain.“The clarity and precision of Planck’s map is stunning,” says Richard Easther, an astrophysicist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, who is not on the Planck team. “It’s as good as anyone could have hoped for.”
Launched by the European Space Agency in 2009, the Planck satellite scans the sky for the cosmic microwave background, radiation that dates back to about 380,000 years after the Big Bang. That radiation was originally about 2,700° Celsius but has cooled to a mere 2.7 degrees above absolute zero. Planck is essentially a supersensitive thermometer that can probe the temperature of this radiation to millionths of a degree.That extraordinary precision allowed researchers to map tiny temperature fluctuations in the radiation across the entire sky. (The red spots in the map are about 1 part in 100,000 hotter than the average temperature, while the blue spots are slightly colder.) These subtle perturbations in the early universe eventually grew into stars and galaxies.
The image, said George Efstathiou, an astrophysicist at the University of Cambridge who presented the Planck results in Paris, "might look like a dirty rugby ball … but some cosmologists would have given up their children to get a copy of this map." Now that cosmologists do have access to the map, they can make many conclusions about how the universe has evolved.For the most part, Planck's results align with theoretical predictions and observations from the previous microwave background probes, COBE and WMAP. The data support the theory of inflation, which posits that, around 10-30 seconds after the Big Bang, the universe briefly expanded faster than the speed of light.
“Not only is inflation continuing to look like a superb fit to the data,” says Alan Guth, the MIT physicist who proposed inflation in 1981, “but it still looks like the simplest inflationary models are the ones that fit best.”Planck also reaffirmed previous calculations of the universe’s age and composition – with a few tweaks. Researchers who analyzed the telescope’s data announced that the universe is about 13.81 billion years old, or 80 million years older than previously thought. It contains more matter, both the ordinary kind we can see and the massive stuff we can’t, and less of the mysterious entity called dark energy than earlier observations suggested.Planck also found several features that surprised scientists. Most notably, it reaffirms a quirky WMAP finding that one half of the sky seems to have more fluctuations than the other. Theory predicts the universe should look the same in all directions.Efstathiou said researchers should be able to account for this lopsidedness without invoking new physics, but he left open more tantalizing possibilities, such as our universe’s being just one of many in a vast multiverse. That is music to the ears of New York University physicist Matthew Kleban, who plans to scour Planck data for evidence that our universe collided with another one in the distant past. “It’s much too early to say what [the anomalies] mean, but it looks like there is some very interesting work to be done,” he says.
The Planck data also delivered an unexpectedly low rate of expansion for the universe, a figure called the Hubble constant that describes how dark energy is increasingly stretching the fabric of space. “This is one of the most exciting parts of the data,” says Martin White, a Planck scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. “The hope would be that this is actually pointing to extra physics we’re not aware of.”Planck has already provided enough data to keep physicists busy for years, but it is not done yet. The telescope is still making observations, and in about a year researchers will add another heap of data to the mix. “Cosmologists will be climbing a mountain to make sense of the Planck data,” Easther says.
2) Researchers Alter Mosquito Genome With Goal of Controlling Disease:
|Researchers Alter Mosquito Genome With Goal of Controlling Disease|
Virginia Tech researchers successfully used a gene disruption technique to change the eye color of a mosquito -- a critical step toward new genetic strategies aimed at disrupting the transmission of diseases such as dengue fever. Zach Adelman and Kevin Myles, both associate professors of entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and affiliated researchers with the Fralin Life Science Institute, study the transmission of vector-borne diseases and develop novel methods of control, based on genetics.In a groundbreaking study published this week in the journal PLOS One, the scientists used a pair of engineered proteins to cut DNA in a site-specific manner to disrupt a targeted gene in the mosquito genome. Science magazine heralded these transcription activator-like effector nuclease proteins, known as TALENS, as a major scientific breakthrough in 2012, nicknaming them "genomic cruise missiles" for their ability to allow researchers to target specific locations with great efficiency.
While TALENS have been previously used to edit the genomes of animal and human cell cultures, applying them to the mosquito genome is a new approach, according to Adelman."Unlike model organisms with large collections of mutant strains to draw upon, the lack of reverse genetic tools in the mosquito has made it is very difficult to assign functions to genes in a definitive manner," Adelman said. "With the development of this technology, our understanding of the genetic basis of many critical behaviors such as blood-feeding, host-seeking and pathogen transmission should be greatly accelerated."
To test the capability of TALENs to specifically edit the mosquito genome, the scientists designed a pair of TALENS to target a gene whose protein product is essential to the production of eye pigmentation in Aedes aegypti, a mosquito species known for its transmission of the viruses that cause dengue fever.
Using the TALEN pair to edit the gene in the mosquito's germ cells early in development, they were able to change the eye color of a large percentage of the mosquitoes arising in the next generation from black to white."To date, efforts to control dengue transmission through genetics have focused entirely on adding material to the mosquito genome. Ensuring that this added material is expressed properly and consistently has been a challenge," Adelman said. "This technology allows us to pursue the same goals, namely, the generation of pathogen-resistant mosquitoes, through subtraction. For example, removing or altering a gene that is critical for pathogen replication."
