|Animated Collage of Headlines of NewsWeek(54)|
|Collage of NewsWeek (54)|
Science News This Week:
1) Oxygen boost aided carnivore evolution in Cambrian Explosion:
|Oxygen boost aided carnivore evolution in Cambrian Explosion|
Atmospheric change and rise of predators caused burst in complexity of life.
A rise in oxygen more than half a billion years ago paved the way for the origin of the first carnivores. The meat eaters in turn triggered the Big Bang of animal evolution, researchers argue.The major groups of modern animals — everything from insects to creatures with a backbone — popped up 540 million to 500 million years ago in a proliferation known as the Cambrian Explosion. Fossil and molecular evidence hint that the most primitive animals appeared a couple hundred million years earlier, leading scientists to wonder about the cause of the lag.
Now scientists have stitched together earlier theories to come to a comprehensive explanation. Erik Sperling, an earth scientist at Harvard University, and colleagues say an increase in oxygen in the geologic record at the onset of the Cambrian period allowed carnivores to evolve. The oxygen boost could have accommodated the high energy costs of pursuing and digesting prey, Sperling says.Once carnivores arrived, an evolutionary arms race broke out between predator and prey, the team suggests July 29 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. As prey evolved new defenses and predators developed new weapons, new kinds of animals sprung up.Support for the oxygen-carnivore theory comes from modern polychaetes, tiny earthworm relatives that live on the seafloor and vary in their feeding habits. Combing through data from previous studies on polychaetes, Sperling’s team examined 962 worm species from 68 locations worldwide. The researchers found a clear association: The number of carnivorous species was lower in areas with the lowest oxygen levels. In some of these regions, predatory polychaetes were completely absent.Previously, scientists either invoked an oxygen increase or an arms race to account for the Cambrian Explosion, says Guy Narbonne, a paleobiologist at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Linking oxygen to carnivores provides strong evidence that the two explanations are “intimately interrelated,” he says.
Paleobiologist Nicholas Butterfield of the University of Cambridge sees the data differently. He thinks the rise of oxygen was actually an effect of the animals on the environment. He contends that shallow marine areas, where early animals most likely lived, were probably well oxygenated and therefore a lack of the gas did not stifle their evolution. It just took a while for a burst of complex animals to arise from simpler ones, he says. “It takes a whole lot of tinkering and experimenting and false starts until you trip over something that works.”
2) News in Brief: Mummified Incan teen drank, did drugs:
|News in Brief: Mummified Incan teen drank, did drugs|
Girl, who was sacrificed, may have been sedated by alcohol, coca leaves.
In the month before her death as a sacrifice to Incan gods, a teenage girl drank heavily and chewed coca leaves, according to a new analysis of her mummified remains. The discovery suggests that the girl, known as the Maiden, was heavily sedated or perhaps already dead when she was entombed around 500 years ago in a shrine atop the Llullaillaco volcano on the border between Argentina and Chile. Her death was probably part of the sacrifice ritual called capacocha.
CT scans of the girl’s body exposed a mass of coca leaves tucked into her left cheek, an international team reports July 29 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Chemical analyses of her hair reveal that her coca use peaked about 6 months before her death, while her drinking spiked in her final weeks. A young boy entombed at the site also appears to have ingested relatively large amounts of alcohol; levels for the third body, a young girl, vary over the months before her death.Unlike other mummified capacocha victims, who show signs of being whacked in the head, the cause of death of the Llullaillaco mummies remains unknown.
3) News in Brief: Tigers meet, mix in forest corridors:
|News in Brief: Tigers meet, mix in forest corridors|
Endangered tigers’ habitats have been carved up in central India, but the cats still prowl through strips of forest that connect these far-flung populations, a new study finds. These corridors enable the estimated 273 tigers in the area to intermingle and stay genetically strong, researchers report online July 30 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.Using historical data and genetic analyses, Sandeep Sharma of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, D.C., and his colleagues illuminated the tigers’ story: In recent centuries, as roads, factories, mining operations and railroads started to impinge on wild terrain, India’s tiger population splintered into smaller, distinct groups. But several of these groups remain connected by tendrils of pristine forest, the researchers found, allowing the cats to maintain a healthy mix of genes.
Currently, these forest pathways have no legal protection in India. A mining company has just applied for a lease that would sever one corridor in the study, Sharma says. Such a split could be devastating for the tiger population, he says.
4) New Protein Discovered With Vast Potential for Treatment of Cancer and Other Diseases:
|New Protein Discovered With Vast Potential for Treatment of Cancer and Other Diseases:|
In cancer research, discovering a new protein that plays a role in cancer is like finding a key and a treasure map: follow the clues and eventually there could be a big reward. At least that's the hope from a new study published in the journal Nature that discovered a novel protein called ceramide-1 phosphate transport protein (CPTP) -- a finding that could eventually lead to the development of new drugs to treat a variety of cancers and other conditions involving inflammation and thrombosis, or blood clotting.
