|Animated Collage of NewsWeek(55)|
|Collage of NewsWeek (55)|
Science News This Week:
1) Gene Regulator Is Key to Healthy Retinal Development and Good Vision in Adulthood:
|Gene Regulator Is Key to Healthy Retinal Development and Good Vision in Adulthood:|
Scientists are developing a clearer picture of how visual systems develop in mammals. The findings offer important clues to the origin of retinal disorders later in life.In research published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience, University at Buffalo scientists and colleagues focused on a particular protein, called a transcription factor, that regulates gene activity necessary for the development of one type of retinal neuron, the horizontal cells.Horizontal cells process visual information by integrating and regulating input from rod and cone photoreceptors, which allow eyes to adjust to see well in both bright and dim light conditions.
"We have found that activation of the transcription factor named Onecut1 is essential for the formation of horizontal cells," explains Xiuqian Mu, PhD, assistant professor in the departments of Ophthalmology and Biochemistry in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
The researchers came to this conclusion after creating mice that lacked Onecut1. In these knockout mice, the number of horizontal cells was 80 percent lower than in normal mice. The researchers were surprised to find that the removal of Onecut1 also had an impact on photoreceptor cells, the rods and cones that absorb light in the retina and convert that energy to an electrical impulse eventually conveyed to the brain.During development, Mu explains, the removal of Onecut1 only appeared to impact the horizontal cells. However, by the time these mice reached adulthood, around 8 months old, the level of photoreceptor cells in these knockout mice was less than half the normal level.
"Because degradation of photoreceptors is believed to be a major factor in retinal diseases, such as retinitis pigmentosa and Leber's congenital amaurosis, this finding, that horizontal cells are necessary for the normal survival of photoreceptor cells, is novel and significant," says Mu. "Many retinal diseases are manifested by the degeneration of photoreceptor cells."This finding was unexpected, Mu explains, because most investigations into the degeneration of photoreceptor cells have involved genes that directly affect photoreceptor cell development.
"People haven't been looking at horizontal cells," he says. "We didn't think that they'd be involved in photoreceptor cell degradation."With this finding, we have discovered that retinal horizontal cells are required for maintaining the integrity of the retina and that their deficiency can lead to retinal degradation," explains Mu.He notes that in most cases where photoreceptor cells die, it's because they are somehow defective."But in this case, the photoreceptor cells are fine in the beginning, so the death of the photoreceptor cells is a secondary affair that is somehow driven by the deficiency in horizontal cells," he says.UB co-author Steven J. Fliesler, PhD, Meyer H. Riwchun Endowed Chair Professor, vice-chair and director of research in the Department of Ophthalmology and professor in the Department of Biochemistry, notes that this finding could open up a new area of study.
"One scenario we have speculated upon is that there are important supportive interactions between horizontal cells and photoreceptors that are required to maintain photoreceptor function and viability," Fliesler says. "When horizontal cells are blocked from being formed -- the immediate consequence of knocking out Onecut1 -- the photoreceptors don't get what they need to survive, so they degenerate and die later on."The majority of the research was conducted in the UB Department of Ophthalmology/Ross Eye Institute and the developmental genomics group at UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.First author on the paper is Fuguo Wu of UB. Other UB co-authors are Renzhong Li, Tadeusz J. Kaczynski, Darshan Sapkota. Additional co-authors are Yumiko Umino and Eduardo Solessio of SUNY Upstate Medical University, Shengguo Li and Mengqing Xiang of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, David M. Sherry of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and Maureen Gannon of Vanderbilt University Medical Center.Mu, Fliesler and Solessio also are faculty members of the SUNY Eye Institute, a SUNY-wide eye research consortium.
2) Vaccine protects against malaria in early test:
|Vaccine protects against malaria in early test:|
The long, bumpy path to a malaria vaccine may have hit a smooth stretch as an early-stage study finds that multiple injections with inactivated malaria parasites can protect against the disease.
The findings are tantalizing but preliminary. The study was small, and the vaccine required five intravenously delivered doses to work, which would be an obstacle for teams attempting mass vaccination in developing countries. Also, the shots were tested in adults, not children, who are the prime victims of malaria.
Still, the study offers decidedly good news, says Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Md., which sponsored the research. “This is an important advance,” he says, noting that the vaccine induces an immune onslaught that kills the malaria parasite in its infective sporozoite stage. That means uninfected mosquitoes that bite a vaccinated person wouldn’t get infected, slowing the disease’s spread, he says.
In the study, researchers gave four or five shots to 15 volunteers over several months. The volunteers were then bitten repeatedly by malarial mosquitoes. A few weeks afterward, 12 showed no disease, including all six who got five doses, the researchers report August 8 in Science. A control group of unvaccinated volunteers got the disease and received treatment promptly.Scientists already knew that weakened versions of malaria sporozoites could induce immunity in people. To turn the sporozoites into a vaccine, scientists need to irradiate infected mosquitoes, and use the weakened parasites to elicit an immune response in people. In the new study, scientists mastered the delicate task of attenuating the parasites just enough so that they don’t replicate and cause disease, but leaving them active enough to trigger an immune response that would kill any full-strength sporozoites introduced by subsequent mosquito bites. The researchers also effectively delivered the vaccine into volunteers — albeit with IV injections. In earlier tests, this vaccine failed to gin up adequate immunity when given by shots into the skin, which are easier to deliver.