"Aedes mosquitoes have become increasingly important as vectors of disease from a public health perspective," said George Dimopoulos, a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at John Hopkins University who was not involved in the study. "The lack of vaccines and drugs for dengue has left the mosquitoes that carry the virus as one of the most promising targets for controlling the disease. A better understanding of how the virus infects the mosquito and other biological properties of the insect will be required to develop intervention strategies that can block virus transmission by the mosquito. The ability to genetically engineer mosquitoes is essential for the study of such biological functions. The TALEN-based system in mosquitoes that that was developed by Dr. Adelman provides this important capacity."Co-authors of the study include Azadeh Aryan, a Ph.D. student in the department of entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Michelle A.E. Anderson, a research technician in the department of entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
3) Quantum Computers Counting On Carbon Nanotubes:
|Quantum Computers Counting On Carbon Nanotubes|
Carbon nanotubes can be used as quantum bits for quantum computers. A study by physicists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) has shown how nanotubes can store information in the form of vibrations. Up to now, researchers have experimented primarily with electrically charged particles. Because nanomechanical devices are not charged, they are much less sensitive to electrical interference.
Using quantum mechanical phenomena, computers could be much more powerful than their classical digital predecessors. Scientists all over the world are working to explore the basis for quantum computing. To date most systems are based on electrically charged particles that are held in an "electromagnetic trap." A disadvantage of these systems is that they are very sensitive to electromagnetic interference and therefore need extensive shielding. Physicists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen have now found a way for information to be stored and quantum mechanically processed in mechanical vibrations.
Playing a nano-guitar
A carbon nanotube that is clamped at both ends can be excited to oscillate. Like a guitar string, it vibrates for an amazingly long time. "One would expect that such a system would be strongly damped, and that the vibration would subside quickly," says Simon Rips, first author of the publication. "In fact, the string vibrates more than a million times. The information is thus retained up to one second. That is long enough to work with."
Since such a string oscillates among many physically equivalent states, the physicists resorted to a trick: an electric field in the vicinity of the nanotube ensures that two of these states can be selectively addressed. The information can then be written and read optoelectronically. "Our concept is based on available technology," says Michael Hartmann, head of the Emmy Noether research group Quantum Optics and Quantum Dynamics at the TU Muenchen. "It could take us a step closer to the realization of a quantum computer."
4) Scientists Develop Innovative Twists to DNA Nanotechnology:
|Scientists Develop Innovative Twists to DNA Nanotechnology|
In a new discovery that represents a major step in solving a critical design challenge, Arizona State University Professor Hao Yan has led a research team to produce a wide variety of 2-D and 3-D structures that push the boundaries of the burgeoning field of DNA nanotechnology.
The field of DNA nanotechnology utilizes nature's design rules and the chemical properties of DNA to self-assemble into an increasingly complex menagerie of molecules for biomedical and electronic applications. Some of the Yan lab's accomplishments include building Trojan horse-like structures to improve drug delivery to cancerous cells, electrically conductive gold nanowires, single molecule sensors and programmable molecular robots.
With their bio-inspired architectural works, the group continues to explore the geometrical and physical limits of building at the molecular level.
"People in this field are very interested in making wire frame or mesh structures," said Yan. "We needed to come up with new design principles that allow us to build with more complexity in three dimensions."In their latest twist to the technology, Yan's team made new 2-D and 3-D objects that look like wire-frame art of spheres as well as molecular tweezers, scissors, a screw, hand fan, and even a spider web.The Yan lab, which includes ASU Biodesign Institute colleagues Dongran Han, Suchetan Pal, Shuoxing Jiang, Jeanette Nangreave and assistant professor Yan Liu, published their results in the March 22 issue of Science.
The twist in their 'bottom up,' molecular Lego design strategy focuses on a DNA structure called a Holliday junction. In nature, this cross-shaped, double-stacked DNA structure is like the 4-way traffic stop of genetics -- where 2 separate DNA helices temporality meet to exchange genetic information. The Holliday junction is the crossroads responsible for the diversity of life on Earth, and ensures that children are given a unique shuffling of traits from a mother and father's DNA.
In nature, the Holliday junction twists the double-stacked strands of DNA at an angle of about 60-degrees, which is perfect for swapping genes but sometimes frustrating for DNA nanotechnology scientists, because it limits the design rules of their structures."In principal, you can use the scaffold to connect multiple layers horizontally," [which many research teams have utilized since the development of DNA origami by Cal Tech's Paul Rothemund in 2006]. However, when you go in the vertical direction, the polarity of DNA prevents you from making multiple layers," said Yan. "What we needed to do is rotate the angle and force it to connect."
Making the new structures that Yan envisioned required re-engineering the Holliday junction by flipping and rotating around the junction point about half a clock face, or 150 degrees. Such a feat has not been considered in existing designs."The initial idea was the hardest part," said Yan. "Your mind doesn't always see the possibilities so you forget about it. We had to break the conceptual barrier that this could happen."
