|Animated Clipping of News Week -46|
|Collage of Newsweek 46|
Science News This Week:
1) 'Missing link'? Oldest primate skeleton tells new tale of our origins:
|'Missing link'? Oldest primate skeleton tells new tale of our origins|
Researchers generally don't care for the term "missing link," but in the case of the oldest articulated primate skeleton ever discovered, paleontologist Christopher Beard says the missing-link label might almost be merited."It certainly in some ways could qualify for that term, in the sense that it's a hybrid, or a mosaic," he told NBC News. "It shows a combination of features that we've never seen before in any living or fossil primate. ... But I still would caution against it, because it's a loaded term."
More importantly, the mortal remains of a mouse-sized creature that lived 55 million years ago in China could provide new insights into our evolutionary roots — such as the incredibly small size and frenetic eating habits of our ancient forebears.
The fossil creature has been dubbed Archicebus achilles. Ni and his colleagues don't claim that the species is directly linked to monkeys, apes and humans, on a branch of the family tree known as anthropoids. Instead, they put it on the next branch over, which gave rise to a different group of modern-day primates called tarsiers. Despite that placement, Archicebus' skeleton shows some anthropoid characteristics — for example, a foot that's proportioned more like a monkey's foot than a tarsier's.The skeleton "suggests that the common ancestor of tarsiers and anthropoids was in some ways more similar than most scientists have thought," said Northwestern University's Marian Dagosto, another member of the research team.The findings also lend weight to the idea that primates started out small: Archicebus weighed no more than an ounce and was no bigger than the smallest present-day primate, the pygmy mouse lemur.
How it lived
Archicebus lived 10 million years after the demise of the dinosaurs, during an era of rapid global warming known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. The climate was hot enough for early primates to move into more northern latitudes. "It was literally a great time to be a primate," Beard said. He compared the creature's lakeside habitat in China to "a 'Planet of the Apes' before there were apes."The shape of Archicebus' teeth suggests that it dined on insects. "Animals that are that size have to eat foods like insects that are very rich in calories in order to maintain their high metabolic rate. ... It was probably a frenetic animal," Beard said.
It wasn't the only primate out there. Researchers have found the fossilized remains of creatures from other branches of the primate family tree from around the same time or earlier, in Montana and Mississippi as well as Europe and Asia. That implies that the common ancestor of all primates lived well before Archicebus came onto the scene, and that its progeny spread out quickly.
How it was found
Ni came across the fossil during a field trip to China's Hubei Province a decade ago. A local farmer had found the rock in a quarry, and agreed to donate it to Ni's institute. When the rock was split open, it revealed impressions of the primate on each side of the two halves. The researchers had both rock surfaces scanned with X-rays at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in France, so that the fossil could be studied non-destructively in 3-D virtual reality.
The researchers made more than 1,000 measurements of the virtual bones, and compared them with the anatomical characteristics of 157 types of mammals. That's what led them to put Archicebus near the bottom of the tarsier branch of the primates' family tree.
Ni and his colleagues say their findings add to the evidence suggesting that Asia, rather than Africa, was the evolutionary point of origin for primates. But Bloch said there's still some question about that. When it comes to early primates, "we don't have a window to that time yet," he told NBC News.In any case, Bloch was pleased to hear that Archicebus' skeleton was scanned into virtual space. "That's exciting, because I believe it will allow the rest of us to study the specimen in the same detail that they did," he said.
2) Lizard king thrived in ancient warm climate:
|Lizard king thrived in ancient warm climate|
The herbivorous reptile of 40 million years ago was around 2 meters long. A giant plant-eating lizard that lived 36 to 40 million years ago might have had a warm climate to thank for its impressive size, paleontologists say. They have named the species Barbaturex morrisoni for rock ’n’ roll singer Jim Morrison, who called himself the Lizard King.
In the 1970s, scientists found fossil teeth and skull fragments from the ancient lizard in Myanmar. A team led by Jason Head of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, including one of the fossil’s original discoverers, has now analyzed the specimen for the first time.
By comparing the size of the fossil’s teeth to those of modern lizards, the researchers estimate that the fossil lizard king was around 2 meters long and weighed 30 kilograms. This makes it the largest known herbivorous lizard. The team suggests June 5 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B that perhaps modern plant-eating lizards are smaller because today’s cooler climate makes it more difficult for cold-blooded reptiles to digest plants.
