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Saturday, 7 September 2013

Subhaditya News Channel Presents Science, Sports ,Political ,Movies News This Week (59)

Animated Collage of  NewsWeek (59)

Collage of NewsWeek-59

Science this Week:
Science News

1) Made-To-Order Materials: Engineers Focus On the Nano to Create Strong, Lightweight Materials:

The lightweight skeletons of organisms such as sea sponges display a strength that far exceeds that of humanmade products constructed from similar materials. Scientists have long suspected that the difference has to do with the hierarchical architecture of the biological materials -- the way the silica-based skeletons are built up from different structural elements, some of which are measured on the scale of billionths of meters, or nanometers. Now engineers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have mimicked such a structure by creating nanostructured, hollow ceramic scaffolds, and have found that the small building blocks, or unit cells, do indeed display remarkable strength and resistance to failure despite being more than 85 percent air.

"Inspired, in part, by hard biological materials and by earlier work by Toby Schaedler and a team from HRL Laboratories, Caltech, and UC Irvine on the fabrication of extremely lightweight microtrusses, we designed architectures with building blocks that are less than five microns long, meaning that they are not resolvable by the human eye," says Julia R. Greer, professor of materials science and mechanics at Caltech. "Constructing these architectures out of materials with nanometer dimensions has enabled us to decouple the materials' strength from their density and to fabricate so-called structural metamaterials which are very stiff yet extremely lightweight."At the nanometer scale, solids have been shown to exhibit mechanical properties that differ substantially from those displayed by the same materials at larger scales. For example, Greer's group has shown previously that at the nanoscale, some metals are about 50 times stronger than usual, and some amorphous materials become ductile rather than brittle. "We are capitalizing on these size effects and using them to make real, three-dimensional structures," Greer says.In an advance online publication of the journal Nature Materials, Greer and her students describe how the new structures were made and responded to applied forces.

The largest structure the team has fabricated thus far using the new method is a one-millimeter cube. Compression tests on the the entire structure indicate that not only the individual unit cells but also the complete architecture can be endowed with unusually high strength, depending on the material, which suggests that the general fabrication technique the researchers developed could be used to produce lightweight, mechanically robust small-scale components such as batteries, interfaces, catalysts, and implantable biomedical devices.

Greer says the work could fundamentally shift the way people think about the creation of materials. "With this approach, we can really start thinking about designing materials backward," she says. "I can start with a property and say that I want something that has this strength or this thermal conductivity, for example. Then I can design the optimal architecture with the optimal material at the relevant size and end up with the material I wanted."The team first digitally designed a lattice structure featuring repeating octahedral unit cells -- a design that mimics the type of periodic lattice structure seen in diatoms. Next, the researchers used a technique called two-photon lithography to turn that design into a three-dimensional polymer lattice. Then they uniformly coated that polymer lattice with thin layers of the ceramic material titanium nitride (TiN) and removed the polymer core, leaving a ceramic nanolattice. The lattice is constructed of hollow struts with walls no thicker than 75 nanometers."We are now able to design exactly the structure that we want to replicate and then process it in such a way that it's made out of almost any material class we'd like -- for example, metals, ceramics, or semiconductors -- at the right dimensions," Greer says.In a second paper, scheduled for publication in the journal Advanced Engineering Materials, Greer's group demonstrates that similar nanostructured lattices could be made from gold rather than a ceramic. "Basically, once you've created the scaffold, you can use whatever technique will allow you to deposit a uniform layer of material on top of it," Greer says.

In the Nature Materials work, the team tested the individual octahedral cells of the final ceramic lattice and found that they had an unusually high tensile strength. Despite being repeatedly subjected to stress, the lattice cells did not break, whereas a much larger, solid piece of TiN would break at much lower stresses. Typical ceramics fail because of flaws -- the imperfections, such as holes and voids, that they contain. "We believe the greater strength of these nanostructured materials comes from the fact that when samples become sufficiently small, their potential flaws also become very small, and the probability of finding a weak flaw within them becomes very low," Greer says. So although structural mechanics would predict that a cellular structure made of TiN would be weak because it has very thin walls, she says, "we can effectively trick this law by reducing the thickness or the size of the material and by tuning its microstructure, or atomic configurations."
Additional coauthors on the Nature Materials paper, "Fabrication and Deformation of Three-Dimensional Hollow Ceramic Nanostructures," are Dongchan Jang, who recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Greer's lab, Caltech graduate student Lucas Meza, and Frank Greer, formerly of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The work was supported by funding from the Dow-Resnick Innovation Fund at Caltech, DARPA's Materials with Controlled Microstructural Architecture program, and the Army Research Office through the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies at Caltech. Some of the work was carried out at JPL under a contract with NASA, and the Kavli Nanoscience Institute at Caltech provided support and infrastructure

2) Many genes in dolphins and bats evolved in the same way to allow echolocation:

Despite being separated by millions of years of evolution, dozens of genes in dolphins and bats changed in the same manner to give the species their ability to echolocate. A study, which has received criticism from some scientists, found that similar mutations allowed webs of genes in the animals to contribute to the superpower of being able to “see” with sound.