“This is the first step towards success with this approach,” says Denise Doolan, a molecular immunologist at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Herston, Australia. “It has taken enormous dedication and perseverance to achieve this result, and [the researchers] should be congratulated.”Study coauthor Robert Seder, a physician and immunologist at NIAID, says the research team plans to test the vaccine in more people and find out how long the protection lasts. A field trial is planned in Tanzania.Doolan says simpler and fewer shots are needed for far-reaching vaccination campaigns. If such a vaccine can be developed, she says, it should “have a dramatic impact on public health.”Meanwhile, Seder says, the IV vaccine — if fully tested and approved — might be useful for protecting health officials, military forces and travelers. Fauci cautions that while this vaccine showed effectiveness against one strain of Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes the most severe kind of malaria, the vaccine will have to prove itself against other strains.
Another experimental malaria vaccine has been shown to be partially protective in children.
3) HeLa genome offers clues to cells’ cancerous nature:
|HeLa genome offers clues to cells’ cancerous nature:|
A detailed DNA profile of the world’s most widely used cancer cell line sheds light on the genetic chaos the cells use to grow virtually unchecked in laboratory cultures. That property may also explain their virulent growth in the woman who unwittingly left them to science.
The famous cells came from a biopsy taken in 1951, when Henrietta Lacks was dying from cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Although no one asked Lacks or her family for permission to perform experiments with the cells, they formed the first immortal human cell line ever successfully grown in the lab. HeLa cells were pivotal in developing a vaccine for polio, among other scientific milestones.
But one problem for researchers using HeLa cells has been that their genome is a scrambled version of a normal human genome. This makes it more difficult to design and interpret experiments using the cells.
The new work, reported by University of Washington researchers in the Aug. 8 Nature, will help scientists make better use of HeLa cells by providing information on the arrangement of genetic variants on chromosomes.
These details were “long overdue,” says Peter Park, a computational biologist at Harvard Medical School. “We no longer have to make assumptions about what the HeLa genome looks like.”
Human cells normally have two copies of each chromosome. Sometimes, a genetic variant differs between the two copies. But standard sequencing methods mix the data together, so it’s impossible to figure out which variant is on which chromosome. The University of Washington group overcame that obstacle by using a method that identifies which variants sit together on the same chromosome.
This new level of detail helps reconstruct an event that is thought to have contributed to Lacks’ cells becoming cancerous. Scientists already knew that the HeLa genome contained human papillomavirus DNA, which comes from the genome-invading virus that causes nearly all cervical cancers. The virus DNA had embedded itself near MYC, a human gene that, when artificially switched on, can cause cells to become cancerous.
The new study found that in chromosomes with viral DNA, the MYC gene turned on. But in matching chromosomes without viral DNA, MYC was not active. That meant that the viral DNA probably turns the MYC gene on, but only within the same chromosome. The researchers also found that the viral DNA actually touched the MYC gene, suggesting it directly causes the different MYC activity on the chromosomes. This reveals one of the ways that the invading virus might have helped Lacks’ cancer cells to grow uncontrollably.
“It’s a really lovely piece of work,” says geneticist Daniel MacArthur of Massachusetts General Hospital. “It's a shame that the technical achievements of the authors may be overshadowed by the ethical challenges.”The HeLa genome sequence was published for the first time in March, by a research group led by Lars Steinmetz at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany. These data, published in G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, mapped out the many rearrangements and mutations that distinguish the HeLa genome from a healthy human genome.The study sparked a controversy because the sequence was freely available and could potentially be used to infer some of the genetic variants carried by Lacks’ family. In response the team withdrew the HeLa sequences from the public database.The National Institutes of Health has now negotiated an agreement with the Lacks family that restricts access to HeLa genome and requires future publications based on the data to acknowledge the contribution of Henrietta Lacks and her family. The new arrangement also has members of the Lacks family joining a board that oversees requests to use the data.
4) Genetic Evidence Shows Recent Population Mixture in India:
|Genetic Evidence Shows Recent Population Mixture in India:|
Scientists from Harvard Medical School and the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad, India, provide evidence that modern-day India is the result of recent population mixture among divergent demographic groups.
The findings, published August 8 in the American Journal of Human Genetics, describe how India transformed from a country where mixture between different populations was rampant to one where endogamy -- that is, marrying within the local community and a key attribute of the caste system -- became the norm.
"Only a few thousand years ago, the Indian population structure was vastly different from today," said co-senior author David Reich, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School. "The caste system has been around for a long time, but not forever."In 2009, Reich and colleagues published a paper based on an analysis of 25 different Indian population groups. The paper described how all populations in India show evidence of a genetic mixture of two ancestral groups: Ancestral North Indians (ANI), who are related to Central Asians, Middle Easterners, Caucasians, and Europeans; and Ancestral South Indians (ASI), who are primarily from the subcontinent.However, the researchers wanted to glean clearer data as to when in history such admixture occurred. For this, the international research team broadened their study pool from 25 to 73 Indian groups.