3) Three-Billion-Year-Old Microfossils Include Plankton:
|Three-Billion-Year-Old Microfossils Include Plankton|
Spindle-shaped inclusions in three-billion-year-old rocks are microfossils of plankton that probably inhabited the oceans around the globe during that time, according to an international team of researchers. "It is surprising to have large, potentially complex fossils that far back," said Christopher H. House, professor of geosciences, Penn State, and lead author.
However, the researchers not only showed that these inclusions in the rocks were biological in origin, but also that they were likely planktonic autotrophs -- free-floating, tiny ocean organisms that produce energy from their environment.The researchers looked at marine sediment rocks from the Farrel Quartzite in Western Australia. Isotopic analysis using secondary ion mass spectrometry was carried out at UCLA. "Ken (Kenichiro Sugitani, professor, Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Japan, and a co-author) discovered these unusually shaped microfossils embedded in really old rock," said House.
To determine if these inclusions were actually biological in origin, the researchers looked at 15 different samples of Farrel Quartzite and determined their stable carbon isotope ratios. The percentage of carbon 13 in the microfossils was indicative of material produced by biological processes. They found that the carbon 13 percentage in the background organic matter in the surrounding rock was different from that of the microstructures.
"When considered along with published morphological and chemical studies, these results indicate that the Farrel Quartzite microstructures are bona fide microfossils, and support the interpretation that the spindles were planktonic," the researchers report in the current issue of Geology. The morphological and chemical studies were done by Sugitani and Dorothy Oehler, who is also a co-author and research scientist, Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Directorate, NASA -- Johnson Space Center.The spindle-shaped microfossils are from 20 to 60 microns in length, about the size of fine sand and within the size range of today's microplankton.Stable carbon isotope analysis can determine the biological origin of these microfossils because they used carbon dioxide to create energy and incorporated the carbon into themselves. During this process, the organisms selectively incorporate more carbon 12 than carbon 13 from the available carbon, producing a signature of biological origin.Oehler notes that the spindles appear to be the same as those found in rocks from the Strelly Pool Formation in Western Australia and the Onverwacht Group in South Africa and Swaziland that are both 3.4 billion years old."The existence of these microfossils in diverse locations as far back as 3.4 billion years ago suggests that the oceans probably had life in them for a very extended period of time," said Oehler. "Moreover, this has implications beyond what we have done here, suggesting the evolution of diverse life proceeded quickly."
4) MRI Study: Breastfeeding Boosts Babies' Brain Growth:
|MRI Study: Breastfeeding Boosts Babies' Brain Growth|
A study using brain images from "quiet" MRI machines adds to the growing body of evidence that breastfeeding improves brain development in infants. Breastfeeding alone produced better brain development than a combination of breastfeeding and formula, which produced better development than formula alone.
A new study by researchers from Brown University finds more evidence that breastfeeding is good for babies' brains.The study made use of specialized, baby-friendly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look at the brain growth in a sample of children under the age of 4. The research found that by age 2, babies who had been breastfed exclusively for at least three months had enhanced development in key parts of the brain compared to children who were fed formula exclusively or who were fed a combination of formula and breastmilk. The extra growth was most pronounced in parts of the brain associated with language, emotional function, and cognition, the research showed.This isn't the first study to suggest that breastfeeding aids babies' brain development. Behavioral studies have previously associated breastfeeding with better cognitive outcomes in older adolescents and adults. But this is the first imaging study that looked for differences associated with breastfeeding in the brains of very young and healthy children, said Sean Deoni, assistant professor of engineering at Brown and the study's lead author.
"We wanted to see how early these changes in brain development actually occur," Deoni said. "We show that they're there almost right off the bat."
The findings are in press in the journal NeuroImage and available now online.Deoni leads Brown's Advanced Baby Imaging Lab. He and his colleagues use quiet MRI machines that image babies' brains as they sleep. The MRI technique Deoni has developed looks at the microstructure of the brain's white matter, the tissue that contains long nerve fibers and helps different parts of the brain communicate with each other. Specifically, the technique looks for amounts of myelin, the fatty material that insulates nerve fibers and speeds electrical signals as they zip around the brain.Deoni and his team looked at 133 babies ranging in ages from 10 months to four years. All of the babies had normal gestation times, and all came from families with similar socioeconomic statuses. The researchers split the babies into three groups: those whose mothers reported they exclusively breastfed for at least three months, those fed a combination of breastmilk and formula, and those fed formula alone. The researchers compared the older kids to the younger kids to establish growth trajectories in white matter for each group.