Biologists have long been interested in convergent evolution, the process by which distantly related species develop similar traits. Echolocation is one of the most famous examples: some species of bats do it, as do bottlenose dolphins and other toothed whales. Researchers have identified a handful of genes for echolocation which are shared across the species. But the extent to which similar mutations radiate throughout the genome to produce a shared trait in distantly related species has been difficult to trace, says evolutionary geneticist Joe Parker from the Queen Mary University of London.

So Parker, fellow Queen Mary scientist Stephen Rossiter and colleagues dug through the genome sequences of nearly two dozen mammalian species to piece together the genes involved in echolocation.To search for genes that evolved convergently in echolocating animals, the researchers lined up the genomes of 22 mammalian species, only some of which echolocate. The species included the bottlenose dolphin and four bat species whose genomes the researchers sequenced for the study: three bats that echolocate and one that doesn’t. The researchers then used a computer simulation to scroll through the genomes and correlate mutations with ability to echolocate. The researchers report September 4 in Nature that nearly 200 genetic regions stood out as evolving together – far more than the researchers had expected.“This highly specialized life trait is affecting vast portions of the genetic makeup of the organism, not just one or two genes,” Parker says.

But David Pollock of the University of Colorado School of Medicine warns, “The authors are not really being cognizant of the limitations of their methods.” Pollock, who led a study that traced convergent evolution in lizards and snakes, asserts that the simulations the team used were “fundamentally incapable” of distinguishing between genes that evolved to enable echolocation and those that changed with no noticeable effect on the animals.Still, Pollock notes the method successfully identified genes already known to play a role in echolocation. It also found many new genes for researchers to explore, he says, including genes involved in hearing, vision, neural processing, and metabolism.For Ya-Ping Zhang of Yunnan University in Kunming, China, whose team previously discovered convergent evolution between bats and dolphins in some echolocation genes, the genome-wide study took an important step in unraveling the extent of convergent evolution in one trait. “It demonstrated that the analysis at the genome level is necessary and powerful to understand the genetic basis of complex traits,” Zhang says

3) World's largest volcano lurks beneath Pacific Ocean:

The most massive volcano in the world, with a footprint the size of New Mexico, crouches in the dark depths of the western Pacific Ocean. With its hollowed peak lying beneath 2 kilometers of water, Tamu Massif, a basaltic mound, may rival the largest known volcano in the solar system: Mars’ Olympus Mons.

A team led by oceanographer William Sager then of Texas A&M University bounced sound waves off the deep-sea mountain to measure its size.

The researchers report online September 5 in Nature Geoscience that Tamu Massif forms a broad, rounded dome rising 4 kilometers from the seafloor and stretching 450 by 650 kilometers across. Core samples that the researchers extracted from the volcano’s slopes showed that, during its prime 145 million years ago, the ancient mound spewed lava sheets 23 meters thick.

4)  Engineers Make Golden Breakthrough to Improve Electronic Devices:

A Kansas State University chemical engineer has discovered that a new member of the ultrathin materials family has great potential to improve electronic and thermal devices. Vikas Berry, William H. Honstead professor of chemical engineering, and his research team have studied a new three-atom-thick material -- molybdenum disulfide -- and found that manipulating it with gold atoms improves its electrical characteristics. Their research appears in a recent issue of Nano Letters.The research may advance transistors, photodetectors, sensors and thermally conductive coatings, Berry said. It could also produce ultrafast, ultrathin logic and plasmonics devices.Berry's laboratory has been leading studies on synthesis and properties of several next-generation atomically thick nanomaterials, such as graphene and boron-nitride layers, which have been applied for sensitive detection, high-rectifying electronics, mechanically strong composites and novel bionanotechnology applications."Futuristically, these atomically thick structures have the potential to revolutionize electronics by evolving into devices that will be only a few atoms thick," Berry said

For the latest research, Berry and his team focused on transistors based on molybdenum disulfide, or MoS2, which was isolated only two years ago. The material is made of three-atom-thick sheets and has recently shown to have transistor-rectification that is better than graphene, which is a single-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms.When Berry's team studied molybdenum disulfide's structure, they realized that the sulfur group on its surface had a strong chemistry with noble metals, including gold. By establishing a bond between molybdenum disulfide and gold nanostructures, they found that the bond acted as a highly coupled gate capacitor.
Berry's team enhanced several transistor characteristics of molybdenum disulfide by manipulating it with gold nanomaterials.
"The spontaneous, highly capacitive, lattice-driven and thermally-controlled interfacing of noble metals on metal-dichalcogenide layers can be employed to regulate their carrier concentration, pseudo-mobility, transport-barriers and phonon-transport for future devices," Berry said.
The work may greatly improve future electronics, which will be ultrathin, Berry said. The researchers have developed a way to reduce the power that is required to operate these ultrathin devices.