The researchers took advantage of the fact that the genomes of Indian people are a mosaic of chromosomal segments of ANI and ASI descent. Originally when the ANI and ASI populations mixed, these segments would have been extremely long, extending the entire lengths of chromosomes. However, after mixture these segments would have broken up at one or two places per chromosome, per generation, recombining the maternal and paternal genetic material that occurs during the production of egg and sperm.By measuring the lengths of the segments of ANI and ASI ancestry in Indian genomes, the authors were thus able to obtain precise estimates of the age of population mixture, which they infer varied about 1,900 to 4,200 years, depending on the population analyzed.
While the findings show that no groups in India are free of such mixture, the researchers did identify a geographic element. "Groups in the north tend to have more recent dates and southern groups have older dates," said co-first author Priya Moorjani, a graduate student in Reich's lab at Harvard Medical School. "This is likely because the northern groups have multiple mixtures.""This genetic datatells us a three-part cultural and historical story," said Reich, who is also an associate member of the Broad Institute. "Prior to about 4000 years ago there was no mixture. After that, widespread mixture affected almost every group in India, even the most isolated tribal groups. And finally, endogamy set in and froze everything in place.""The fact that every population in India evolved from randomly mixed populations suggests that social classifications like the caste system are not likely to have existed in the same way before the mixture," said co-senior author Lalji Singh, currently of Banaras Hindu University, in Varanasi, India, and formerly of the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology. "Thus, the present-day structure of the caste system came into being only relatively recently in Indian history."But once established, the caste system became genetically effective, the researchers observed. Mixture across groups became very rare.
"An important consequence of these results is that the high incidence of genetic and population-specific diseases that is characteristic of present-day India is likely to have increased only in the last few thousand years when groups in India started following strict endogamous marriage," said co-first author Kumarasamy Thangaraj, of the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India.Mohan Rao, Director, CSIR-CCMB said, "CCMB's continuing efforts over a decade on this field had helped in understanding the complexity of Indian population history and social structure, such as caste systems."
5) Maya Pyramid Decorated With Rare Polychrome-Painted Stucco Frieze:
|Maya Pyramid Decorated With Rare Polychrome-Painted Stucco Frieze:|
A Maya pyramid beautifully decorated with a rare polychrome-painted stucco frieze was unearthed in July 2013 at the site of Holmul, a Classic Maya city in northeastern Peten region of Guatemala. The find came as archaeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli's team excavated in a tunnel left open by looters. The stucco relief stands along the exterior of a multi-roomed rectangular building, measuring 8m in length and 2m in height. Much of the building still remains encased under the rubble of a later 20m-high structure. The carving is painted in red, with details in blue, green and yellow.
"This is a unique find. It is a beautiful work of art and it tells us so much about the function and meaning of the building, which was what we were looking for," says Estrada-Belli. The carving depicts human figures in a mythological setting, suggesting these may be deified rulers. The team had hoped to find clues to the function of this building, since the unearthing of an undisturbed tomb last year. The burial contained an individual accompanied by 28 ceramic vessels and a wooden funerary mask.An inscription below the figures tells us that this edifice was commissioned by the ruler of Naranjo, a powerful kingdom to the south of Holmul. In the dedication, king "Ajwosaj Chan K'inich" claims to have restored the local ruling line and patron deities. The images and glyphic text on the frieze also provide information about political actors in the Maya Lowlands well beyond this small kingdom. "One of the glyphs describes Ajwosaj as 'vassal of the Kanul king,' suggesting a much wider network of influences was being felt at Holmul. When this building was erected, Kanul kings were already on their way to controlling much of the lowlands, except Tikal of course," added Estrada-Belli.
The text places the building in the decade of the 590s, according to Alex Tokovinine, a Harvard University Maya epigrapher associated with the project. who has deciphered the text. "Ajwosaj was one of the greatest rulers of Naranjo. The new inscription provides the first glimpse of the remarkable extent of Ajwosaj's political and religious authority. It also reveals how a new order was literally imprinted on a broader landscape of local gods and ancestors," says Tokovinine.
During the Early Classic period (A. D. 300-550) the Tikal kings had established new dynasties and far-reaching alliances with kingdoms throughout the Maya Lowlands, perhaps thanks to a connection with Mesoamerica's greatest state, Teotihuacan. Tikal suffered a defeat in the year 562 by the Kanul "Snake" kingdom, which, for the following 180 years, would come to dominate most other Lowland kingdoms. An inscription at Naranjo indicates that Kanul king K'altuun Hix had overseen the accession of Ajwosaj, as early as the year 545.The relief depicts three human figures wearing elaborate bird headdresses and jade jewels seated cross-legged over the head of a mountain spirit known as a witz ("mountain"). A cartouche on the headdress contains glyphs identifying each individual by name. The central figure's name is the only readable one: Och Chan Yopaat, meaning "The Storm God enters the sky. " Two feathered serpents emerge from the mountain spirit below the main character and form an arch with their bodies. Under each of them is a seated figure of an aged god holding a sign that reads "First tamale. " In front of the serpents' mouths are the two additional human figures, also seated on mountain spirit heads.A band of about 30 incised glyphs adorns the bottom of the frieze. The legible parts mention the actions of Naranjo king Ajwosaj, who put the king's house in order," put Och Chan Yopaat (the central figure in the frieze) in order, and put several local patron gods in order.