In the new study, by varying the length of the DNA between each Holliday junction, they could force the geometry at the Holliday junctions into an unconventional rearrangement, making the junctions more flexible to build for the first time in the vertical dimension. Yan calls the backyard barbeque grill-shaped structure a DNA Gridiron."We were amazed that it worked!" said Yan. "Once we saw that it actually worked, it was relatively easy to implement new designs. Now it seems easy in hindsight. If your mindset is limited by the conventional rules, it's really hard to take the next step. Once you take that step, it becomes so obvious."
The DNA Gridiron designs are programmed into a viral DNA, where a spaghetti-shaped single strand of DNA is spit out and folded together with the help of small 'staple' strands of DNA that help mold the final DNA structure. In a test tube, the mixture is heated, then rapidly cooled, and everything self-assembles and molds into the final shape once cooled. Next, using sophisticated AFM and TEM imaging technology, they are able to examine the shapes and sizes of the final products and determine that they had formed correctly.
This approach has allowed them to build multilayered, 3-D structures and curved objects for new applications."Most of our research team is now devoted toward finding new applications for this basic toolkit we are making," said Yan. "There is still a long way to go and a lot of new ideas to explore. We just need to keep talking to biologists, physicists and engineers to understand and meet their needs."
5) Megavolcanoes Tied to Pre-Dinosaur Mass Extinction: Apparent Sudden Climate Shift Could Have Analog Today:
|Megavolcanoes Tied to Pre-Dinosaur Mass Extinction: Apparent Sudden Climate Shift Could Have Analog Today|
Scientists examining evidence across the world from New Jersey to North Africa say they have linked the abrupt disappearance of half of earth's species 200 million years ago to a precisely dated set of gigantic volcanic eruptions. The eruptions may have caused climate changes so sudden that many creatures were unable to adapt -- possibly on a pace similar to that of human-influenced climate warming today. The extinction opened the way for dinosaurs to evolve and dominate the planet for the next 135 million years, before they, too, were wiped out in a later planetary cataclysm.
In recent years, many scientists have suggested that the so-called End-Triassic Extinction and at least four other known past die-offs were caused at least in part by mega-volcanism and resulting climate change. However, they were unable to tie deposits left by eruptions to biological crashes closely in time. This study provides the tightest link yet, with a newly precise date for the ETE--201,564,000 years ago, exactly the same time as a massive outpouring of lava. "This may not quench all the questions about the exact mechanism of the extinction itself. However, the coincidence in time with the volcanism is pretty much ironclad," said coauthor Paul Olsen, a geologist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory who has been investigating the boundary since the 1970s.The new study unites several pre-existing lines of evidence by aligning them with new techniques for dating rocks. Lead author Terrence Blackburn (then at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; now at the Carnegie Institution) used the decay of uranium isotopes to pull exact dates from basalt, a rock left by eruptions. The basalts analyzed in the study all came from the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), a series of huge eruptions known to have started around 200 million years ago, when nearly all land was massed into one huge continent. The eruptions spewed some 2.5 million cubic miles of lava in four sudden spurts over a 600,000-year span, and initiated a rift that evolved into the Atlantic Ocean; remnants of CAMP lavas are found now in North and South America, and North Africa. The scientists analyzed samples from what are now Nova Scotia, Morocco and the New York City suburbs. (Olsen hammered one from a road cut in the Hudson River Palisades, about 1,900 feet from the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge.)
Previous studies have suggested a link between the CAMP eruptions and the extinction, but other researchers' dating of the basalts had a margin of error of 1 to 3 million years. The new margin of error is only a few thousand years -- in geology, an eye blink. Blackburn and his colleagues showed that the eruption in Morocco was the earliest, with ones in Nova Scotia and New Jersey coming about 3,000 and 13,000 years later, respectively. Sediments below that time contain pollen, spores and other fossils characteristic of the Triassic era; in those above, the fossils disappear. Among the creatures that vanished were eel-like fish called conodonts, early crocodilians, tree lizards and many broad-leaved plants. The dating is further strengthened by a layer of sediment just preceding the extinction containing mineral grains providing evidence of one of earth's many periodic reversals of magnetic polarity. This particular reversal, labeled E23r, is consistently located just below the boundary, making it a convenient marker, said coauthor Dennis Kent, a paleomagnetism expert who is also at Lamont-Doherty. With the same layers found everywhere the researchers have looked so far, the eruptions "had to be a hell of an event," said Kent.
The third piece of chronological evidence is the sedimentary layers themselves. Sedimentary rocks cannot be dated directly -- one reason why the timing of the extinction has been hard to nail. Olsen and some others have long contended that Earth's precession -- a cyclic change in the orientation of the axis toward the sun and resulting temperature changes -- consistently created layers reflecting the alternate filling and drying of large lake basins on a fairly steady 20,000-year schedule. This idea is well accepted for more recent time, but many scientists have had doubts about whether it could be applied much farther back. By correlating the precisely dated basalts with surrounding sedimentary layers, the new study shows that precession operated pretty much the same way then, allowing dates with a give or take of 20,000 years to be assigned to most sediments holding fossils, said Olsen.