"The research will pave the way for atomically fusing layered heterostructures to leverage their capacitive interactions for next-generation electronics and photonics," Berry said. "For example, the gold nanoparticles can help launch 2-D plasmons on ultrathin materials, enabling their interference for plasmonic-logic devices."The research also supports the current work on molybdenum disulfide-graphene-based electron-tunneling transistors by providing a route for direct electrode attachment on a molybdenum disulfide tunneling gate."The intimate, highly capacitive interaction of gold on molybdenum disulfide can induce enhanced pseudo-mobility and act as electrodes for heterostructure devices," said T.S. Sreeprasad, a postdoctoral researcher in Berry's group.The researchers plan to create further complex nanoscale architectures on molybdenum disulfide to build logic devices and sensors."The incorporation of gold into molybdenum disulfide provides an avenue for transistors, biochemical sensors, plasmonic devices and catalytic substrate," said Phong Nguyen, a doctoral student in chemical engineering, Wichita, Kan., who is part of Berry's research team.

5) The sun's older twin, 250 light-years away:

When the sun enters its twilight years, chances are it will look just like HIP 102152.

In terms of mass, temperature and chemical composition, the star HIP 102152 is the closest match to the sun ever found, astronomers announced August 28 at a press conference. But it’s also almost 4 billion years older, providing a tantalizing glimpse of what might happen to our 4.6-billion-year-old sun as it ages.

“Work with solar twins is helping us contextualize the sun as a star,” says Gustavo Porto de Mello, an astronomer at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro who was not involved in the research. “This is another step toward finding stars that represent the sun at various stages of evolution.”HIP 102152 has given the researchers insight on lithium, an element that exists in high amounts in some stars but is virtually absent in the sun. Some astronomers have wondered whether that makes the sun an outlier, Porto de Mello says. But the researchers found that HIP 102152 contains even less lithium than the sun, while a previously identified younger solar twin named 18 Scorpii has more. The findings suggest that the hot, churning interiors of sunlike stars gradually burn through lithium as the stars age. “This might be trying to tell us about the inner workings of the sun,” Porto de Mello says.

Like the sun, HIP 102152 has relatively low amounts of iron, magnesium and silicon, elements that tend to make up the bulk of the mass of rocky planets such as Earth. That could be a sign that the newly discovered star hosts planets, says study coauthor Iván Ramírez from the University of Texas at Austin. The researchers are using the La Silla 3.6-meter telescope in Chile to find out. So far they have ruled out the existence of Jupiter-mass planets, but small rocky ones are still possible.

Finding stars nearly identical to the sun is a difficult task because stars tend to have quirks and anomalies. Plus, it is time consuming and expensive to precisely measure a star’s properties.An international team of astronomers has been hunting solar twins since 2006, when it began picking out promising candidates from a sky survey. One was HIP 102152, which is located about 250 light-years away in the constellation Capricornus.Now the researchers have performed a detailed analysis with the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile, which will be published in Astronomical Journal Letters. HIP 102152 is 97 percent as massive as the sun, 54 degrees Celsius cooler and has very similar abundances of more than 20 chemical elements. “It’s about as dead-on a twin as you could reasonably hope to find,” says David Soderblom, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore who was not on the research team.At 8.2 billion years old, HIP 102152 is the oldest solar twin ever found. In less than 2 billion years, the star will run out of hydrogen in its core and start ballooning to hundreds of times its current size. When that happens to our star, the sun will fry Earth and probably engulf it.

6) New Approach Enhances Quantum-Based Secure Communication:

University of Calgary scientists have overcome an "Achilles' heel" of quantum-based secure communication systems, using a new approach that works in the real world to safeguard secrets.

The team's research -- published in the journal Physical Review Letters back-to-back with similar work by a group from Hefei, China -- also removes a big obstacle to realizing future applications of quantum communication, including a fully functional quantum network."I hope that our new quantum key distribution (QKD) system shows to people who take security seriously that QKD has many advantages and is a viable approach to safeguarding secret information," says Wolfgang Tittel, professor of physics and astronomy and the Alberta Innovates Technology Futures Strategic Research Chair in Quantum Secured Communication.Tittel's co-authors on the scientific paper are his then-PhD students Joshua Slater, Philip Chan and Itzel Lucio-Martinez, and then-Masters student Allison Rubenok.