The study showed that the exclusively breastfed group had the fastest growth in myelinated white matter of the three groups, with the increase in white matter volume becoming substantial by age 2. The group fed both breastmilk and formula had more growth than the exclusively formula-fed group, but less than the breastmilk-only group."We're finding the difference [in white matter growth] is on the order of 20 to 30 percent, comparing the breastfed and the non-breastfed kids," said Deoni. "I think it's astounding that you could have that much difference so early."Deoni and his team then backed up their imaging data with a set of basic cognitive tests on the older children. Those tests found increased language performance, visual reception, and motor control performance in the breastfed group.The study also looked at the effects of the duration of breastfeeding. The researchers compared babies who were breastfed for more than a year with those breastfed less than a year, and found significantly enhanced brain growth in the babies who were breastfed longer -- especially in areas of the brain dealing with motor function.Deoni says the findings add to a substantial body of research that finds positive associations between breastfeeding and children's brain health.
"I think I would argue that combined with all the other evidence, it seems like breastfeeding is absolutely beneficial," he said.
5) Quantum Teleportation Between Atomic Systems Over Long Distances:
|Quantum Teleportation Between Atomic Systems Over Long Distances|
Researchers have been able to teleport information from light to light at a quantum level for several years. In 2006, researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute succeeded in teleporting between light and gas atoms. Now the research group has succeeded in teleporting information between two clouds of gas atoms and to carry out the teleportation -- not just one or a few times, but successfully every single time.
The results are published in the scientific journal, Nature Physics."It is a very important step for quantum information research to have achieved such stable results that every attempt will succeed," says Eugene Polzik, professor and head of the research center Quantop at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.The experiments are conducted in the laboratories of the research group in the basement under the Niels Bohr Institute. There are two glass containers, each containing a cloud of billions of caesium gas atoms.
The two glass containers are not connected to each other, but information is teleported from the one glass cloud to the other by means of laser light. The light is sent into the first glass container and then that strange quantum phenomenon takes place, the light and gas become entangled. The fact that they are entangled means that they have established a quantum link -- they are synchronised.Both glass containers are enclosed in a chamber with a magnetic field and when the laser light (with a specific wavelength) hits the gas atoms, the outermost electrons in the atoms react -like magnetic needles -- by pointing in the same direction. The direction can be up or down, and it is this direction that makes up quantum information, in the same way that regular computer information is made up of the numbers 0 and 1.The gas now emits photons (light particles) containing quantum information. The light is sent on to the other gas container and the quantum information is now read from the light and registered by a detector. The signal from the detector is sent back to the first container and the direction of the atoms' electrons are adjusted in relation to the signal. This completes the teleportation from the second to the first container.
The experiments are carried out at room temperature and the gas atoms therefore move at a speed of 200 meters per second in the glass container, so they are constantly bumping into the glass wall and thus lose the information they have just been encoded with. But the research group has developed a solution for this.
"We use a coating of a kind of paraffin on the interior of the glass contains and it causes the gas atoms to not lose their coding, even if they bump into the glass wall," explains Professor Eugene Polzik. It sounds like an easy solution, but in reality it was complicated to develop the method. Another element of the experiment was to develop the detector that registers the photons. Here the researchers developed a particularly sensitive detector that is very effective at detecting the photons. The experiments therefore works every single time.But it is one thing to perform tests in a laboratory and quite another to apply it in wider society! In the experiment, the teleportation's range is ½ meter -- hardly impressive in a world where information must be transported around the world in no time.
"The range of ½ meter is entirely due to the size of the laboratory," explains Eugene Polzik with a big smile and continues -- "we could increase the range if we had the space and, in principle, we could teleport information, for example, to a satellite." The stable results are an important step towards the quantum communication network of the future.
Movie Release This Week:
Rapturepalooza, with Craig Robinson starring as the Anti-Christ. Chris Matheson wrote the script and Paul Middleditch will direct. Mosaic and Ed Solomon are producing, with production to begin in the spring.