The tomb associated with the building was found in a cavity dug into the stairway leading up to the building. The skeleton of an adult male and his ceramic offering were preserved by large limestone slabs that kept the tomb free of debris. His incisor and canine teeth has been drilled and filled with jade beads. The decayed remains of a wooden mask, perhaps originally worn as a pectoral, were found on his chest. With it were two miniature flower-shaped ear spools.
The number of vessels in the tomb as well as their iconography bore clear references to the nine lords of the underworld as well as to the aged sun god of the underworld. There were two sets of nine polychrome-painted bowls decorated with the water lily motif, each made by a different artist. There were also nine red-painted plates and one spouted tripod plate decorated with the image of the god of the underworld emerging from a shell. Because of the unusually high number of vessels and the jade dental decorations, Estrada-Belli believes this individual may have been a member of the ruling class at Holmul; he had planned this year's excavation to search for more clues about the man and the period in which he had lived.The team hopes to return to the area in 2014 to continue exploring and to preserve this building. This year's investigation was endorsed by Guatemala's Ministry of Culture with funding from Guatemala's PACUNAM foundation and the U. S. -based Alphawood Foundation with additional support from Boston University, National Geographic Society/Waitt Grants Program, and private donors.
Movie Release This Week:
Set in the year 2154, where the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth, a man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds.
2) Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters:
|Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters:|
Percy Jackson, the son of Poseidon, continues his epic journey to fulfill his destiny, as he teams with his demigod friends to retrieve the Golden Fleece, which has the power to save their home and training ground, Camp Half-Blood.
The Fairburn brothers (Paul Bettany and Stephen Graham) are detectives who have lived under the shadow of their police chief father (Brian Cox) – a man known for doing whatever it takes to get a confession. When the brothers take an interrogation too far, they raise the suspicions of their colleague (Mark Strong) and suddenly find themselves having to cover up their own crimes.
Tommy and Gary are criminals engaging in grand thefts in order to make ends meet. They are opportunists and have no fear. After a routine robbery goes awry, the friends are forced to put their criminal activity behind them. As Tommy's relationship flourishes with his new girlfriend Scarlet, his economic hardships become obvious. Scarlet soon proposes a notion that will make all their money troubles vanish - the heist of a half a million dollar painting. With just a short window of opportunity, Tommy and Gary design an ambitious plan, one that will ultimately determine their fate.
5) We're the Millers:
|We're the Millers:|
A veteran pot dealer creates a fake family as part of his plan to move a huge shipment of weed into the U.S. from Mexico.
6) Chennai Express:
Chennai Express is an 2013 Indian action comedy film directed by Rohit Shetty and produced by Gauri Khan under her production banner Red Chillies Entertainment. The film features Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone in lead roles
Political News This Week:
1) 26/11 mastermind leads Eid prayers in Lahore:
|26/11 mastermind leads Eid prayers in Lahore:|
Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, on Friday led Eid prayers at the famous Gaddafi stadium in Lahore, hours after Jamat-ud-Dawah chief tweeted that "time is near when those oppressed in Kashmir, Palestine and Burma will celebrate Eid in the air of Freedom".
Thousands offered the prayers with Saeed, who carries a $10 million bounty on his head.Posters with Saeed's photo were pasted in several locations in the city ahead of the gathering.In his tweet, Saeed said: "Time is near when those oppressed in Kashmir, Palestine and Burma will celebrate 'Eid' in the air of Freedom - Insha'Allah. #EidMubarak"
"So, we say Eid Mubarak to you in these testing times; soon world will say Eid Mubarak to you after your triumph. May ALLAH accept""ALLAH will not waste your Sacrifices, Ummah will be glorified, Islam will be strengthened, that time is very near #kashmir," he tweeted from his account '@HafizSaeedJUD'.
India has repeatedly asked Pakistan to bring Saeed to justice for masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks. He has often been seen addressing anti-India rallies in Pakistan.
Islamabad says it has no proof against him.A total of 166 people, including six Americans, were killed in the LeT terror attack in India's financial hub of Mumbai in November 2008.
2) India accuses Pakistan of Kashmir attack:
|India accuses Pakistan of Kashmir attack|
Defence minister says specialist Pakistani troops were involved in ambush that killed five Indian soldiers.
India has accused Pakistan's army of involvement in a deadly ambush on its troops in Kashmir, after angry opposition members claimed New Delhi was going soft on Islamabad.Defence Minister A K Antony hinted at stronger military action along the Line of Control (LOC) where the ambush overnight on Monday saw five Indian soldiers killed, signalling a setback to warming relations between the neighbours.