How QKD-secured communication worksQKD-secured communication networks -- in banking, health care, government and other sectors -- would be much more secure than networks currently protected by encrypting secret information with mathematical algorithms that ultimately may be solved or "broken" and the secrets revealed, Tittel says.In QKD-secured communication, two parties exchange photons (individual quantum particles of light) to create a shared random secret key known only to them that can be used encrypt and decrypt messages.Due to fundamental principles of quantum mechanics, an eavesdropper trying to learn the secret key would inevitably change it, thereby alerting the communicating parties about the intrusion. In this case, the key would be discarded.
Conversely, if the key hasn't been corrupted during distribution, it is not known to an eavesdropper and can then be used for encryption.Research identifies vulnerabilityHowever, recent research has shown that "there is really a danger" of an eavesdropper shining laser light into the fibre optic cable used by the communicating parties, interfering with their photon detectors and rendering the key distribution insecure without them knowing it, Tittel says.In overcoming that vulnerability, the University of Calgary team implemented a recently discovered new QKD protocol, which involves the two communicating parties sending their photons to a "middle man," who does a joint measurement on the two photons. This tells him only if the two parties have the same key, but provides no information about the key itself.

So even if an eavesdropper tries to attack the system through the parties' photon detectors, the key distribution either would either remain secure or the system would alert the parties to the intruder so they wouldn't use that particular key, Tittel says.New protocol allows transmission over greater distanceMoreover, being able to jointly measure two photons sent by the communicating parties is "an important step" toward creating a "quantum repeater," technology that would enable transmission on a QKD-secured network over distances greater than the maximum 200 kilometres now possible, he notes.The university team successfully tested its new QKD system over a fibre optic cable connecting the university's Foothills Hospital campus and SAIT Polytechnic with the university's main campus, as well as more than 100 kilometres of cable in the laboratory."Being able to implement this new protocol will have a big impact," Tittel predicts. "I believe it is the next generation of QKD-secured communication."

Movie Release This Week:
Movies News

1) Riddick:

Riddick, the latest chapter of the groundbreaking saga that began with 2000's hit sci-fi film Pitch Black and 2004's The Chronicles of Riddick reunites writer/director David Twohy (A Perfect Getaway, The Fugitive) and star Vin Diesel (the Fast and Furious franchise, xXx). Diesel reprises his role as the antihero Riddick, a dangerous, escaped convict wanted by every bounty hunter in the known galaxy.

The infamous Riddick has been left for dead on a sun-scorched planet that appears to be lifeless. Soon, however, he finds himself fighting for survival against alien predators more lethal than any human he's encountered. The only way off is for Riddick to activate an emergency beacon and alert mercenaries who rapidly descend to the planet in search of their bounty.

The first ship to arrive carries a new breed of merc, more lethal and violent, while the second is captained by a man whose pursuit of Riddick is more personal. With time running out and a storm on the horizon that no one could survive, his hunters won't leave the planet without Riddick's head as their trophy.

2) 36 Saints:

When New York Police Headquarters is confronted with the horror of a serial murderer loose on the streets of Manhattan, two detectives (Franky G and Jeffrey De Serrano) are tasked with bringing order to the chaos. Oblivious to the danger, six students from all over the world, who now attend school together in New York, are planning a memorial to celebrate the lives of their 30 lost “brothers and sisters” who died suddenly in a tragic plane crash a year prior. As evidence continues to mount and more body bags are gathered, the detectives are convinced that the killer is basing his crimes on the belief that every generation has 36 righteous individuals who live among us, where, with all of them gone, the world would fall into darkness. It is a race against time for the detectives to stop the murders and find the last of the 36 Saints before the killer does.

3) Adore:

Naomi Watts and Robin Wright deliver riveting performances in Adore, a sensual and provocative drama about two lifelong friends who find unexpected happiness in relationships that cross the bounds of convention. An unpredictable tale of misguided love and a heartfelt celebration of the enduring nature of female friendship, Adore is the English-speaking directorial debut of Anne Fontaine. Set in an Australian seaside town, Adore establishes an aura of fable as it follows two women’s plunge into uncharted waters. Watts and Wright fearlessly engage with the physical and psychological components of the story, capturing the complex emotions and powerful desires driving their characters. Strong performances from Xavier Samuel and James Frecheville complement Watts and Wright. Adore radiates with intoxicating sensuality while exploring the intricacies of love, family, morality and passion.

4) Bounty Killer:

It’s been 20 years since the corporations took over the world’s governments. Their thirst for power and profits led to the corporate wars, a fierce global battle that laid waste to society as we know it. Born from the ash, the Council of Nine rose as a new law and order for this dark age. To avenge the corporations’ reckless destruction, the Council issues death warrants for all white collar criminals. Their hunter’s – the Bounty Killer. From amateur savage to graceful assassin, the Bounty Killer’S now compete for body count, fame and a fat stack of cash. They’re ending the plague of corporate greed by exterminating the self serving CEO and providing the survivors of the apocalypse with retribution. These are the new heroes. This is the age of the Bounty Killer.