The identification of CPTP was the result of an international collaboration that built on prior research by co-lead author Charles Chalfant, Ph.D., Endowed Chair of Cancer Cell Signaling and member of the Cancer Cell Signaling program at Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center as well as professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at VCU School of Medicine. The team discovered that CPTP regulates levels of biologically active lipids, which are molecules such as fatty acids that often play a role in cell signaling. As its name implies, this study determined that CPTP's main function is to transport ceramide-1-phosphate (C1P), a lipid that helps regulate cell growth, survival, migration and inflammation. Specifically, C1P increases the production of pro-inflammatory eicosanoids -- powerful signaling molecules that contribute to chronic inflammation in diseases such as cancer, asthma, atherosclerosis and thrombosis -- and the discovery of CPTP shines a light on the cellular mechanisms that contribute to these diseases.
"We may have identified the newest target for treating cancer," says Chalfant. "Because of the important role this protein plays in a number of cellular functions, it could also have large implications for a variety of diseases like cancer that are caused by inflammation."With assistance from Massey's Lipidomics Developing Shared Resource core, the researchers were able to determine the composition of the bioactive lipids regulated by CPTP. Residing in the cytosol, or the liquid within cells, the team found that CPTP regulates catabolism of C1P, a process that breaks down the molecule in order to release its energy. They also demonstrated that CPTP transports C1P to the cellular membrane where it helps synthesize eicosanoids from fatty acids in the membrane.
Confirming a decade of research from Chalfant's laboratory, the scientists provided further proof that C1P regulates group IVA phospholipase A2, an enzyme that promotes inflammation through the production of a fatty acid known as arachidonic acid. The release of arachidonic acid via C1P activation of this enzyme was shown to trigger the production of eicosanoids. These findings help to explain the reported link between ceramide kinase, the enzyme responsible for C1P production, and poor prognosis in breast cancer patients, which further suggests that alleviation of systemic inflammation may lead to better prognosis and better treatment responses."Moving forward, we hope to use our knowledge of the structure of CPTP in order to find small molecules and other means that can block it," says Chalfant. "The immediate uses of such therapeutics might be to restore clotting in trauma patients by maintaining the levels of specific eicosanoids that mediate blood clotting. However, with further research we hope to define exactly how CPTP is produced so that we can regulate its production and potentially develop new treatments for a variety of diseases.
5) Hide, Ambush, Kill, Eat: The Giant Water Bug Lethocerus Patruelis Kills a Fish:
|Hide, Ambush, Kill, Eat: The Giant Water Bug Lethocerus Patruelis Kills a Fish:|
The giant water bug Lethocerus patruelis is the largest European true bug and the largest European water insect. The adult bugs reach an impressive 8 cm in length, and the largest representatives of the same family are even bigger -- up to almost 12 cm. A new article published in the open access journal Zookeys provides detailed information on karyotype and the chromosome behavior, the male reproductive system of the species, as well as interesting insights into the life habits and the distribution of the species on the Balkans.
Lethocerus patruelis is a member of the family Belostomatidae also known as electric light bugs or toe biters. These bugs are fierce predators which stalk, capture and feed on aquatic crustaceans, fish and amphibians. When they strike, they inject strong digestive saliva, sucking out the liquefied remains to feed. This powerful hunting tool gave the family its common name, referring to the extremely painful bite from the Belostomatidae members. Their bite is considered one of the most painful that can be ever inflicted by any insect but it is of no medical significance.During their study of the giant water bug N. Simov and M. Langourov from the study team had the unique chance to witness and record on video the vicious predatory practices of the species. In the recorded material, a larva uses the stems of a water plant to stalk and ambush its unsuspicious pray. The giant water bug larva can be seen storming from its cover and catching and injecting saliva into a small fish.
During the last ten years, many new findings of L. patruelis were made by the team in Southern Bulgaria, providing evidence that the giant water bug is expanding its territory northwards. Such a wide and abundant distribution of the species in these regions would be a further sign of the recent changes of European bug fauna caused by climate change and an important clue for the effects of global warming.
6) Robots Strike Fear in the Hearts of Fish: Anxious Zebrafish Help Researchers Understand How Alcohol Affects Fear:
|Robots Strike Fear in the Hearts of Fish: Anxious Zebrafish Help Researchers Understand How Alcohol Affects Fear|
The latest in a series of experiments testing the ability of robots to influence live animals shows that bio-inspired robots can not only elicit fear in zebrafish, but that this reaction can be modulated by alcohol. These findings may pave the way for new methodologies for understanding anxiety and other emotions, as well as substances that alter them. Maurizio Porfiri, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) and Simone Macrì, a collaborator at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Rome, Italy, published their findings in PLOS ONE, an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication.This latest study expands Porfiri and Macrì's efforts to determine how bio-inspired robots can be employed as reliable stimuli to elicit reactions from live zebrafish. Previous studies have established that zebrafish show a strong affinity for robotic members designed to swim and appear as one of their own and that this preference can be abolished by exposing the fish to ethanol.