"It is now clear that the specialist troops of Pakistan army were involved in this attack," Antony told parliament on Thursday."Nothing happens from Pakistan's side of the LOC without the support, assistance, facilitation and often direct involvement of the Pakistan army," he said.
"Naturally, this incident will have consequences on our behaviour on the LOC and for our relationship with Pakistan," Antony said.The picturesque Himalayan territory of Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan by the UN-monitored LoC, the de facto border, but is claimed in full by both countries.
Pakistan denies role
Pakistan has denied any part in the incident, but India has lodged an official protest with Islamabad for what is one of the worst losses of life for the Indian army since a 2003 truce agreement.
India has fought three wars with Pakistan, two over the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir.A deadly flare-up along the LoC in January brought low-level peace talks to a halt. They had only just resumed after a three-year hiatus sparked by the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people. India blamed Pakistani-based armed groups for the attack.More than a dozen armed rebel groups have been fighting Indian forces since 1989, demanding independence for Kashmir or a merger with Pakistan.
3) LoC commanders in the Army chief's firing line:
|LoC commanders in the Army chief's firing line|
Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh has pulled up the commanders of formations deployed in Poonch sector of Line of Control in the wake of two major raids by the Pakistan Army special troops in Indian territory in the last eight months.During the visit to the LoC to review the security situation after the killing of five Indian soldiers in Poonch on Tuesday, the Army Chief pulled up the formation commanders there, sources said in New Delhi.
In the earlier incident on January 8, the troops of Pakistan's Special Services Group (SSG) had entered Indian territory and killed two Indian soldiers and beheaded one of them.
After the January incident, the Army Chief had asked his formation commanders to adopt an aggressive stance on the LoC and asked them to respond immediately in case of provocations by Pakistan Army.
"I expect my commanders to be aggressive in the face of firing," Gen Singh had said.The army is checking if there was any violation of standard operating procedures by the troops and the unit deployed in that area.Officials said the army was also checking that how the terrorists have been able to dodge the anti-personnel mines in the area.
4) Drug trade/smuggling finances Pakistan's anti-India regiment:
|Drug trade/smuggling finances Pakistan's anti-India regiment|
A regiment of 30,000 fighters for the Pakistan army in India depends largely on the money, a staggering amount, that is generated through illegal animal skin trade and drug smuggling, a report of the military intelligence bureau has said. Vicky Nanjappa reports.
During each of these operations which involve five terrorists or less, two officers of the Pakistan army always accompany them. The officers who train these are the ones who read the logistics and even give the command for an attack.During the duration of the attack, the army officers are constantly in touch with the army base in Pakistan that offers instructions. This report of the military intelligence confirms beyond doubt that officers of the Pakistan army are physically present during every attack in the valley.These terrorists, who are part of the Mujahideen regiment of the Pakistan army have always relied on the grants that the military gets from the United States or the Gulf. A large part of the funds that come in from America are grants for Pakistan, are often diverted to fund the Mujahideen regiment.
|Drug trade/smuggling finances Pakistan's anti-India regiment|
This regiment, which is commanded by an officer of brigadier rank also depends on the funds that are generated through donations from Gulf which has set up financial institutions in the form of Madrasas and charities in Qatar.This regiment, which is commanded by an officer of brigadier rank, also depends on the funds that are generated through donations from the Gulf.However, with the help of the Inter-Services Intelligence, the Pakistan army found that procuring funds through the above mentioned means was coming under scanner. So it was decided that the funds from the US and Qatar and the drug trade would be used for the bigger operations and the smaller ones had to be financed through a smaller mechanism.It was at this time that the ISI and Pakistan decided that they would use the border trade agreements through which dry fruits are exported. At least 50 operatives have been masquerading as dry fruits vendors were handpicked by the Pakistan army to smuggle animal skin.The interrogation of Ahmed Gulam Hasan Naiku, an activist of the Hizbul Mujahideen (which has a very high percentage of operatives in the Mujahideen regiment) revealed that the Pakistan army had insisted that they capitalise on the border trade agreement. Naiku was taken by his handler to meet the head of the Mujahideen regiment.
|Drug trade/smuggling finances Pakistan's anti-India regiment|
“The handler was a brigadier and the head of the regiment. He personally instructed me to impersonate a vendor and operate between Khandahar and India via Pakistan,” Naiku reportedly told his interrogators.This trade is allegedly done with the approval of the Pakistan government who has instructed its officers to look the other way when such a consignment enters India through Kandahar.According to investigators, the money earned through this trade amounts to nearly Rs 10 crore a month and the Pakistan army has been encouraging it since the past three years now.The consignment of animal skin is collected from Khandahar and then brought into the Punjab province in Pakistan. According to the report, stalls have been set up in this part of Pakistan to collect the consignment and this happens in the open despite the government’s knowledge that the trade is illegal. While some part of the consignment remains in Pakistan, the rest is smuggled to other parts of the world including India. Animal skin is in great demand at places where the leather industry flourishes and this in fact generates a lot of money.According to the Intelligence Bureau, a large part of this money goes to the Pakistan military which uses is specifically to fund activities in the Valley. The Pakistan military and the ISI have recruited at least 50 persons for this trade and have even set up their moles in India to further this trade.The moles help collect the material and distribute it in the market, the officer also pointed out. Naik, for instance was one such mole operating in Maharashtra, the investigation on him has shown.