5) Hell Baby:

The moment Jack (Rob Corddry) and his pregnant wife Vanessa (Leslie Bibb) move into their ramshackle New Orleans starter home, they realize something isn’t right. First an overly friendly guy living in the crawl space (Keegan Michael Key) informs them the house has been the scene of multiple murders. Then a naked old lady appears out of nowhere and sexually assaults a confused Jack—who fights her off, apparently killing her. Soon Vanessa starts exhibiting odd behaviors: smoking, drinking paint-thinner and occasionally speaking in a deep, guttural voice. But even after her new therapist is found crucified in his office, no one suspects that the thing growing in Vanessa’s belly may have something to do with the house’s dark legacy—or the increasing chaos around them. When a pair of inept detectives (Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer) fails to solve the mystery, it falls to two seasoned exorcists dispatched by the Vatican (Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon). But even these hardnosed priest-enforcers aren’t prepared for the mayhem that lies in store as Vanessa’s due date arrives.

Political News This Week:
Political News

1) 'We told Sushmita not to return to Afghanistan':

Family members of author Sushmita Banerjee, who was shot dead by masked gunmen in Afghanistan, on Friday claimed that they had asked her not to return to the troubled country, but she did not listen insisting that the situation had changed there."When Sushmita decided to return in January, we had told her not to return. But she argued that the situation has changed in Afghanistan in the past several years. Let me go. If I find that I can't stay, I will come back", Sushmita's sister-in-law Debalina said."We always lived here in tension thinking about the situation in Afghanistan. But when she rang up about a fortnight back, saying that the situation was normal, we felt assured. Sushmita was doing a paramedical job there," she told a news channel in Kolkata.Sushmita also wanted to write more on the people of Afghanistan and their lives, she said.

Asked about the Taliban's denial of involvement in the killing, she quipped, "It has to be seen if the Taliban was speaking the truth. It seemed that she was the target as nothing happened to other members of her in-laws' family."She said they failed to contact Sushmita's husband Jaanbaz Khan in Afghanistan.The police said in Kabul on Thursday that Sushmita Banerjee, whose memoir about her dramatic escape from the Taliban was turned into a Hindi film, was shot dead in Afghanistan by militants.Banerjee, 49, was killed outside her home in Paktika province. The Taliban on Friday denied killing Sushmita Banerjee, whose murder Afghan officials blamed on the insurgent militia fighting against the government for 12 years.Banerjee's book Kabuliwalar Bangali Bou (A Kabuliwala's Bengali Wife), about her escape from the Taliban in 1995, became a bestseller in India and was made into a Hindi film "Escape From Taliban" in 2003.A candle light vigil was observed in the city's Beliaghata area today to mourn the death of the writer who hailed from the city.Meanwhile, the brother of the author, Gopal Banerjee, on Friday told PTI that the family had contacted the external affairs ministry pleading that the body be brought to Kolkata. He said that they were yet to get a response from the ministry.

"We have contacted the External Affairs Ministry and we have clearly stated that we want to bring back the body of our sister back in Kolkata," he said.The family members also alleged foul play in the killing of Sushmita. He said they had sent mails and got in touch with the Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Brinda Karat to help them bring back the body.Gopal said that it was since the end of last year that she was planning to go back to the country. "We warned her that it would be dangerous. But all our pleas and warnings fell on deaf ears. She pleaded that Afghanistan was safe."Reminiscing about the last conversation he had with her sister, Gopal said, "Eight to ten days back Sushmita had called for the last time. She didn't say anything about any threat or problem there. Maybe she didn't want us to get tensed on account of her."

2) Jagdish Tytler summoned as accused by court in forgery case:

Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, who has been chargesheeted by CBI along with controversial arms dealer Abhishek Verma in a forgery case, was issued summons as an accused by a Delhi court asking him to appear on September 30.Special CBI Judge V K Gupta took cognisance of the CBI's charge sheet which was filed on the then Minister of State for Home Ajay Maken's complaint that a forged letter on his letterhead was written to the Prime Minister by Verma seeking easing of business visa norms in 2009.Verma is presently lodged in Tihar Jail after being arrested in various cases lodged against him by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate.CBI in its charge sheet has alleged that the "forgery was done with active connivance" of the Congress leader with Verma.

"The forged letter was given to a China-based telecom firm with the purpose of wrongful assuring them of visa extension in India. Verma had allegedly demanded one million dollars from the firm showing the letter but the money did not exchange hands," it said.Acting on the complaint of Maken, CBI had registered a case against Verma last year under section 469 of the IPC which relates to forgery for purpose of harming reputation.CBI has also slapped charges for violation of Information Technology Act and Prevention of Corruption Act.

During the course of its investigation, CBI claimed to have found that Tytler was actively involved in the forgery of the letter, written on letterhead of Maken, which was purportedly addressed to the Prime Minister for easing visa norms for a Chinese telecom firm in 2009.Verma and his Romanian wife Anca Maria Neacsu were arrested by the CBI on June 8 last year in a corruption case for allegedly receiving money from a Swiss firm to stall its blacklisting proceedings by Indian government.This was followed by registration of the forgery case. Anca is also in judicial custody.