2) 2 + 2 :
|2 + 2|
Diego (Adrían Suar) and Richard (Juan Minujín) are two renowned cardiovascular surgeons who own an important specialist hospital located in Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires. Diego is married to Emilia (Julieta Díaz), a weather forecaster, with whom he has a 14 year old son called Lucas (Tomás Wicz) and an organized family life. Richard is in a ten-year relationship with Betina (Carla Peterson), a fashion designer; they have no children and a more unstructured life. One night, after Diego and Richard are given an recognition for their work at a congress, the two couples go out and have dinner to celebrate. In the restroom, Betina reveals to Emilia that she and Richard are swingers and that they should go to a swinger party with them. That night, Emilia can not stop thinking about it and awakens Diego to tell him. In the following days Emilia tries to be more sexually active and urges Diego to go to the party. Although he is uncomfortable with the idea, he accepts.
3) Dirty Wars:
It’s the dirty little secret of the War on Terror: all bets are off, and almost anything goes. We have fundamentally changed the rules of the game and the rules of engagement. Today drone strikes, night raids, and U.S. government–condoned torture occur in corners across the globe, generating unprecedented civilian casualties. Investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill (author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Mercenary Army) traces the rise of the Joint Special Operations Command, the most secret fighting force in U.S. history, exposing operations carried out by men who do not exist on paper and will never appear before Congress. No target is off-limits for the JSOC “kill list,” even a U.S. citizen. Director Richard Rowley takes us on a chilling ride with whistle-blower Scahill. Dirty Wars is a battle cry for the soul and conscience of an America few of us know exists
4) Tiger Eyes:
Tiger Eyes tells the story of Davey, a 17 year old girl abruptly relocated by her grieving mother to the strange "atom bomb" town of Los Alamos, New Mexico. With the sudden and violent death of her father, everything that once mattered suddenly seems insignificant. But while exploring the surrounding canyons Davey meets Wolf, a mysterious young Native-American who is able to see past her pain. The connection they make brings Davey back from the edge and sets her on a journey from heartbreak and confusion to love and life after tragedy.
Based on the best-selling book, Syrup is an edgy comedy that exposes the cut-throat world of advertising through the eyes of a young prodigy chasing fame, fortune, and the woman of his dreams. Fresh out of school with a degree in marketing, Scat will do anything to prove that he has what it takes to swim with the rich and wildly successful. Scat comes up with a brilliant new product that gives new meaning to the old saying “sex sells.” He is sure it will send him right to the top…if only he can convince his boss, the beautiful and mysterious “6,” that it's an idea worth millions. Betrayed by his best friend “Sneaky Pete,” Scat stumbles through an industry riddled with deception. As he begins to realize that fame and fortune have cost him his morality, he must rediscover his true self behind the elaborate image he has created or risk losing the love of his life. In a world where the average person sees over eight hundred ads in a single day, Syrup takes a biting look at the insidious—and often ridiculous—side of advertising. Crackling with romance and humor, this razor-sharp satire leaves you guessing and laughing until the end.
Political News This Week:
1) Centre returns Mamata government's bill against Ponzi funds:
|Centre returns Mamata government's bill against Ponzi funds|
The centre has returned to the West Bengal government the Bill passed by the state assembly in April to reign in ponzi firms.Sources said the central government asked the state to correct a provision related to giving retrospective effect to the bill.Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said earlier this week that his ministry had put in its comments on the legislation which would be soon sent back to the state government after seeking the opinion of other ministries.
The West Bengal Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishment Bill, 2013 was passed during a special session of the state assembly April 30, a fortnight after the Saradha Group scam broke out.The legislation empowers officials to raid premises and search documents to seize and confiscate property.
The Mamata Banerjee led state government had brought the bill to control ponzi firms after the Saradha Group companies went bust mid-April, unable to repay lakhs of mostly poor depositors from rural areas.Several heartbroken depositors and ponzi firm agents have committed suicide since the scam came to light.
2) Food Security Bill: Pawar against bringing ordinance:
|Food Security Bill: Pawar against bringing ordinance|
Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Friday said he was not in favour of bringing an ordinance on the Food Security Bill, and would prefer if the bill is discussed in parliament and then passed as law."If there is a question between ordinance and parliament, I would prefer the latter," said Pawar when asked where he stood on the UPA Government's proposed earlier move to issue an ordinance on the Food Security Bill.
Pawar's comment came even as media reported that the National Food Security Bill may now to be brought before Parliament during its Monsoon Session.
This is the latest indication from the government and the Congress Party on the ambitious measure with the talk of promulgation of an ordinance or convening of a special session of Parliament receding.Congress sources have said that there could be a move to advance the Monsoon Session while a Union Minister said that the strategy ahead on the issue would be decided by next week.On Thursday, Food Minister K V Thomas met Congress president Sonia Gandhi to discuss the issue.