Porfiri and Macri, along with students Valentina Cianca and Tiziana Bartolini, hypothesized that robots could be used to induce fear as well as affinity and designed a robot mimicking the morphology and locomotion pattern of the Indian leaf fish, a natural predator of the zebrafish. In the lab, they simulated a harmless predatory scenario, placing the zebrafish and the robotic Indian leaf fish in separate compartments of a three-section tank. The other compartment was left empty. The control group uniformly avoided the robotic predator, showing a preference for the empty section.
To determine whether alcohol would affect fear responses, the researchers exposed separate groups of fish to different doses of ethanol in water. Ethanol has been shown to influence anxiety-related responses in humans, rodents and some species of fish. The zebrafish exposed to the highest concentrations of ethanol showed remarkable changes in behavior, failing to avoid the predatory robot. Acute administration of ethanol causes no harm and has no lasting effect on zebrafish.
"These results are further evidence that robots may represent an exciting new approach in evaluating and understanding emotional responses and behavior," said Porfiri. "Robots are ideal replacements as independent variables in tests involving social stimuli -- they are fully controllable, stimuli can be reproduced precisely each time, and robots can never be influenced by the behavior of the test subjects."
To validate their findings and ensure that the zebrafish behavior being modulated was, in fact, a fear-based response, Porfiri and his collaborators conducted two traditional anxiety tests and evaluated whether the results obtained therein were sensitive to ethanol administration.They placed test subjects in a two-chamber tank with one well-lit side and one darkened side, to establish which conditions were preferable. In a separate tank, they simulated a heron attack from the water's surface -- herons also prey on zebrafish -- and measured how quickly and how many fish took shelter from the attack. As expected, the fish strongly avoided the dark compartment, and most sought shelter very quickly from the heron attack. Ethanol exposure significantly modulated these fear responses as well, abolishing the preference for the light compartment and significantly slowing the fishes' retreat to shelter during the simulated attack.
"We hoped to see a correlation between the robotic Indian leaf fish test results and the results of the other anxiety tests, and the data support that," Porfiri explained. "The majority of control group fish avoided the robotic predator, preferred the light compartment and sought shelter quickly after the heron attack. Among ethanol-exposed fish, there were many more who were unaffected by the robotic predator, preferred the dark compartment and were slow to swim to shelter when attacked."
Porfiri and his colleagues believe zebrafish may be a suitable replacement for higher-order animals in tests to evaluate emotional responses. This novel robotic approach would also reduce the number of live test subjects needed for experiments and may inform other areas of inquiry, from collective behavior to animal protection.
Movie Release This Week:
1) 2 Guns :
For the past 12 months, DEA agent Bobby Trench and U.S. naval intelligence officer Marcus Stigman have been reluctantly attached at the hip. Working undercover as members of a narcotics syndicate, each man distrusts his partner as much as the criminals they have both been tasked to take down.
When their attempt to infiltrate a Mexican drug cartel and recover millions goes haywire, Trench and Stigman are suddenly disavowed by their superiors. Now that everyone wants them in jail or in the ground, the only person they can count on is the other. Unfortunately for their pursuers, when good guys spend years pretending to be bad, they pick up a few tricks along the way.
2) Europa Report:
Follows a contemporary mission to Jupiter's moon Europa to investigate the possible existence of alien life within our solar system. When unmanned probes suggest that a hidden ocean could exist underneath Europa's icy surface and may contain single-celled life, Europa Ventures, a privately funded space exploration company, sends six of the best astronauts from around the world to confirm the data and explore the revolutionary discoveries that may lie in the Europan ocean. After a near-catastrophic technical failure that leads to loss of communication with Earth and the tragic death of a crewmember, the surviving astronauts must overcome the psychological and physical toll of deep space travel, and survive a discovery on Europa more profound than they had ever imagined.
By incorporating real world scientific research, ship design and mission planning, the film presents an authentic vision of what the next step in human exploration will look and feel like, putting the audience inside the ship with our international crew. Through the perspective of the astronauts, the audience will experience space as it truly is and marvel at the beauty, the vastness and the unknown.
3) The Canyons:
Notorious writer Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho) and acclaimed director Paul Schrader (writer of Taxi Driver and director of American Gigolo) join forces for this explicitly erotic thriller about youth, glamour, sex and surveillance. Manipulative and scheming young movie producer Christian (adult film star James Deen) makes films to keep his trust fund intact, while his actress girlfriend and bored plaything, Tara (Lindsay Lohan), hides a passionate affair with an actor from her past. When Christian becomes aware of Tara's infidelity, the young Angelenos are thrust into a violent, sexually-charged tour through the dark side of human nature.