Link Source: http://www.rediff.com/news/slide-show/slide-show-1-drug-tradesmuggling-finances-pakistans-anti-india-regiment/20130808.htm#1
5) LoC killings: Martyr cremated with state honours at Kolhapur:
|LoC killings: Martyr cremated with state honours at Kolhapur|
Naik Kundalik Mane, one of the five soldiers killed in Pakistan army's attack along the Line of Control on Monday night, was cremated with full state honours in his native village Pimpalgaon Khurd in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur district on Thursday. However, a political controversy erupted soon after as Nationalist Congress Party condemned the statement of Bharatiya Janata Party's leader Gopinath Munde.Mane’s body was brought from New Delhi to Pune late on Wednesday night before being taken to TA Battalion at Temblai Hill, and then to Kolhapur by road. Army and Air Force officers paid tribute to Mane at Pune’s Lohegaon air base.
At Kolhapur, various political leaders, including Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil, Guardian Minister of Kolhapur Harshvardhan Patil and BJP Vice President Gopinath Munde offered their tributes to the martyr. People in thousands turned out to pay the last respect to the 'son of the soil' who shed his life for his country.
Speaking at the occasion, Munde said that Naik Mane was martyred in a terrorist attack. In a statement released by NCP's media cell, Nawab Malik, chief spokesperson Maharashtra NCP, condemned Munde's remarks and said that while BJP disrupted Parliament for two days over this issue, one of the BJP leader is saying again the same thing.The NCP also objected to the absence of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan at the cremation. “While the protocol was followed, the CM should have attended the cremation as a moral obligation to respect the martyr,” the statement noted.Naik Mane, 36, belonged to the Maratha Light Infantry. He has two children. He had joined the army in 1998 and was at Chakkadabad chowky in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.
6) Gorkhaland bandh: News blackout in Darjeeling sparks furore:
|Gorkhaland bandh: News blackout in Darjeeling sparks furore:|
On the seventh day of an indefinite bandh, Darjeeling has been plunged into a news blackout. Not just news, all channels are off for those using cable.Last night, the local administration shut down two cable operators because they could not produce original official papers.But Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, which has called the indefinite bandh to press for a separate state of Gorkhaland, claims the blackout is because the cable operators were showing pro-Gorkhaland news channels.On Thursday night, about 8:30 pm, the police and a magistrate marched into the offices of Darjeeling Combined Cable Network (DCCN) and Darjeeling Milky Way Cable and demanded to see original documents, including the certificate of registration, NOC from appropriate authorities, list of channels broadcast and list of consumers.
When the employees at the cable operators said they did not have original papers and the owners did, the police shut down their operations.Suraj Dewan, owner of DCCN, said, "All the original papers were with me and I wasn't in office at 8:30 pm. My staff said they would produce the papers on Friday but the police would not listen. Now, there is no cable TV in all of Darjeeling."
The police left behind a handwritten note, that's all.But Gorkha Janmukti Morcha suspects the cable operators were shut down for showing at least three channels that were airing pro-Gorkhaland news and views, including Darjeeling TV, Hamro Channel and another one that carries messages from the Morcha.
"The West Bengal government and the district administration is doing all this suppress our movement. This is a violation of the freedom of expression."Protesters on the streets of Darjeeling are also outraged.Priya Pandit, a Darjeeling resident, said, "We need to know what's going on in Darjeeling but we are no longer able to find out. We also don't know what is going on in the rest of the country, unless you have your own dish. How many do?"
Another Darjeeling resident, Lochan Gurung, was equally upset. "I think the state government has done this as a crackdown on the movement for Gorkhaland. It is very unfortunate," he said. Indeed, as it is, the people of Darjeeling are angry with the Mamata Banerjee government on the Gorkhaland issue. The cable shut down is only going to alienate them further. The authorities have said the situation will be reviewed once proper papers are produced. But this is a long weekend. So, till Monday at least, Darjeeling will remain bereft of news.
Sports News This Week:
1) PV Sindhu ensures a medal as Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap crash out of Worlds:
|PV Sindhu ensures a medal as Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap crash out of Worlds|
Rising shuttler PV Sindhu on Friday created history by becoming the first Indian woman singles player to ensure a medal at the World Badminton Championships after scoring an upset win over local favourite Shixian Wang of China to enter the semifinals.Playing in her maiden World Championships, Sindhu, seeded 10th, had an easy outing against the World No. 8 and seventh seeded Wang. The Indian took just 55 minutes to get the better of her fancied Chinese opponent 21-18, 21-17.