Olsen has painstakingly cataloged the layers around the time of the End Triassic, and the initial phase of the extinction occurs in just one layer -- meaning the event took 20,000 years at most. But, he said, "it could have taken much less. This is the level of resolution we have now, but it's the 'less' part that is the more important, and that's what we are working on now."Many scientists assume that giant eruptions would have sent sulfurous particles into the air that darkened the skies, creating a multi-year winter that would have frozen out many creatures. A previous study by Kent and Rutgers University geochemist Morgan Schaller has also shown that each pulse of volcanism doubled the air's concentration of carbon dioxide -- a major component of volcanic gases. Following the cold pulses, the warming effects of this greenhouse gas would have lasted for millennia, wiping out creatures that could not take too much heat. (It was already quite hot to begin with at that time; even pre-eruption CO2 levels were higher than those of today.) Fossils show that heat-sensitive plants especially suffered; there is also evidence that the increased CO2 caused chemical reactions that made the oceans more acidic, causing populations of shell-building creatures to collapse. As if this were not enough, there is also some evidence that a large meteorite hit Earth at the time of the extinction--but that factor seems far less certain. A much stronger case has been made for the extinction of the dinosaurs by a meteorite some 65 million years ago -- an event that opened the way for the evolution and dominance of mammals, including human beings. Volcanism may have been involved in that extinction as well, with the meteorite delivering the final blow.)
The End Triassic was the fourth known global die-off; the extinction of the dinosaurs was the fifth. Today, some scientists have proposed that we are on the cusp of a sixth, humanmade, extinction. Explosive human population growth, industrial activity and exploitation of natural resources are rapidly pushing many species off the map. Burning of fossil fuels in particular has had an effect, raising the air's CO2 level more than 40 percent in just 200 years -- a pace possibly as fast, or faster, than that of the End Triassic. Resulting temperatures increases now appear to be altering ecosystems; and CO2 entering seawater is causing what could be the fastest ongoing acidification of the oceans for at least the last 300 million years, according to a 2012 study. "In some ways, the End Triassic Extinction is analogous to today," said Blackburn. "It may have operated on a similar time scale. Much insight on the possible future impact of doubling atmospheric CO2 on global temperatures, ocean acidity and life on earth may be gained by studying the geologic record."
Paul Renne, a researcher at the Berkeley Geochronology Center in California, who studies the End Triassic but was not involved in the Science paper, said the study was "part of a growing pattern in which we see that the major ecosystem crises were triggered" by volcanism. He said the new data "make the case stronger than it was. … The pendulum continues to swing in favor of that idea." Of the actual mechanism that killed creatures, he said climate change was the most popular suspect. But, he added, "We still don't have any way yet of knowing exactly how much CO2 was put into the atmosphere at that time, and what it did. If we did, we would then be able to say to people, 'Look folks, this is what we're facing now, and here's what we have to do about it. But we don't know that yet."
Movie Release This Week:
1) Olympus Has Fallen:
|Olympus Has Fallen|
When the White House (Secret Service Code: "Olympus") is captured by a terrorist mastermind and the President is kidnapped, disgraced former Presidential guard Mike Banning finds himself trapped within the building. As our national security team scrambles to respond, they are forced to rely on Banning¹s inside knowledge to help retake the White House, save the President and avert an even bigger disaster. Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) directs an all-star cast featuring Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Ashley Judd, and Rick Yune
2) InAPPropriate Comedy:
A no-holds barred sketch movie starring Academy Award-winner Adrien Brody as “Flirty Harry,” a tough, no nonsense cop with a soft middle and a flair for fashion; Rob Schneider in a dual role as both a sleazy, horny psychologist and a curmudgeonly porn critic alongside his enthusiastic counterpart Michelle Rodriguez; Lindsay Lohan living out her fantasy of taking an ultimate revenge on the salivating paparazzi who haunt her, and Ari Shaffir as “The Amazing Racist,“ whose hilariously offensive hidden-camera encounters with members of different ethnic and minority groups push everyone’s buttons.
3) A Resurrection:
A Resurrection is the story of a down to earth high school psychologist who tries to help a mentally ill student who actually believes his brother is returning from the grave for revenge on the students who killed him. He’s a tough egg to crack and as he slowly feeds her clues into his brother’s mysterious death, she has her sheriff’s deputy fiancé verify the less than believable and vague information. And before she can get his mind right, she unwittingly falls into his plot to keep her and the other students locked in the school until his brother can arrive at six along with the evil spirit that now inhabits him, keeping him alive until he can take his six souls and leave him whole again.
4) The Croods (3D Animation) :
|The Croods in 3D|
The world's very first prehistoric family goes on a road trip to an uncharted and fantastical world.
5) Love & Honor:
|Love & Honor|
When DALTON JOINER, a young soldier in Vietnam, gets dumped by his hometown girlfriend JANE, he vows to sneak home during the war to win her back. His best buddy, MICKEY WRIGHT, never one to miss out on a wild time, decides to go with him. They must get back to America, change her mind and return to the war without getting caught. The two soldiers end up at the University of Michigan, where they find JANE, now JUNIPER, and her stunning and passionate new friend CANDACE, right in the heart of the counter culture - and the anti-war movement. During one week in July 1969, while the rest of the world focuses on man's first steps on the moon, Wright and Joiner learn the true meaning of love, honor and commitment.