Gandhi is keen to push her pet project that seeks to provide legal rights to 67 per cent of the population over a uniform quantity of five kilograms of foodgrains at a fixed price of Rs 1-3 per kg through ration shops.The Food Ministry, the nodal department to implement the proposed law, itself is not much in favour of an ordinance to implement the food security law.Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath is also said to be having several rounds of discussions on the best way forward in tabling the Bill in parliament.The Bill was tabled in the Budget session but could not be taken up for discussion because of pandemonium in the Lok Sabha over various scams.The Congress sees the Bill as a gamechanger ahead of the next general elections.Apart from Pawar, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh and some other ministries have voiced their opposition to adopting the ordinance route to implement the proposed food law."Ordinance should be the last resort," Ramesh has been quoted, as saying.Finance Minister P.Chidambaram has said no decision has been made so far on the proposed Bill and added that it could take some time to be passed.
3) Spot-fixing: Raj Kundra, Shilpa Shetty placed bets on matches, says police:
|Spot-fixing: Raj Kundra, Shilpa Shetty placed bets on matches, says police|
Rajasthan Royals co-owner Shilpa Shetty had placed bets on a cricket match on at least one occasion, a friend of the Bollywood actor's husband Raj Kundra has told Delhi Police investigators.This man, a businessman named Umesh Goenka, was questioned over four days by the Delhi Police Special Cell this week after Royals cricketer Siddharth Trivedi told investigators that Goenka frequently asked him for information on team composition and pitch conditions during the IPL's sixth season. Trivedi is now a witness for the police.
"Goenka has said in his statement that Shilpa placed bets once," Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar told The Indian Express on Thursday evening. "Goenka himself is a bookie, and we are investigating his links with the other leaders of the betting syndicate whom we have identified," Kumar said.Earlier on Thursday, Kumar had confirmed that Shilpa's husband Kundra — who was questioned for over 12 hours by the Special Cell on Wednesday — had been heavily involved in betting on cricket matches.Amid a storm of angry tweets by the actor, accusing the media of "casting aspersions" and making "derogatory statements", Kumar told ANI that Kundra placed bets through Goenka, including on the performance of his own team. Kundra had also suffered heavy losses in the process, Kumar said.The Delhi Police said they did not intend to immediately arrest Kundra because their investigation was focussed on spot- and match-fixing, and not betting. This line is different from the one taken by Mumbai Police, who arrested CSK team principal Gurunath Meiyappan only on suspicion of betting.Police have, however, seized Kundra's passport, and asked him to be available whenever he is called.Sources in the police claimed Kundra had confessed to interrogators that he had been betting for the past three years, and had so far lost around a crore of rupees. Kundra had been called in after Goenka told investigators that he had bet on Kundra's behalf, the sources said.
4) Political parties in Karnataka united in fight for Cauvery River waters:
|Political parties in Karnataka united in fight for Cauvery River waters|
Political parties in Karnataka have vowed to stay united in their fight to ensure their state gets its fair share of the Cauvery River waters.
A decision to this effect was takenat an all party meeting on Thursday.The meeting was attended by top leaders of the Congress party, the Janata Dal-Secular (JDS), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP).Interacting with the reporters after the meeting, Janata Dal-Secular leader H.D. Kumaraswamy, said that all parties were committed to fight for the common interest of people of the state."From the previous, several years all the parties, we together (collectively) fought against this Cauvery issue. Now, even now also we will support, we will go into fight, all the parties together. This is the interest of the entire state for that there will be no agenda for differences in any party," he said.
Political parties in Karnataka claim that the chairman of the supervisory committee that was nominated by the country's apex court to address the water-sharing issue between it and Tamil Nadu was not performing his duties properly.Sharing of waters of River Cauvery has been a bone of contention between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu for over three decades.Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had said on June 2 that the state could not release Cauvery waters to Tamil Nadu, as reservoirs across the river basin were nearly dry following a severe drought.The Supreme Court had directed Karnataka to share waters of the Cauvery River with neighbouring Tamil Nadu in October 2012.