World No. 12, Sindhu will take on the winner of the match between Carolina Marin and Ratchanok Intanon in the last four round.Before Sindhu, Prakash Padukone won a medal in the World Championships way back in 1983 when he bagged a bronze in the men singles event in Copenhagen, while the women's doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa bagged another bronze for India in the last edition of the tournament at London in 2011.
Against Wang on Friday, Sindhu relied on her smashes, besides hitting as many as 19 clear winners.The 18-year-old Indian started to dominate from the word go. After initially being tied at 3-3, the Hyderabadi surged ahead to open a slight 6-3 lead.Determined not to lose the advantage, Sindhu kept on increasing the gap to make it 13-8.
Wang, however, managed to bag four points on the trot to reduce the margin to 12-13. But Sindhu regained her composure pretty quickly to pocket three consecutive points to once again move ahead.Wang gave Sindhu scare one more time by making it 18-19 before the Indian eventually wrapped it up 21-18.In the second game also, Sindhu straight-away took a 6-2 lead before four straight points from Wang served as a warning bell to the Indian.Tied at 6-6, Sindhu roared back with three consecutive points to move ahead once again and thereafter she always maintained a lead of at least a point or two.
2) India A choke at finish line:
|India A choke at finish line|
Indian batsmen failed to hold their nerves during slog overs as they lost to Australia A by seven runs in an exciting opening encounter of the Tri-Series tournament between 'A' teams on .
All-rounder Glenn Maxwell's magnificent unbeaten 145 off 99 balls helped Australia score a stiff 298 for eight as Cheteshwar Pujara decided to field after winning the toss.In reply, India were restricted to 291 for eight despite half-centuries from opener Rohit Sharma (66), Suresh Raina (83) and Ambati Rayudu (70). Australia got four points from the match and took their tally to eight points from two matches.
Pacers Nathan Coultier-Nile (3/37 in 10 overs) did a brilliant job at the death as he got two wickets in the 49th over which was a maiden. India were well within sniffing distance of winning the match as they required 16 from last two overs with in-form Rayudu at the crease.
Rayudu who hit five fours and two sixes in his 56-ball knock was dismissed by Coultier-Nile off the first delivery of the 49th over. The burly Stuart Binny (0) wasted three crucial balls before he became Coultier-Nile's second victim of that over.With 16 to get off the last over, it was too much to ask from Mohammed Shami and Siddharth Kaul as they managed only eight runs. Rohit (66, 87 balls, 7x4) again did a fine job upfront and was engaged in three crucial partnerships off 47 with Shikhar Dhawan (15), 46 with Cheteshwar Pujara (29) and 58 with Raina (83, 79 balls, 7x4, 1x6).
Break in tempo
At 151 for three, Rayudu joined Raina as the duo added 85 runs in only 12.2 overs for the fourth wicket. Just when it looked that India A were in control, Raina tried to hit Maxwell out of the park only to be holed out in the deep by Cummins. After Raina's departure, Rayudu tried to keep up the tempo as he hit successive sixes off leggie Fawad Ahmed but couldn't get the team past finishing line.
3) Indian-origin kid sees Real Madrid future:
|Indian-origin kid sees Real Madrid future|
A second trial at Real Madrid heralds a new beginning for Indian-origin schoolboy Joshua Pynadath. The 11-year-old resident of Los Altos, California, will become the first American to join the Real Madrid youth academy program later this year.Real Madrid had to stave off interest from Barcelona to sign Joshua for a year starting this autumn. And the boy is thrilled at the thought of walking through the doors of the academy, known as the Castilla, behind legends such as Raul, Casillas and Guti.
Joshua's family is set to move to Madrid at the end of August, allowing him to spend a year at Real's Alevin A team.Real is Joshua's favourite team and he hopes to emulate Madrid's jewel Cristiano Ronaldo, who is his favourite player. He told Pete Borello of the Los Altos Town Crier: "I was blown away when I got the official news from Real Madrid."
Joshua came to Real's notice when they saw a highlight video of him displaying some fancy footwork for his local club, De Anza Force Soccer Club, showing off his dribbling, passing and scoring. Officials were impressed enough to call him for a trial last November. An extended trial followed.
Joshua received another piece of good news: Barcelona too wanted him to trial for a place at their celebrated youth academy, La Masia. He started his 17-day Spanish spring sojourn in Barcelona, where he felt a bit overawed. By the time he reached Madrid again, he was well within his comfort zone — playing the game he loved, with the club he adored.
"The Real Madrid academy team and coaches seemed very excited to have me back," he said. "It was like I had never left," he said. His second trial at the Castilla was comprehensive and more strenuous. "Both trials were very serious, as kids are fighting to either keep a spot or to earn a spot," said Joshua, who has just completed the fifth grade.
4) 'Great player' Cristiano Ronaldo scores twice as Real Madrid C.F. defeat Chelsea:
|'Great player' Cristiano Ronaldo scores twice as Real Madrid C.F. defeat Chelsea|
Cristiano Ronaldo gave his former coach one more dazzling display of his skills, and delivered a trophy to Real Madrid in the process with a 3-1 win over Chelsea in Wednesday's final of the Guinness International Champions Cup.