Political News This Week:
1) Diplomacy wins the day, Italian marines to return:
|Diplomacy wins the day, Italian marines to return|
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said the Supreme Court can be informed about the development next week as per legal procedures. Diplomacy continues to work, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said on Friday after Italy agreed to send back two of its marines to face trial for killing two Indian fishermen last year."You shouldn't write off diplomacy too soon. At least one can say diplomacy continues to work when every one else thinks everything else has failed. Please give diplomacy a little more chance to do what needs to be done," Khurshid told reporters here.
"The diplomacy that we do under this government is obviously given a direction by the prime minister and Congress president, it is the government that is led by them. For anyone else among us to take credit for it would be unbecoming," he added.The minister added that the Supreme Court can be informed about the development next week as per legal procedures. He also said that he would take parliament into confidence over the development.
|Diplomacy wins the day, Italian marines to return|
"We will take parliament on board, this will be shared with parliament, because this was a very huge issue while parliament was in session," he added.
The Italian marines were on anti-pirate duty aboard cargo ship Enrica Lexie off India's coast in Kerala in February last year when they shot the two fishermen mistaking them to be pirates.Italy insists the shooting happened in international waters and New Delhi does not have jurisdiction over the matter.
Italian news agency ANSA quoted Rome as saying that "it has asked and obtained from the Indian authorities written guarantees of the treatment and the recognition of the two marines' fundamental rights as recognized by international law"."Following diplomatic contacts #Italy informed that Marines will return to #India in accordance with timeline provided to Supreme Court," external affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin tweeted.
In another post, he said: "Intensive diplomatic contacts in last 24 hrs led 2 #Italy informing that Marines will return as per time line set by Supreme Court of #India."Minister of State for Home R.P.N Singh said: "This is the result of tough stand of the government articulated by the prime minister in Lok Sabha. I think that is something that we should be clear on and the opposition should take note of that as they have always seems to be pointing at the prime minister and the government."
Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini had given an undertaking to the Supreme Court that the marines - Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone - would return to India by March 22 after voting in the Italian national elections.Following this, the court had Feb 22 permitted to leave India to vote in the elections, with the promise that they would return in four weeks.But March 11, the Italy informed India the marines would not be sent back, leading to a diplomatic stand off. The ambassador was restrained by the apex court from leaving India for reneging on his word.Italy's refusal to send back the two marines had caused a political storm in India with opposition parties slamming the government for its handling of the issue.Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had assured that the government will do "whatever needs to be done" to bring back the two Italian marines.UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi had termed Italy's refusal as "outright unacceptable".
"No country can, should or will be allowed to take India for granted," she had told Congress MPs March 19.
2) Sanjay Dutt's 20-year nightmare:
|Sanjay Dutt's 20-year nightmare|
The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt's conviction in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case and sentenced him to five years imprisonment. Dutt, who has already served 18 months of his term in prison, has four weeks to surrender.Dutt, who was convicted under the Arms Act for illegally possessing weapons, had been awarded six years imprisonment by the TADA (Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act) court.However, the apex court reduced the sentence from six years to five years. This effectively means that Dutt will be in jail for three years and six months as he has already undergone 18 months imprisonment.
March 12, 1993: Mumbai rocked by 12 bomb blasts between 1:33 pm to 3:40 pm which killed around 257 people and injured another 713. Property worth Rs. 27 crore was damaged in the blasts.
April 19, 1993: Police escorts Sanjay Dutt on his arrival from Mauritius, saying an AK-56 rifle found in his house was from the consignment of arms smuggled into India before the blasts. He is arrested.
April 26, 1993: Sanjay Dutt admits to the charges in his confession. But later retracts.
May 3, 1993: Sanjay Dutt released on bail.
November 1993: A 90,000-page long primary chargesheet was filed against the 189 accused in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case including Sanjay Dutt.
July 4, 1994: Bail cancelled and he is re-arrested.
October 16, 1995: After spending nearly 16 months in jail, Sanjay Dutt again gets bail.
March 2006: When framing murder charges against extradited Abu Salem and co-accused Riyaz Siddiqui in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case, the prosecution said that Salem delivered 9 AK-56 rifles and some hand grenades to Dutt at his Bandra house in the second week of January 1993.
November 27, 2006: TADA court delivering verdict in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case summons Sanjay Dutt.
November 28, 2006: Sanjay Dutt is found guilty under Arms Act but is acquitted in all cases related to TADA.
February 13, 2007: The special branch of Mumbai police arrested Abdul Qayyum Abdul Karim Shaikh, a close aide of Dawood Ibrahim and wanted by Mumbai Police Special Task Force for his role in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts from Mumbai. Qayuum had been named by Sanjay Dutt in his confessional statement. Dutt had said that he met Qayuum in Dubai in September 1992 and bought a pistol from him. According to CBI, the pistol was sold to Sanjay at the instance of Dawood's brother Anees Ibrahim.
July 2007: Sanjay Dutt convicted for illegal possession of a 9 mm pistol and an AK-56 rifle but acquitted of more serious charges under the now defunct Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA) law and sentenced to six years jail term.
August 2, 2007: Sanjay Dutt re-arrested. Taken to Yerawaada Jail in Pune.