4) The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh:
|The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh:|
After the mysterious death of the reclusive Rosalind Leigh (Redgrave), her estranged son, Leon (Poole), arrives at her house to take stock of his inheritance. But there’s more to this house than dark corners and dusty antiques. Rosalind has left something behind…and it has been waiting for Leon. Now a force from beyond the grave will pursue him through a night of lurking terror and a desperate struggle to survive.
Called “dark and poetic,” by MSN, the film has terrified audiences at more than 30 film festivals worldwide including Sitges International Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival and Whistler Film Fest, and was awarded numerous prizes, including Best Feature at the South African Horror Fest and Audience Jury Prize at Terra Di Siena Film Festival, among others. The film also features an original score by world beat superstar Mercan Dede (Passion of the Christ, Kingdom of Heaven).
5) The Smurfs 2:
|The Smurfs 2|
In this sequel to Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Animation's hybrid live action/animated family blockbuster comedy The Smurfs, the evil wizard Gargamel creates a couple of mischievous Smurf-like creatures called the Naughties that he hopes will let him harness the all-powerful, magical Smurf-essence. But when he discovers that only a real Smurf can give him what he wants, and only a secret spell that Smurfette knows can turn the Naughties into real Smurfs, Gargamel kidnaps Smurfette and brings her to Paris, where he has been winning the adoration of millions as the world¹s greatest sorcerer. It's up to Papa, Clumsy, Grouchy, and Vanity to return to our time, reunite with their human friends Patrick and Grace Winslow, and rescue her! Will Smurfette, who has always felt different from the other Smurfs, find a new connection with the Naughties Vexy and Hackus - or will the Smurfs convince her that their love for her is True Blue?
Political News This Week:
1) Conspiracy behind move to double gas price: PIL:
|Conspiracy behind move to double gas price: PIL|
The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to the Centre, RIL and petroleum minister Veerappa Moily and sought their replies on a PIL which alleges conspiracy in the government's decision to double the price of natural gas from April 2014.
Before seeking replies from the respondents within four weeks, a bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justices Ranjana P Desai and Ranjan Gogoi sought clarifications from Colin Gonsalves â€” counsel of petitioners MP Gurudas Dasgupta and ex-power secretary E A S Sarma â€” and heard RIL counsel Harish Salve.
To Salve's preliminary objections, the bench said, "We cannot brush aside the assertions of an MP at the preliminary stage. You (respondents) file your replies and we will consider it." It fixed hearing on the PIL for September 5.The petitioners alleged that KG basin gas exploring contractors, RIL and NIKO Resources, entered into a conspiracy with the Centre "to provide exorbitant, unreasonable and excessive profits to the contractors, which will bankrupt the exchequer and severely affect the Indian economy".They sought quashing of the gas price hike and requested the court to direct the government to ensure that henceforth "the price of domestically produced gas is fixed in rupees and not dollars or any other currency"."Appoint a court commission comprising independent and fearless officers and experts having expertise in the area of this dispute to inquire into the real cost of gas at the well-head in the KG basin and also into the capacity of the basin itself and related issues raised in the petition," they said.Dasgupta and Sarma also alleged that certain benefits were being granted to the contractors by government for mala fide and collateral gain which would increase the subsidy burden enormously. They also said the gas price hike would "enormously impact" food and energy security resulting in higher prices of fertilizers, food products and cooking gas affecting the poor.Quoting comptroller and auditor general's report, they sought a direction to RIL and NIKO to "forthwith relinquish those areas of KG basin as recommended by the CAG and delineated by the Director General of Hydrocarbon". Salve said RIL was ready to relinquish these and had already written to the government in this regard.
The petitioners quoted DGH to allege that only 18 wells against the required 50 had been drilled by RIL, which incurred expenditure of $5,693 million but till March 31, 2011 had recovered $5,258 million.The petitioners said the petroleum ministry on May 2, 2012 issued a notice to RIL informing it that breach of production sharing contract and failure to comply with the approved plan had resulted in heavy loss of production and sought to disallow $1005 million from cumulative cost incurred by the contractor.They said the matter went to arbitration with RIL appointing Justice SP Bharucha as its arbitrator and government choosing Justice VN Khare. When they were in the process of appointing the third arbitrator, the petroleum minister gave an interview saying he intended to junk arbitration and push for a negotiated settlement.The petitioners said the arbitration must proceed expeditiously and be completed within six months. But Salve objected to it saying both arbitrators were eminent retired chief justices of the Supreme Court and nothing should be said which would hurt them and the process of arbitration.
2) West Bengal panchayat elections 2013: Trinamool all set to win big:
|West Bengal panchayat elections 2013: Trinamool all set to win big|
The Trinamool Congress on Monday appeared set to sweep the crucial panchayat poll in West Bengal with a huge margin in most of the districts.