5) I don't have money to pay your salaries, Vijay Mallya tells Kingfisher Airlines employees:
|I don't have money to pay your salaries, Vijay Mallya tells Kingfisher Airlines employees|
Kingfisher Airlines chairman Vijay Mallya on Friday told his agitating employees, who began a hunger strike, that he did not have money to clear their salary dues. "I don't have the money to pay your salary dues, because I cannot use the proceeds from the United Spirits-Diageo deal for this due to an injunction from the Karnataka High Court," Mallya reportedly told the striking employees.The employees of the grounded airline have been on a hunger-strike since Thursday at the Kingfisher House in Mumbai seeking salaries which have not been paid since last August. Mallya told the employees that the airline's chief executive Sanjay Agarwal would hold meetings with them.
The employees, however, said the meetings with Mallya earlier did not yield any results and that they would continue with their hunger strike. In November 2012, Mallya clinched a deal with British liquor major Diageo to sell majority 53.4 per cent stake in United Spirits for Rs 11,166 crore. The deal also involves Mallya selling 19.3 per cent of his personal/promoter holding in United Spirits to Diageo for a consideration of Rs 5,742 crore. Kingfisher employees were expecting Mallya to bring in funds from the proceeds of the Diageo deal.Driven by mounting losses, the airline, which never made any profit since inception in May 2005, has remained grounded since last October and the regulator DGCA cancelled its flying licence in December. "As many as 60-70 employees are currently on an indefinite hunger strike at the Kingfisher House near the domestic airport," sources said late Thursday evening.
Though the flamboyant chairman Vijay Mallya has been promising relaunch since February 2013, nothing has happened so far. Meanwhile, the 17 lenders to the airline, which owes them nearly Rs 7,500 in principle, excluding arrears since January 2012, have sold sureties and shares of the airline as well as group companies worth around Rs 1,000 crore so far as part of their recovery process.
Sports News This Week:
1) Dhawan ton powers India to win over South Africa:
|Dhawan ton powers India to win over South Africa|
Shikhar Dhawan struck a maiden one-day international century to help India beat injury-hit South Africa by 26 runs and leave the Champions Trophy favourites on the back foot after the opening game overnight.India, hurt by spot-fixing allegations in their home Twenty20 tournament, forgot their worries to seize the initiative in Group B after smacking 331 for seven off their 50 overs and watching South Africa fail to get close.
The gamble to open with Colin Ingram backfired when he was caught in the slips for six and despite Ryan McLaren hammering 71 not out, the Proteas were bowled out for 305. India opener Dhawan, in his sixth ODI, scored 114 off 94 balls as he stylishly dominated the inconsistent South African bowling which was already without stricken paceman Dale Steyn and lost Morne Morkel to a groin strain when bowling mid-over."We got off to a really good start," India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni told the post-match ceremony. "The boys played with plenty of aggression but at the same time it was controlled."The ICC's second 50-over tournament, set to be the final Champions Trophy with a world Test championship slated for 2017, opened with a video by Britain's Prince Charles - the Prince of Wales - welcoming teams and fans to Cardiff.Early temperatures were still lower than average for Britain in June but openers Dhawan and Rohit Sharma soon warmed up the Indian-dominated crowd at a less than full Sophia Gardens.With the South African field up for the first 10-over powerplay, the pair took advantage with a series of graceful shots as the bowlers struggled to extract any real movement.
South Africa captain AB De Villiers said talisman Steyn should be fit for the second game against Pakistan on Monday and on this evidence, his attack desperately need him back, especially if Morkel is a doubt.India reached 53-0 after 10 overs and never looked back despite Sharma falling for 65 when he was caught by Robin Peterson off the bowling of McLaren, who ended up as the only South African bowler with any credit with three for 70.Dharwan had a life on 70 when Morkel failed to pick up a hook at deep backward square and the ball sailed over his head for four after another bad ball by the struggling Rory Kleinveldt.
2 ) Cricket: Royals face IPL suspension amid betting row:
|Cricket: Royals face IPL suspension amid betting row|
Former Indian Premier League champions Rajasthan Royals faced suspension from the cash-rich tournament on Friday after its co-owner admitted to betting on the Twenty20 matches.The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has called an emergency meeting of its working committee in New Delhi on Monday to discuss the fate of the team which is captained by Rahul Dravid."We have taken cognisance of the Raj Kundra issue. We are going to discuss it in our meeting on June 10 and if necessary, stringent measures will be taken," BCCI interim head Jagmohan Dalmiya told reporters late Thursday.