Ronaldo scored twice and set up the opener as the Spanish giants got one over their old coach Jose Mourinho, who departed the Bernabeu at the end of last season to return to Chelsea."We played beautiful football," Ronaldo said.Ronaldo's performance, before 67,273 fans at the home of NFL's Miami Dolphis, was acknowledged by Mourinho.
"He's a great player,'' Mourinho said. "If he scores goals, that is not news. If he doesn't score goals, that would be news.''
Real Madrid's new manager Carlo Ancelotti was also coaching against one of his old teams, having led Chelsea to the 2009-10 English Premier League and F.A. Cup double.Madrid opened the scoring in the 14th minute as Ronaldo's well-weighted through ball found Marcelo on the goal side of his marker. After sidestepping the covering defender, the Brazilian fired a well-placed shot into the bottom right corner, beyond the reach of sprawling Chelsea keeper Petr Cech.Chelsea got the equalizer quickly. Ramires split two defenders to be put clear on the goalkeeper. Iker Casillas charged off his line to cut down the angle but Ramires calmly flicked the ball softly over him and into the net.
With scores level in the 30th minute, Ronaldo was the recipient of a hard tackle from behind by Branislav Ivanovic. Ronaldo merely smiled as he sat on the turf, adjusting his kit while most of the other players convened for a bit of shouting.Ronaldo got his revenge on the resulting free kick. From about 25 yards, his strike curled to the left, sneaking just under the crossbar and off the fingertips of the diving Cech.
5) BCCI lost Rs 50 crore on fraud land deal, admits NCA:
|BCCI lost Rs 50 crore on fraud land deal, admits NCA|
The members of the National Cricket Academy sub-committee were in for a rude shock when it was intimated that the BCCI has lost a whopping Rs 50 crore on a dubious land deal and it is now mulling on initiating criminal proceedings against those involved in the mess. Such was the situation after the news was made official that the sub-committee couldn't discuss about filling up of vacant positions of support staff which were up for grabs.
The members of NCA sub-committee were today apprised that one Gurudutt Shanbagh, who is neither an employee of BCCI nor associated with any state associations signed documents on behalf of the Board with Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) for procuring 49 acres of land at a place called Kurki near the airport. Apparently, BCCI made a payment of Rs 46.135 crore for this deal. This deal happened in 2010. Earlier in 2008, BCCI had paid Rs 3.841 crore to Karnataka government for 32 acres of land at place called Bidadi for building NCA facilities but the deal was called off as it was far away from the international airport and logistical difficulties were taken into account.
Now after having paid nearly Rs 50 crore (Rs 49,97,60,000), BCCI bosses were surprised as to the number of PILs that were filed in the Karnataka High Court. On June 20, the High Court gave its verdict terming the land deal illegal. This is when BCCI top brass realised that they have been taken for a ride by a tout. Shanbhag, since then, has been untraceable and the role played by former Manager (Administration) A K Jha came under the scanner.
It has been learnt that BCCI Game Development Manager Ratnakar Shetty got a recorded statement from Jha where he has admitted that "Shanbagh had co-ordinated voluntarily on behalf of BCCI" but couldn't give any convincing answer as to what has been the former's (Shanbagh's) locus standi. "When we questioned as to how Shanbagh entered into the picture, we were told that no one knows his background as he was regularly seen sitting at Jha's office," a BCCI office-bearer told PTI today. Jha has already been removed by the BCCI and the NCA committee today referred the matter to BCCI Working Committee.
Book Release This Week:
|Massacre Pond (By Paul Doiron):|
Massacre Pond (By Paul Doiron):
Massacre Pond is Edgar finalist Paul Doiron's superb new novel featuring Game Warden Mike Bowditch and a beautiful, enigmatic woman whose mission to save the Maine wilderness may have incited a murder
On an unseasonably hot October morning, Bowditch is called to the scene of a bizarre crime: the corpses of seven moose have been found senselessly butchered on the estate of Elizabeth Morse, a wealthy animal rights activist who is buying up huge parcels of timberland to create a new national park.
What at first seems like mindless slaughter—retribution by locals for the job losses Morse's plan is already causing in the region—becomes far more sinister when a shocking murder is discovered and Mike's investigation becomes a hunt to find a ruthless killer. In order to solve the controversial case, Bowditch risks losing everything he holds dear: his best friends, his career as a law enforcement officer, and the love of his life.
The beauty and magnificence of the Maine woods is the setting for a story of suspense and violence when one powerful woman’s missionary zeal comes face to face with ruthless cruelty.
Meet The Author:
|Bestselling author PAUL DOIRON|
Bestselling author PAUL DOIRON is the editor in chief of Down East: The Magazine of Maine. A native of Maine, he attended Yale University and holds an MFA from Emerson College. His first book, The Poacher's Son, is the winner of the Barry award, the Strand award for best first novel, and a finalist for the Edgar and Anthony awards. Paul is a Registered Maine Guide and lives on a trout stream in coastal Maine with his wife, Kristen Lindquist.