August 20, 2007: Sanjay Dutt Dutt granted bail by Supreme Court.
August 23, 2007: Dutt is released from jail.
October 22, 2007: Dutt is back in jail but again applied for bail.
November 27, 2007: Dutt is granted bail by the Supreme Court.
January 2009: Dutt announced that he would contest the 2009 Lok Sabha elections on the Samajwadi Party ticket.
March 2009: Withdraws his candidacy after the Supreme Court refused to suspend his conviction, the Samajwadi Party instead named him the General Secretary of the party.
December 2010: Leaves the post of Samajwadi Party General Secretary due to many controversies.
August 2012: Dutt admitted meeting underworld don Dawood Ibrahim once at a dinner that was hosted by him in Dubai. He responded in the negative to the Supreme Court's query if he had any friendship with the don. The court was told that the said dinner related to the period prior to the 1993 serial bomb blasts and that was the only occasion that the actor met the don, suspected to be in Pakistan.
August 2012: Dutt told the Supreme Court that his offence of possessing a rifle and ammunition was not linked to the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts. Appearing for the actor, senior counsel Harish Salve told the apex court bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan that he came to possess the weapon in September 1992 when his father Sunil Dutt and sisters were facing threats as the senior Dutt's help to Muslim victims annoyed some
3) Karunanidhi clarifies why DMK pulled out of UPA:
|Karunanidhi clarifies why DMK pulled out of UPA|
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi on Wednesday clarified that his party’s decision to withdraw from the United Progressive Alliance was taken only when the Union government failed to consider properly his party’s proposals for amendments to the text of the proposed resolution before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
In a statement here, he referred to reports that the United States-sponsored original resolution had been watered down after acceptance and appreciation by India of the revision.When asked for reaction to Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s poser on the change of mind of the DMK before Parliament could adopt a resolution, Mr. Karunanidhi reiterated his point and said there was credible information that no strong language was employed against the Sri Lankan government after the text was revised for the fourth time, leaving no scope for inclusion of the DMK’s proposals of amendments.
He wondered whether it was possible to amend further the US-sponsored resolution as the deadline was over for the submission of proposals in writing.
Mr. Karunanidhi also referred to Mr. Chidambaram’s observation that when Union Minister Kamal Nath had held discussions with parties on the issue of resolution to be adopted by Parliament, many did not accept the move.In the statement, Mr. Karunanidhi claimed that Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and sections of the media against him, sought to portray his position as if it would suffice if a resolution was passed by Parliament instead of the UNHRC adopting resolution.
4) Raid shocks Congress, PM 'very upset':
|Raid shocks Congress, PM 'very upset|
The news of the CBI raid on the house of M.K. Stalin, DMK chief M. Karunanidhi son, sent greater shock waves in the Congress and the central government than the ally's pullout barely two days ago.An angry Sonia Gandhi immediately summoned V. Narayanasamy, in charge of the CBI as minister of personnel, to understand what happened, while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chose to publicly express anguish over the action.
There was an overwhelming feeling in the Congress and the government that they could have done without the political vendetta slur. But senior ministers lost no time in convincing the party leadership that the raids could be an instance of "mischief" as no political order or sanction had been given. They argued that the mischief was reflected in the timing even though there was a three-month-old probe requiring searches.While Narayanasamy promptly ordered an informal inquiry to find out the truth, the Prime Minister took the extraordinary decision of speaking publicly on a CBI case.
Singh said the government was "very upset". "The timing of the raid is unfortunate. The government didn't do it. We will find out who is responsible."
Parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath, too, was summoned by Sonia. He later said: "However much we condemn, it would be less. It looks targeted."
Finance minister P. Chidambaram was the most worried man as the directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI), under his ministry, had referred the complaint about illegal import of vehicles in Tamil Nadu to the CBI three months ago."Normally, I don't comment on the functioning of another ministry or department but I am dismayed and have conveyed it to the minister concerned," Chidambaram said, alluding to Narayanasamy's department. Narayanasamy later said: "We are inquiring into how and why the CBI went to Mr Stalin's residence. There is no case against him."
Another senior minister, Kapil Sibal, echoed the "mischief" theory. "Somebody has played mischief having full knowledge of the political situation."
This is probably the first time a CBI raid has triggered such responses from top central ministers.Asked if these reactions did not amount to interference in the so-called autonomous functioning of the CBI, Congress spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit said: "Nobody is blocking the CBI but the Prime Minister has the right to express his apprehension about an act being politically misinterpreted. He is only talking about the timing."Responding to other queries , Dikshit said: "We are not talking about the merits of the case but the timing is unfortunate. We have no hand in it but there are all kinds of interpretations. We would not like to antagonise our allies at this moment.Asked if the reactions of the ministers would not deter the CBI, he said: "The BJP always attributes political motives to CBI but that does not deter them."Many Congress leaders insisted relations with the DMK were still cordial and such a plot was unthinkable.But several other senior party leaders conceded the swoop had come as a huge embarrassment as they watched the BJP pounce on the raid to buttress its charge that the Congress targets political rivals through the CBI and that today's action was aimed at scaring Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati. The duo face assets cases.The Congress leaders were a bit relieved in the evening when DMK chief Karunanidhi suggested he believed the Congress central ministers' claim that they hadn't ordered the swoop.But some of the Congress leaders continued to suspect internal sabotage to embarrass and weaken Prime Minister Singh.