As per latest figures, out of total 3215 seats, 3196 seats have been declared. TMC has bagged 1763 gram panchayats, whereas the Left and Congress have won757 and 246 panchayats respectively. Others won 430 gram panchayats. The ruling party registered a huge victory in the three districts of Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapur, former Maoist strongholds, by winning majority of its seats. In the adjoining East Midnapore district too, the TMC registered a major win except at Nandigram, the cradle of Banerjee's anti land acquisition campaign, where the party had to struggle with former Trinamool supporters, who fought as Independents.
In Nandigram block I and block II, out of 17 Gram Panchayat seats, official Trinamool candidates won 13 seats, while the Independents bagged three seats and Left managed one. The TMC also swept erstwhile red bastions of Burdwan, Birbhum, Howrah, North 24 Parganas and Hooghly. In Singur, the Trinamool bagged 12 out of 16 Gram Pancahayt seats, with Left bagging just one and putting up a close fight in three others. In the five districts of North Bengal, which went to polls, resulted showed that Trinamool had widened its reach in Congress dominated regions. The party registered spectacular victories in Gram Panchayat in Coochbehar and south Dinajpur, while making inroads in the Congress domain in North Dinajpur, the home groud of Congress minister and Mamata's bete noire Deepa Dasmunsi.
On the directive of the Supreme Court, the five-phase rural poll in the state was held on July 11, 15, 19, 22 and 25.
According to State Election Commissioner Mira Pandey, the entire counting process began at 8 am under tight security cover around all counting centres.
The district administration clamped section 144 CRPC prohibitory order within 200 metres around all counting centres to avoid crowd or any untoward incident during the counting process. No mobile phones were allowed inside the counting centres and generators were kept as standby arrangement against power failure during counting of votes, reports said. Of the total 58,865 seats going to polls, 6,274 have been won uncontested, a majority by the Trinamool Congress.
In all 1.7 lakh candidates were in fray in over 17 districts. The apex court order had come after the high-voltage tussle between the Mamata Banerjee government and SEC had hit a blind alley as both sides refused to budge on security, with the government insisting on the state armed police and the SEC demanding Central forces for the polls.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hailed the results of the panchayat poll as a "victory of the people and democracy", as her party Trinamool Congress is set to sweep the elections.
3) Telangana will be 29th state, Hyderabad to be common capital for 10 years:
|Telangana will be 29th state, Hyderabad to be common capital for 10 years|
Telangana will be the 29th state of India comprising 10 districts with plenty of water and some other natural resources in a backward region lacking development that was at the heart of the separate state demand.As and when the state is formed, the jewel in the crown will always be the city of Hyderabad, which may for some time, at least 10 years to start with, be the joint capital for the rest of Andhra.With a population of over 3.5 crore, the new state comprising mostly the areas of the princely Nizam state will have 17 Lok Sabha seats and 119 assembly seats.
|The demand for a separate identity for Telangana is virtually as old as the state of Andhra Pradesh|
When it joins the Indian Union, people of the region would hope that the new identity would help them overcome the challenges of poverty and backwardness which were at the roots of the separate state movement.The demand for a separate identity for Telangana is virtually as old as the state of Andhra Pradesh, which came into existence in November 1956 through the States Reorganisation Act.The Andhra Pradesh government website says: "Telangana agitation was started by the people of the region when they felt that Andhra leaders had flouted the Gentlemen's Agreement which facilitated the formation of Andhra Pradesh."In the beginning, the movement demanded the implementation of the safeguards agreed upon earlier, but later it wanted the separation of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh."That the seat of government in Hyderabad has persistently ignored the needs of Telangana at the expense of the other regions of the state has been a constant grouse of the advocates of separate statehood.
The new Telangana state would comprise the 10 districts of Hyderabad, Medak, Adilabad, Khammam, Karimnagar, Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Rangareddy and Warangal.Now, according to the Backward Regions Grant Fund 2009-10, 13 districts in Andhra Pradesh have been identified as being backward, of which nine are in Telangana.Classified as a semi-arid region with a predominantly hot and dry climate, Telangana is not amongst the most fertile regions of the country.But it does have its share of natural resources and notably contains 20% of the country's coal deposits.Among other natural resources are mica and bauxite along with some limestone reserves.But given the lack of development, Telangana has served as a fertile ground for the Maoist insurgency to take root.A clutch of leaders of the Naxalite movement hail from the region. Slain Maoist Kishanji, who was No.3 in the rebels' hierarchy, hailed from Karimnagar district.
As proponents of a separate Telangana claim, the carving out of a new state would give a fresh impetus for the people of the region to aspire for growth and development.Especially with the inclusion of Hyderabad, Telangana would find itself in control of one of the primary centres of India's tech story.Offices of major national and international corporates houses are present in Hyderabad, drawing people from across the country to the city.Needless to say it is the loss of Hyderabad which would rankle most with 'Unified Andhra' supporters.