C Edmond Allen, an estranged business associate of Verma, had sent a tranche of documents to CBI and Defence Ministry which included a letter allegedly written on the forged letterhead of Maken.Verma and Allen, Chairman of Ganton, are entangled in a number of litigations against each other in India and the United States.During the inquiry, CBI found that the letter without Maken's signature was allegedly used to impress Verma's clients and show his influence in the power corridors.The letter on Maken's forged letterhead was part of alleged dealings between Verma's front company Ganton and a Chinese telecom company working closely with MTNL and BSNL, the charge sheet said.When the case was registered in August last year, Verma had termed the allegations as "politically motivated.""This is a political rivalry and this is being done at the behest of Jagdish Tytler as I had deposed against him in another (graft) case. There was a deal between me and CBI as per which it had said that if I give evidence and depose against Tytler, the agency will not oppose my wife Anca's bail in that case. I gave evidence against Tytler but CBI backtracked," Verma had said in the court.

3) Go G20! World leaders get the party on in Russia:

US President Barack Obama exchange a cold handshake with his Russian counterpart and G-20 host, Vladimir Putin

There couldn’t have been a more dramatic venue for the G-20 summit than Saint Petersburg, Russia. That’s because the recent diplomatic stand-off on a military intervention in Syrian has seen Washington and Moscow square off in the rudest possible way.

The power tensions over Syria have overshadowed the other main agenda on the plate -- the global economic crisis.

In the photo above we see a US President Barack Obama exchange a cold handshake with his Russian counterpart and G-20 host, Vladimir Putin. 

Putin’s reported threat to bomb Saudi Arabia in the eventuality of a US strike on Syria doesn’t seem to have gone down well with Obama.

United Nations Secretary-General seems to be trying too hard to convince Barack Obama that airstrikes on Syria will backfire on him like it did for his predecessors.

Obama though looks like he is keener to know the menu of the working dinner.

4) 190 people killed in Bihar floods; Nitish makes aerial survey:

190 people killed in Bihar floods; Nitish makes aerial survey:

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar conducted aerial survey of 12 inundated districts to take stock of the situation arising out of flood which has claimed 190 lives so far in Bihar.Returning from the survey, the CM told reporters that the state government has readied all arrangements to meet the challenge of heavy rains next week in Nepal and North Bihar forecast by Meteorological department.Accompanied by Principal Secretary Disaster Management, Vyasji, the CM took round of 12 flooded districts by air. These were Patna, Samastipur, Begusarai, Khagaria, Munger, Lakhisarai, Bhagalpur, Katihar, Bhojpur, Saran, Vaishali and Buxar.Kumar said water level of swollen Ganga river was receding.He also said that nearly 60 lakh people were affected by the flood.Kumar said relief was distributed among the marooned on a war footing. Relief camps have been set up in the affected areas and necessary items like foodgrains were given to the victims.

The chief minister said he talked to the collectors of all the districts on the shore of the Ganga and gave them necessary instructions.the Bihar CM said that he himself would review flood relief and rehabilitation work and prepare a report on damage to be sent to the Centre.

He said flood relief work was carried out under Disaster Management law in which 75 per cent of the cost was borne by the Centre while state's share was 25 per cent.Meanwhile, a report from Disaster Management Department said that 190 people have lost their lives in the flood across the state so far.The highest toll of 30 people was reported from Purnea district while the casualty was 26 in Bhojpur and 21 in Munger, it said.The report said that nearly 4 lakh animals were affected in the floods.

5) Indian Mujahideen modules: Darbhanga out, Kolkata in:

Darbhanga was for long the operations command centre for Indian Mujahideen. But now, details have emerged about how Kolkata has been a preferred destination for the terror outfit.Yasin Bhatkal’s interrogation gives a complete picture of the Kolkata module.Bhatkal told the National Investigation Agency team that there are 8 modules in West Bengal, including a major one in Kolkata. 

Bhatkal told the National Investigation Agency team that there are 8 modules in West Bengal, including a major one in Kolkata. 

These modules have been in place since eight years now. Barring an attack on the US consulate in 2002, which was carried out in the name of the Students Islamic Movement of India, these modules have not been activated for any other major terror strike.When the IM began taking shape, they roped in Mohammad Jalaluddin to raise funds for the organisation. Jalaluddin, who hails from West Bengal, was arrested in Lucknow two years after he abducted a businessman named Partha Roy in 2007.He told his interrogators that after the abduction, he left for Bangladesh where he met up with IM founder Amir Reza Khan. ‘I had contacts with the underworld and used their channels and routes to transport arms and ammunition to various parts of the country through Kolkata,’ he told the police.NIA officials tell  that Kolkata is a logically suitable place for terror activities and till date there continues to be infiltration unabated from Bangladesh, which makes the job of the security agencies tough. 