The CBI issued a media statement dispelling the perception that it was targeting Stalin."During searches conducted at 18 locations today, 17 imported cars have been located and seized. The CBI wishes to clarify that the above operation was strictly in accordance with procedures and there was no intention whatsoever to target any particular individual. Investigation is in progress."
5) Karnataka goes to polls on May 5:
|Karnataka goes to polls on May 5|
Assembly polls in Karnataka will be held in a single-phase on May 5, while counting of votes will take place on May 8.Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath, who made this announcement at a press conference here, said all adequate measures would be taken to ensure free and fair polls."Election Commission will continuously monitor the ground situation and take adequate measures to ensure free and fair polls," he added.
Sampath said the Election Commission has directed media certification committees to dispose off 'paid news' cases in a time-bound manner."No election related officials or police officers will be in his or home district. Those who have completed three years in a district will be transferred out. All significant election related activity will be video-graphed," he added.With the announcement of poll dates, the model code of conduct has come into force in Karnataka with immediate effect.
The tenure of the current 224-member Karnataka Assembly is set to expire on June 3.
Karnataka is currently ruled by the BJP, which is struggling ever since former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa left the party and formed his own political outfit.
The Congress goes into the assembly polls with an edge as it was way ahead of the BJP in the recently concluded urban local body elections in Karnataka. While the BJP's tally deteriorated to 907 seats, the Congress bounced back by winning 1,906 seats.Karnataka is also the first big state to go to polls after the elevation of Rahul Gandhi as the Congress Vice-President.
Sports News This Week:
1) India seal Australia series after third straight win:
|India seal Australia series after third straight win|
he home side now has a 3-0 lead in the four-match series.
Never in their 81-year Test history, had India won more than two matches against Australia in a single series.
After bowling out Australia for 223 in their second innings, India chased down the target of 133 with 15 balls remaining before close of play.he home side now has a 3-0 lead in the four-match series.The hosts encountered some tense moments in their run chase before skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni smashed three fours in a row off Mitchell Starc seal the match.Earlier, it was a defiant 65-minute last-wicket stand between Starc and Xavier Doherty, during which Australia consumed 18.1 overs for 44 runs to ensure the Indians, at least, would not run away with the game before the start of the 15 mandatory overs.When the final hour started, India required 45 runs from a minimum of 15 overs. They completed the chase losing the wickets of Murali Vijay (26), Cheteshwar Pujara (28), Virat Kohli (34) and Sachin Tendulkar (21).
Dhoni (18) and Ravindra Jadeja (8) were at the crease when the winning runs were scored.In the process, India reclaimed the Border-Gavaskar trophy, which they relinquished after a 0-4 drubbing in Australia last year.The victory was achieved on the back of some fine batting by debutant Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay, both scoring big centuries in India's first innings.Dhawan smashed 187, his 100 coming off a mere 85 balls, making him the quickest-ever debutant to the three-figure mark.India will now push for a clean sweep when the fourth and final Test starts in New Delhi on Friday.Not to be left behind were the host spinners, who accounted for 14 of the 20 Australians wickets to fall in the match.With Australia resuming on 75 for 3, the Indian spinners again worked their magic and bundled out the visitors for 223 in their second innings, setting India an achievable target to win in a minimum of 27 overs (plus 15 mandatory overs).During his knock, Pujara, who opened the innings in place of Dhawan, who could not take to the field on the final day due to an injury on his left knuckle, completed 1000 runs in the country to become the 34th Indian to achieve the landmark.
Excluding the one-off Test victory way back in 1996, this is the fifth time India have won the Border-Gavaskar trophy.After the damage was inflicted on Australia by the spinners, India started the chase on a confident note, with both Vijay and Pujara playing some delightful shots before getting out to Doherty and Lyon. Kohli made 34 before being dismissed by Peter Siddle Earlier, Doherty and Starc's spirited effort could only delay the inevitable.Left-arm spinner Jadeja was once again the most effective bowler for the hosts, returning with impressive figures of three for 35 – his all three wickets, including that of Australian skipper Michael Clarke, coming on the final day.
There were two wickets apiece for fellow left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha and off-break bowler Ravichandran Ashwin. Ashwin leads the wickets tally in the series with 22 scalps, followed by Jadeja who has 17 to his name, reflecting the Indian spinners' dominance.Young pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar had taken three wickets on Sunday evening to rock Australia’s top-order. India grabbed the remaining seven Australian wickets in the two sessions on Monday while giving away 148 runs.Ashwin and Jadeja finished the innings after the last-wicket pair of Mitchell Starc (35) and Xavier Doherty added 44 runs in 65 minutes, and, more importantly, consuming 18 overs.Nathan Lyon, Michael Clarke, overnight batsman Phillip Hughes (69), Mosies Henriques, Peter Siddle, Brad Haddin [ Images ] and Starc were the batsmen dismissed on Monday, which left India within sniffing distance of winning their third straight Test against Australia.India, since playing their first official match 81 years ago in 1932, have never won more than two matches against Australia in the longer format of the game.