But the people of Telangana argue that the seat of the Nizams was always an integral part of their region.The Telangana agitation, as they point out, was started by the people of the region who complained that "Andhra" leaders had flouted the "Gentlemen's Agreement" which had facilitated the formation of the state, in November 1956.The feeling of betrayal was also implicit in the discontent, which spread among Telangana officials and the unemployed youth of the region, who felt they were being exploited by the people from the rest of the state who had flocked to the new capital.
4) BCCI to move to Supreme Court against Bombay HC order, Dalmiya to continue as interim president:
|BCCI to move to Supreme Court against Bombay HC order, Dalmiya to continue as interim president|
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty said the Indian Premier League (IPL) Governing Council has decided to file a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court against the order of the Bombay High Court, which had declared the probe panel report as invalid.
Shetty said that the IPL Governing Council met this morning and lawyer and BJP leader Arun Jaitley explained the important points in the Bombay High Court order to the members. After a brief discussion, the committee decided to file an SLP against the order of the Bombay High Court."The Governing Council believes that the probe commission was properly constituted in accordance with the IPL Operational Rules," said Sanjay Patel, the Honorary Secretary of the BCCI in a statement.
Patel also said Jagmohan Dalmiya would continue as the interim President, in light of the pending appeal made to the Supreme Court.Shetty assured that the decision to move to the Supreme Court was taken in absence of President-in-exile N. Srinivasan.
"Mr. Srinivasan recused himself from the IPL Governing Council meeting today. It is only after that that the meeting started and the decisions were taken," assured Shetty here today.Earlier this week, BCCI's internal investigation had handed a clean chit to the Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals following allegations of betting and spot-fixing against them in the sixth edition of the tournament. The two-member probe panel declared that there was no evidence of fixing by N. Srinivasan's son-in-law, Gurunath Meiyappan. Mr Srinivasan's firm, India Cements, owns the Chennai Super Kings.
Acting on a petition filed by the Bihar Cricket Association, the Bombay High Court ruled that the BCCI's internal investigation was invalid alleging that there was a conflict of interest with regard to Srinivasan being the father-in-law of one of the prime accused.Shetty also announced that Sanjay Jagdale and Ajay Shirke, who had resigned from the committee after corruption in IPL 6 came to light, will be replaced on the Ethics Committee by Sanjay Patel (Honorary Secretary, BCCI) and Ravi Sawant (Honorary Treasurer, BCCI).Meanwhile, Shetty refused to comment on the reason for which the BCCI Working Committee meeting was called off today. According to reports, the Working Committee was scheduled to meet shortly after the IPL Governing Council met, but was cancelled at the last moment.
The BCCI has been inflicted with several controversies after multiple allegations were made against players and owners, as part of the IPL spot-fixing scandal at the tournament's sixth edition.N. Srinivasan, who owns India Cements, had stepped aside as the BCCI chief after his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, part of the Chennai Super Kings management, was arrested on charges of betting in IPL matches. He was later released on bail.Earlier, Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra was questioned by Delhi Police and was reported to have been betting on IPL matches.The scandal broke up with the arrest of three cricketers - S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila - amidst IPL 6.
5) Lucknow court concerned over illegal mining, won't stay Durga order:
|Durga Shakti Nagpal|
Voicing concern over illegal mining, the Allahabad high court today sought a reply from the Centre and the state government on the issue while declining to interfere in the suspension matter of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, who had clamped down on the mining mafia in Uttar Pradesh.Hearing a PIL on the suspension of the woman IAS officer, the Lucknow bench of the court comprising justices Devi Prasad Singh and Ashok Pal Singh fixed August 19 as the next date of hearing.
Observing that illegal mining disturbed the ecological balance, the court sought reply as to how many FIRs were lodged, how many dumpers were seized and how many people were arrested after the suspension of Nagpal.It also directed the counsel to seek instruction from the Centre on what it has done on the issue.
The court, however, refused to interfere in Nagpal’s suspension, saying that it was "a matter between the master and the servant".Appearing on behalf of the state government, additional advocate general Bulbul Godiyal raised objection on the maintainability of the PIL on the ground that the petitioner has not disclosed her credentials for filing the litigation as per the Supreme Court ruling.She also submitted that the PIL was not maintainable in service matters.
The PIL was filed in the registry of the court on July 30 against the suspension of Nagpal. Social activist Nutan Thakur filed the PIL seeking a direction to the department of personnel and training to summon the file related to the suspension of Nagpal and cancelling the suspension if it was found to be illegal and improper.According to petitioner's counsel Ashok Pandey, another prayer was made in the petition that the central government direct the state governments against harassing officers working to check illegal construction of religious plea.