Raj Kundra, co-owner of the Royals alongside his Bollywood actress and former Big Brother contestant wife Shilpa Shetty, has admitted to illegal gambling on the competition, according to police. He has since been ordered to hand over his passport.According to an agreement between the BCCI and IPL sides, if any franchise group or owner acts in a way which has a "material adverse effect" on the reputation of the BCCI or the league, then their agreement will be terminated.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Royals said in a statement that Kundra would be suspended if "proven guilty"."We believe that Mr. Raj Kundra is a law abiding citizen and would not act contrary to law. If however, he is proven guilty, or has breached any regulations, he will be suspended, and he will also forfeit his shares," the statement said."This is a strict governance procedure agreed to by all Rajasthan Royals shareholders, and it is consistent with our zero tolerance approach."
The statement added that Kundra is an 11.7 percent shareholder in Rajasthan Royals and that "he has no involvement in the running of the franchise".
Rajasthan Royals, who won the inaugural IPL edition in 2008 under Australian spin legend Shane Warne, have already been thrown out of the IPL before because of ownership issues.But the 2010 decision was reversed when an Indian court overturned the expulsion.
Another IPL side, Chennai Super Kings, is also facing heat after its executive Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of BCCI chief N. Srinivasan, was arrested for alleged betting on IPL matches.Dalmiya said the Chennai team's case would be decided only after a probe panel set up last month by the BCCI submits its report.
Three Royals players and numerous bookmakers are among those arrested over allegations of spot-fixing and betting during the recently-completed edition of the IPL.Test paceman Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and two of his teammates have been accused of deliberately bowling badly in specific IPL matches in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars after striking deals with bookies.A court this week denied them bail after police said they now had evidence, including telephone intercepts, linking international organised crime syndicates to the scandal.The betting and fixing scandal has shaken confidence in the game and enraged fans across cricket-mad India.
3) Serena Williams & Maria Sharapova Facing Off In French Open Final:
|Serena Williams & Maria Sharapova Facing Off In French Open Final|
The tennis tournament at Roland Garros has set up perfectly on the women’s side. After winning their semifinals matches, Serena and Maria will go head-to-head in a star-studded French Open final on June 8.
Even though the results were the same, there wasn’t much similar about Serena and Maria’s semifinals matches. The 31-year-old Serena defeated Sara Errani in straight sets for one of the most dominating victories of her career, while Maria couldn’t get in a groove all day and had to grind out a win against Victoria Azarenka.
“I didn’t necessarily go out there and I was feeling great,” Serena said in her post-match press conference. “For me, it was more like let’s just see what happens and try to do the best I could.”
Maria better be ready for Serena’s best, because she’s definitely bringing it right now. Her win over Sara Errani was her 30th straight victory. The French Open final at Roland Garros matches up two of the most decorated female players of this generation, and their rivalry has been well-established, even though it’s been lopsided. Maria has lost her last 12 matches against Serena and has not beaten Serena since 2004 at Wimbledon.
“I’d be lying if it doesn’t bother me, obviously,” said Maria, who won the 2012 French Open. “I don’t think that it would be a pretty competitive statement if I said I didn’t. I would love to change that around.”Serena, who is going for her second French Open title, is definitely the favorite — and she might be in Maria’s head.
4) Saina Nehwal crashes out of Thailand Open:
|Saina Nehwal crashes out of Thailand Open|
Defending champion Saina Nehwal's hopes of retaining her Thailand Grand Prix Gold title went up in smoke as she suffered a stunning three-game defeat to Singapore's Juan Gu in the quarter-finals of the women's singles competition here today.The world number two Indian lost 21-13 12-21 18-21 to eighth seed Juan in a 53-minute match at the Nimitbutr National Stadium here. This was Saina's first defeat to the Singaporean in six encounters.
In the first game, Saina opened up a slender 4-2 lead but Juan continously put pressure on her and caught up with the Indian at 9-9. The 23-year-old from Hyderabad then registered two points to move into the breather with a two-point cushion.Saina then slowly started widening the gap and accumulated points at will to pocket the first game.World number 23 Juan came back strongly in the second round and turned the heat on Saina, moving into the break at 11-7. The China-born Singaporean didn't give Saina much chance to fightback and roared into the contest at 21-12.Saina begun the decider with a 5-2 lead but Juan turned the tables soon to hold the advantage at 11-10. Saina once again bounced back to lead 15-13 but the Singaporean showed immense character in wresting back the lead at 19-15 and then shut the door on the Indian.