Jadeja again turned out to be the star performer, picking the wickets of Henriques and Clarke before lunch – this was the fifth time in six outings that the Saurashtra player had taken the Australian skipper's wicket.He then packed off the innings by claiming Starc's wicket.Earlier, after night-watchman Lyon was caught behind off Ojha for the day's first wicket in the innings' 28th over, in walked Clarke, who demoted himself in the batting order due to a recurring sore back.
Clarke survived 49 balls for his 18 while hitting three boundaries, before Jadeja came back to get his bunny, caught at forward short-leg by Pujara who held on the catch after the Aussie got an inside edge onto his pads.There was some confusion over his dismissal, but the umpire checked with the third umpire to clear his doubts.In a deep hole at 119 for five, and with their captain gone, a bad decision by Aleem Dar only added to Australia's woes.Ravichandran Ashwin hit Hughes on the pads but the ball pitched outside leg and didn't straighten enough to hit the stumps.Woefully out of form prior to this innings, Hughes dug in for 165 minutes before becoming a victim of a bad decision. He struck 11 fours and a six during his 147-ball 69.Jadeja then pulled off a blinder of a catch to dismiss Henriques. After luring the batsman to go for it, he stretched full-length to his left to pull off a diving catch.After being lofted over long-off for a six by Peter Siddle, Ojha had his man when he knocked over his off-stump to leave Australia stuttering at 143 for eight before lunch.
2) Afghan league points the way for football development:
|Afghan league points the way for football development|
Afghanistan's fledgling soccer league started out with a reality show, has turned into one soccer's unlikeliest success stories and is now considered a model for football development elsewhere.Inaugurated last year, the Afghan Premier League featured eight teams from different regions, whose players were chosen from a reality show called Maidan-e-Sabz (Green Field).Their ability was tested in a number of challenges, including one that involved running through mud and water, with the victors winning places in their local squad.
Although a far cry from a conventional European-style league, it was broadcast live on television and radio and matches were played in front of a full house.
"It is remarkable," Thierry Regenass, development director at soccer's governing body FIFA, told a round table of reporters from international news agencies.
"It is a huge success on TV, the investors are happy, the clubs and players get money from this league and you have football played in Afghanistan."
Regenass said there had been equally unlikely success stories in Mauritania, Ethiopia, Somalia and American Samoa."I'm sure nobody has heard of the league in Mauritania," he said. "But there's new management, a dynamic young guy with lots of ideas who wanted to revive the league.
"He needed to show images of television and so with our performance programme, we helped him set up a TV studio where they can produce a weekly one-hour programme on football which is shown on national television."We'll see at the end of the project if it works or not, but we certainly want it to work because that's the way to try and do it.
Regenass said that development of football was the main reason for the existence of FIFA, which is usually associated with the World Cup and had attracted unwanted headlines for a series of corruption scandals over the last three years."FIFA is famous for making a lot of money with the World Cup, but FIFA doesn't make money just for the sake of it, FIFA makes money to invest in football either through competition or through development programmes," said Regenass.
"Over the last 15 years, while the revenue of FIFA has increased tenfold, the money invested in football development has increased by 50 times, so the more money FIFA makes in the future, the more will be invested in football development."FIFA has faced criticism that some programmes have been used in return for political favours or, in some cases, the money has not gone to its intended destination.In 2011, FIFA launched a formal investigation after Worawi Makudi, a FIFA executive committee member from Thailand, was accused of spending $860,000 in football development grants for projects on land he personally owns.
FIFA eventually cleared him of any wrongdoing.
"In the end, the problem was solved because the proper property title has been made and we had it verified by independent lawyers," said Regenass.
"We should have been more careful at some point but this has been corrected and I'm certain that we want to avoid any case where the money is not efficiently spent, for the objective it has been decided."Regenass said that overall, he was satisfied that the money ended up where it was intended."I think we can be proud of what we do, although, yes, sometimes it didn't work," he said.
"There are a few other places where projects are not what they should have been but, over the 209 countries, in the overwhelming majority the result and the impact has been positive."We cannot control everything in 209 countries and territories and we need to rely on the local process, we make sure that MAs (member associations) themselves have the processes in place to verify accounts and be transparent."I have been at FIFA for four-and-a-half years and it's been my objective to keep the development work and people non political," he said."If you look at the current setup, I think it's pretty apolitical, although it can still be improved."
3) Jennifer Capriati charged for punching and 'stalking' ex:
|Jennifer Capriati charged for punching and 'stalking' ex|
Jennifer Capriati was charged on Thursday, after police said she punched her former boyfriend on Valentine's Day while he was working out at a gym.
Palm Beach County court records show that the 36-year-old tennis player has been issued a summons to appear before a judge on April 17 on stalking and battery charges, though she has not been arrested, News.com.au reported.
North Palm Beach police said that Ivan Brannan had been exercising when the former World number 1 approached him and yelled at him.
Brannan told the police that he tried to get away from Capriati by walking to the men's locker room, but she blocked his path and punched him in his chest.
Brannan told police that he and Capriati separated in 2012 and that she has harassed and stalked him since then.