Sports News This Week:
1) Bopanna, Begemann shock top seeds in Citi Open:
|Bopanna, Begemann shock top seeds in Citi Open|
Rohan Bopanna and his new German partner Andre Begemann knocked out the top seeded pair of Alexendra Peya and Bruno Soares to storm into the quarterfinals of the ATP 500 Citi Open, here. Bopanna, playing with his eighth partner of the season, shocked the top seeds 6-2 6-7(4) 10-5 in the opening round of the USD 1,295,790 hard court event. They next face Treat Huey of Philippines and Briton Dominic Inglot in the quarter-finals.
Riding on two breaks, the unseeded Bopanna and Begemann easily pocketed the first set but their rivals fought back in the second. Peya and Soares saved all the seven break chances they faced in the second set and succeeded in stretching the match to the tie-breaker. However, Bopanna and Begemann regrouped and prevailed in the match tie-breaker. They won 77 points to the 58 by their rivals.
2) Preview: Can Zimbabwe avoid whitewash against India?:
|Preview: Can Zimbabwe avoid whitewash against India?|
Four back-to-back victories achieved with consummate ease, India might continue to experiment with their team composition as they aim to complete a clean sweep against Zimbabwe in the fifth and final cricket one-dayer here tomorrow.
Led well by an in-form Virat Kohli, India have outclassed the hapless Zimbabweans in every department of the game and it would take a momentous effort from the hosts to get at least one win. Also read: India a stroke away from whitewash
At the start of the series, Zimbabwe's coach, Andy Waller, had hoped of surprising India at least once in the series but that moment is unlikely to come even tomorrow given the way the visitors have dominated so far.
"Definitely (that's the aim). We want to end on a high and go home with smile on face. We want to finish the series properly and if we execute things, proper results will follow," Kohli had said when asked if he has a 5-0 result in mind. Also read: Our aim is a whitewash, says Kohli ,In fact, the Indians have felt more at home with the conditions than the home team, which has failed to fire even once as a unit.
Aside from a bright spark here or a fighting effort there, Zimbabwe's performance has been expectedly sub-standard against India, a team which was missing some of its key players such as regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, pacer Umesh Yadav and off-spinner R Ashwin.In the fourth match yesterday, which the Indians won by nine wickets, a couple of ODI debuts were handed out with pacer Mohit Sharma instantly making an impression.
3) Indian footballers scared about IPL-style league: Sunil Chhetri:
|Indian footballers scared about IPL-style league: Sunil Chhetri|
India skipper Sunil Chhetri today said that the national footballers were "sceptical" about the proposed IPL-style league because of the ongoing rift between the I-League clubs and AIFF's marketing and commercial partners, IMG-Reliance.
"A lot of players have spoken to me, they are very sceptical about the development. They feel scared. I can't take names but I try to calm them down. This is not a good position for the players to be. That is the reason I want the topsy-turvy situation to be resolved as soon as possible. It doesn't matter which way it turns. It should be solved," Chettri said on the sidelines of the launch of Nike's home and away kit for the Indian team.
If the new IMG-Reliance league becomes a hit with the fans, clubs feel it will affect the already floundering I-League. The development has left the Indian club owners agitated and recently the I-League Professional Football Clubs Association (IPFCA) has decided to not release players contracted to them for the IPL-style league.
Chettri, who joined Bengaluru-based football club – JSW Sports last month, said he too was not sure about the IMG-R league and didn't want to wait any longer.
"There was no risk in joining but nobody was sure what is going to happen. There was no definite plan and I didn't want to wait that long. I met a lot of IMG-Reliance officials but I still was not sure. I have nothing against anybody and I am sure there will be a league and many players have signed already. I just want everybody to calm down and a good thing to happen," he said."I don't want one body to go right and one goes left, that is not good for Indian sports. You have to go in the same direction. Clubs also want the betterment of football, AIFF and IMG-Reliance are also there to do good for the sports. They should work together," Chhetri added.
4) Best performance of my career, says Aditya Mehta of World Games gold:
|Best performance of my career, says Aditya Mehta of World Games gold|
Ace Indian cueist, Aditya Mehta has described his gold medal-winning feat in the snooker event of the World Games at Cali, Columbia as the "best performance of my career".Mehta made the whole country proud when he became the first Indian to win the World Games title after comfortably defeating his higher-ranked Chinese opponent and pre-tournament favourite, Liang Wenbo, in the summit clash of the quadrennial event last night.
"This is my career's best performance. I am delighted with this win," said an elated Mehta.
"Fantastic day...A long awaited dream come true!!" Mehta later tweeted.
This is also India's first medal since badminton star Prakash Padukone's bronze in the inaugural edition of the World Games in 1981 and only second for the country in the history of the Games.The Mumbai cueist, who won silver and bronze medals at the 2010 Asian Games, was in top form throughout the five-day tournament and easily defeated his opponent in the final.
Mehta, the world ranked 74th, managed to beat World No.64 Dechawat Poomjaeng, who had defeated another Indian and eight-time world champion Pankaj Advani 3-1 in the quarterfinals, and World No.19 Joe Perry en route his title triumph.