5) Chhetri keeps option of playing for Asian clubs open:
|Chhetri keeps option of playing for Asian clubs open|
A "frustrated" Sunil Chhetri is not ready to just warm benches at Sporting Lisbon B team and may consider plying his trade at top Asian clubs if he does not get to play with the Portuguese side.Chhetri, who joined the reserve side of the top Portuguese side last July, is now uncertain of his immediate future but he has made it clear that he does not want to spend his remaining one year at the club without playing matches."I am leaving for Portugal very soon and speak to the people at the club, including the coach. I will speak to them and find out what they want from me.I will also express my views and get the feedback. Accordingly, I will decide what to do," said Chhetri who just played five games for Sporting Lisbon B in the six months he was there."As of now I can't tell anything what I would be doing. I have one more year left with Sporting Lisbon but I want to play matches and not sit at the benches," he said.
Chhetri said trying for some top Asian clubs could be an option."Yes, I will consider trying for Asian clubs. That is an option. But as I said I am not going to take any decision now. After I speak to people at Sporting Lisbon, I will think over what to do, whether to go for another loan or look for other options," said Chhetri who played for I-League-winning Churchill Brothers on loan.Chhetri, who has played for 66 international matches for India since 2005, has not had a happy career at clubs outside the country. He was signed by English side Queens Park Rangers for a three-year deal in 2009 but it did not work as he could not get the work permit, necessary to play in England as India was ranked below 70 in FIFA charts.The diminutive Delhi player then signed in 2010 for Major League Soccer side Kansas City Wizards which later changed name to Sporting Kansas. There also, he did not feature in a single MLS match in his one-year stint, though he played for a game in Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.Talking about the national football scene, Chhetri said he was not concerned about All India Football Federation's decision to change the format of I-League to conference style but would prefer changes in the scheduling, including doing away with playing under intense heat conditions.
"As a player I am not concerned with which format I am going to play. Whether it's MLS style conference format or otherwise I have no issues. But I think the AIFF should do away with these matches which starts at 2pm or 3pm," he said."I remember matches at Salt Lake Stadium which we have to play after having lunch. Leave alone playing a football match, we could not even walk properly. The heat that comes up from the synthetic pitch, you cannot expect a footballer to play in those conditions," he added.He also said that the dates for I-League matches should not be changed.
"If the match date scheduled is say Jan 10, then the match should be held on that date and should not be changed without any rhyme or reason," he said.
Chhetri also rued that the national team was not getting enough international matches.Asked about India getting to play just two international friendlies this year so far, Chhetri said, "International matches are important to rise in FIFA rankings and to improve the profile of Indian football."Asked if he has been in line to sign for the much-hyped IPL-style football tournament to be jointly organised by the AIFF and its commercial partners IMG-Reliance, Chhetri said, "Nobody knows in concrete terms about the tournament. It's all in flux and so I would not want to comment much."I have had talks with the IMG on general things and not about signing to play in that tournament," he said.Chhetri met Sachin Tendulkar in Mumbai in a football event recently and he said he was bowled by the cricket icon's humility and passion for his game.
New Books of This Week:
|he Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession|
A mysterious portrait ignites an antiquarian bookseller’s search through time and the works of Shakespeare for his lost love
Guaranteed to capture the hearts of everyone who truly loves books, The Bookman’s Tale is a former bookseller’s sparkling novel and a delightful exploration of one of literature’s most tantalizing mysteries with echoes of Shadow of the Wind and A.S. Byatt's Possession.
Hay-on-Wye, 1995. Peter Byerly isn’t sure what drew him into this particular bookshop. Nine months earlier, the death of his beloved wife, Amanda, had left him shattered. The young antiquarian bookseller relocated from North Carolina to the English countryside, hoping to rediscover the joy he once took in collecting and restoring rare books. But upon opening an eighteenth-century study of Shakespeare forgeries, Peter is shocked when a portrait of Amanda tumbles out of its pages. Of course, it isn’t really her. The watercolor is clearly Victorian. Yet the resemblance is uncanny, and Peter becomes obsessed with learning the picture’s origins.
As he follows the trail back first to the Victorian era and then to Shakespeare’s time, Peter communes with Amanda’s spirit, learns the truth about his own past, and discovers a book that might definitively prove Shakespeare was, indeed, the author of all his plays.
|by Charlie Lovett|
by Charlie Lovett
Charlie Lovett is a writer, teacher, and playwright, whose plays for children have been seen in more than 3,000 productions. He is a former antiquarian bookseller and an avid book collector. He and his wife, Janice, split their time between Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Kingham, Oxfordshire, in England.