It has been noticed that most IM operatives have had a stint in Kolkata. They were extremely careful not to carry out any attacks in the city or other parts of Bengal since they did not want their cover to blow. Moreover, the Kolkata module is extremely crucial for the IM. That’s because this module only supplies arms and ammunition, and also manages to pump in crores worth of fake currency. Bhatkal, in fact, was once arrested in Kolkata in connection with a fake currency case and was let off since nobody knew about his importance. During his interrogation, Bhatkal said that nearly 90 per cent of the fake currency was pumped in through the Malda in West Bengal.Throwing more light on the pattern in which this module works, Bhatkal told NIA that they have outsourced operations across the state. 

‘Each one works for the money and no questions are asked. We do not house any of the operatives coming in from Bangladesh or other countries in our safe houses of sleeper cells. We have chosen villages close to the border areas and outsourced the operation to some people over there,’ he said.The NIA says that this is where the problem begins. The person housing these operatives is paid Rs 5000 per operative. The persons who provide accommodation have no records in the police files, as they are not associated with any terror activity and hence are never on the radar. Such operations are rampant in Malda, Murshidabad and Nadia, the NIA says. What is even more worrying is that such a pattern has been in force since the last five years and none of the agencies even had a clue about the same. In his duration, the IM would have ensured that at least 3,000 operatives would have infiltrated into India. The terrorists who have infiltrated are not only from the IM, but according to Yasin, also include cadres of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, HuJI and Hizbul Tahrir.

Further while explaining the Kolkata module, Bhatkal says that the new association with the Hizbul Tahrir has made it mandatory for them to get the Kolkata module functioning. All these years, the operations were slow and the module was never used to launch major attacks. However, due to the proximity of this module to Bangladesh and the fact that the HT operates from there it becomes important to operationalise this module, he says. The HT and the IM came together at the behest of the Lashkar in order to fight the cause of the Rohingya Muslims and the Bodhgaya blasts was one such example of this association.

6) Asaram case fit for trial by fast-track court: Prosecution:

The sexual assault case involving allegations against self-styled godman Asaram Bapu was fit for trial in a fast-track court, Additional Advocate General Anand Purohit said on Thursday.

Talking to reporters in Jodhpur, Purohit said the prosecution may also consider making one of Asaram's associates, Shiva or Shilpi, a government witness. While Shiva, an aide of Asaram's, is in police custody, Shilpi, the warden at the Chhindwara Gurukul where the girl was a student, is still absconding.Jodhpur police said they have established a strong link in connection with the case between and Shiva and Shilpi."Shilpi is a vital link in the investigation... Shiva was the mediator between Shilpi and Asaram," Deputy Commissioner of Police Ajay Pal Lamba told reporters in Jodhpur. "It is Shilpi who planned to send the girl to Asaram by convincing her that she was under the spell of evil spirits and only Bapu could save her," the DCP added."Shilpi was in regular touch with the parents of the girl in order to convince them about taking their daughter to either the ashram at Jodhpur or in Ahmedabad," he said.There were dozens of calls exchanged between Shilpi, Shiva and the girl's parents from August 13 to 15, the day when the 16-yr-old-girl was allegedly sexually assaulted at Manai ashram by the accused. The police have submitted call data records in court to back their claim, he said.

Meanwhile, Shiva, who is facing three-days' police custody, refused all allegations against Asaram saying, "There was no sexual exploitation of the girl... it is a conspiracy by the Congress to malign him (Asaram)".As to the references to an alleged CD in the case, Shiva said, "There is no CD in existence as mentioned by police." Asaram's bail plea was rejected on Wednesday by District and Sessions (Rural) Court Judge Manoj Kumar Vyas.

7) Visakhapatnam HPCL fire toll rises to 25:

With one more victim succumbing to his burns on Friday, the death toll in last month's fire at the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited's complex Visakhapatnam rose to 25.

A probe is on into the accident, though prima facie a gas leak in the sea cooling water system was attributed to the fire.Appala Raju (21), who was undergoing treatment at Old Care hospital in Visakhapatnam, succumbed to his burn injuries on Friday, according to HPCL sources.Seven workers, who were airlifted to a burns hospital in Mumbai are responding well and their condition is stable, they said.A massive blaze had broken out on August 23 at the HPCL complex here when staffers from private companies were at work.Of the 25 persons killed in the mishap, only one was an employee of HPCL while rest of the victims were private workers engaged by contract companies. At present 15 patients - eight in local hospitals and seven in Mumbai - are undergoing treatment.

A committee set up by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and HPCL headquarters, will submit its report soon on circumstances that led to the blast in the cooling tower, sources said.Oil Industry Safety Directorate's executive director Hirak Dutta, who is heading the panel constituted by the Ministry, has already inspected the blast site. Earlier, the Andhra Pradesh Directorate of Factories had said investigation in the mishap was on following which they will issue a notice to the Vizag facility of HPCL seeking an explanation for the accident. 

8) China intrudes 640 sq km into Indian territory; stops patrol?:

A committee tasked by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to assess the situation on the China border is understood to have reported that Indian troops are not being allowed to patrol up to the perceived Line of Actual Control by Chinese army.