Mehta proved his class once again and did not give his Chinese opponent a chance to make much of an impact in the final. Mehta made his intentions clear from the opening frame where he cracked a break of 84 points to gain the initial lead. He maintained the momentum in the next frame too where he made an excellent clearance of 40 points to put himself 2-0 ahead.
Wenbo had the only chance in the third frame to stay in contention but before he could do anything, Mehta crafted another massive break of 117 points to seal the match and gold medal for India.
5) After reducing events from eight to seven, Missy Franklin wins third gold:
|After reducing events from eight to seven, Missy Franklin wins third gold|
Missy Franklin decided on Wednesday to give up her bid for eight gold medals at the world swimming championships and was immediately rewarded with her third victory in as many races.
Franklin held off a late challenge from Federica Pelligrini to win the 200-meter freestyle, claiming a title the recent high school graduate really wanted and justifying her decision earlier in the day to cut back on the program in Barcelona. She also has gold medals here from the 4x100 free relay and the 100 backstroke.
The 18-year-old American entered eight events, giving her a chance to match Michael Phelps as the only swimmers to win that many events at a major championship. But, after a tough double on Tuesday and a lackluster showing in the morning preliminaries, Franklin and her coach, Todd Schmitz, decided to scratch the 50 backstroke — a non-Olympic event that she swims mainly for fun, though she did take bronze at the 2011 worlds in Shanghai.
There was only a 20-minute break between the semifinals of the 50 back and the final of the 200 free, and the latter was much more important to Franklin. She just missed a medal in that event at the London Olympics, losing out for third by a hundredth of a second.
"We decided that maybe the risk kind of outdid the rewards," Franklin said. "So we decided not to do it. It was fun to swim it this morning but I'm really happy with the decision to scratch and just do this."France's Camille Muffat went out hard, leading after the first lap and 0.75 under the world-record pace. But Franklin edged ahead
Book of This Week:
ASURA: Tale Of The Vanquished : By Anand Neelkantan:
| ASURA: Tale Of The Vanquished : By Anand Neelkantan|
The story of Ravana and his people : The epic tale of victory and defeat…
The story of the Ramayana had been told innumerable times. The enthralling story of Rama, the incarnation of God, who slew Ravana, the evil demon of darkness, is known to every Indian. And in the pages of history, as always, it is the version told by the victors, that lives on. The voice of the vanquished remains lost in silence. But what if Ravana and his people had a different story to tell?
The story of the Ravanayana had never been told. Asura is the epic tale of the vanquished Asura people, a story that has been cherished by the oppressed out castes of India for 3000 years. Until now, no Asura has dared to tell the tale. But perhaps the time has come for the dead and the defeated to speak.
“For thousands of years, I have been vilified and my death is celebrated year after year in every corner of India. Why? Was it because I challenged the Gods for the sake of my daughter? Was it because I freed a race from the yoke of caste-based Deva rule? You have heard the victor’s tale, the Ramayana. Now hear the Ravanayana, for I am Ravana, the Asura, and my story is the tale of the vanquished.”
“I am a non-entity – invisible, powerless and negligible. No epics will ever be written about me. I have suffered both Ravana and Rama – the hero and the villain or the villain and the hero. When the stories of great men are told, my voice maybe too feeble to be heard. Yet, spare me a moment and hear my story, for I am Bhadra, the Asura, and my life is the tale of the loser.”
The ancient Asura empire lay shattered into many warring petty kingdoms reeling under the heel of the Devas. In desperation, the Asuras look up to a young saviour – Ravana. Believing that a better world awaits them under Ravana, common men like Bhadra decide to follow the young leader. With a will of iron and a fiery ambition to succeed, Ravana leads his people from victory to victory and carves out a vast empire from the Devas. But even when Ravana succeeds spectacularly, the poor Asuras find that nothing much has changed for them. It is when that Ravana, by one action, changes the history of the world.
Writer : Anand Neelkantan:
|Writer : Anand Neelkantan|
My fascination remained dormant for many years, emerging only briefly to taunt and irritate my pious aunts during family gatherings. Life went on… I became an engineer; joined the Indian Oil Corporation; moved to Bangalore; married Aparna and welcomed my daughter Ananya, and my son, Abhinav. But the Asura emperor would not leave me alone. For six years he haunted my dreams, walked with me, and urged me to write his version of the story. He was not the only one who wanted his version of the story to be told. One by one, irrelevant and minor characters of the Ramayana kept coming up with their own versions. Bhadra, who was one of the many common Asuras who were inspired, led and betrayed by Ravana, also had a remarkable story to tell, different from that of his king. And both their stories are different from the Ramayana that has been told in a thousand different ways across Asia over the last three millennia. This is then Asurayana, the story of the Asuras, the story of the vanquished.