The team, headed by National Security Advisory Board chairman Shyam Saran, visited Ladakh between August 2 and 9 to review the border infrastructure development and the situation there. It is believed to have said that Chinese troops have built motorable roads inside the LAC perceived by India in Daulat Beg Oldie and other sectors in Ladakh and that patrolling by Indian troops was being prevented, sources said.

The issue was raised in the Lok Sabha on Thursday by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha who said media reports have quoted the committee as having concluded that 640 sq km of Indian territory has been occupied by China. He wanted Defence Minister A K Antony to immediately clarify the situation in Parliament. The government agreed, saying Antony will be requested to make a statement by 1 pm tomorrow or as early as possible.

"The Parliament is unaware of this... The defence minister should be called immediately to the House and he should clarify on the issue. There should be a debate in the House," Sinha said.Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said the government understands the seriousness of the matter but cannot make a statement immediately. "I will request the defence minister to make a statement tomorrow (on Friday)," he said. However, this did not satisfy the opposition benches and members from the BJP, Shiv Sena and Samajwadi Party, among others were on their feet.

9) Bimal Gurung tells students of Darjeeling Hills to walk to school:

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha presented a 'Teachers' Day gift' to tens of thousands of students of Darjeeling Hills by announcing the re-opening of schools and colleges from September 13. But the bitter part of this sugar-coated pill is that students would have to trek to their institutions every day.

Morcha chief Bimal Gurung vowed that the ongoing shutdown will continue, prompting chief minister Mamata Banerjee to warn that she will not tolerate "hooliganism". "I want the Hills people to live in peace and usher in development," Mamata said.

Gurung invited the heads of all educational institutions and teachers to his Patlebas residence on the outskirts of town on Thursday noon. The academic community told him about the need to re-open schools and colleges that have remained shut since August 3. They managed to convince Gurung that students could lose an entire academic year if educational institutions remained closed.

Gurung agreed. He even withdrew his diktat for students to hold weekend rallies and asked schools to hold classes on Saturdays and Sundays to make up for the lost time. But true to his style of functioning, Gurung decreed that no transport would be allowed to ferry students to schools and colleges. The institutions were instead told to arrange for boarding facilities for students who cannot walk the distance. Students from the rest of the country and abroad, who are boarders, would be allowed to come up to their respective schools in vehicles. This diktat has put students, who stay in places like Jorebungalow and Ghoom, but study in Darjeeling in a quandary.

Heads of some schools told TOI that arranging for boarding for would be a problem. "The good thing is that schools and colleges have been allowed to reopen. That's a positive first step. Let's reopen our gates and then we'll tackle the problem of students who live outside Darjeeling town. We hope that the indefinite strike will also be lifted soon," said the principal of a prominent school asking not to be named. Teachers' organizations will meet on Friday to sort out this issue.

Gurung has also decreed that a five-minute lecture on Gorkhaland would be part of the morning assembly in all schools and colleges. He has asked teachers and students to conduct signature campaigns in support of Gorkhaland and send the petitions to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

In Kolkata, Mamata accused Congress of adding fuel to the fire in Darjeeling."The prime minister had written to me that the Centre would not talk to GJAC without consulting the state government, but when I was in Kalimpong (on September 3), the Union home minister met the GJAC delegation. How did he meet them? What does it mean?" the CM asked."I do not know what transpired in the meeting, but they (GJAC) received the oxygen and have been issuing threats thereafter."

that she will not tolerate muscle flexing in the Hills and reietaredted that there was "no question of Bengal being divided". In the GTA election, could not be held on Wednesday, as many of the elected members are now in general and for that GJM had demanded their release. The CM said that as they are in jail and under judicial remand so the court can only release them. They can be released on parole to caste their votes."She said that by force if something is done in the hills, then it would not be tolerated. Everything must be held in a democratic process. I will not tolerate hooliganism. During the past 34 years there had no development in the hills. The last tripartite meeting was held in June. For the cause of development, democratic process should be allowed to operate. But none will be allowed to operate using force.

Sports News This Week:
Sports News

1) Leander Paes, Radek Stepanek topple top seeds Bryan brothers at US Open:

Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek stunned top seeded and hot favourite pair of Mike and Bob Bryan, who were chasing a rare Calendar Grand Slam, in a gripping contest to storm into the US Open men's doubles final. The fourth seeded Indo-Czech pair denied the Bryans a piece of history with their 3-6 6-3 6-4 win as the American twins were trying to become first doubles team since 1951 to collect all four Grand The Bryans ran away with the first set but faced stiff challenge in the second, which Leander Paes and Stepanek dominated to take the match to full length.

Leander Paes stood out with his backhand slice and chips while Stepanek was solid with his blistering double-handed backhand.Leander Paes and Stepanek will have a chance to win their first Slam title of the season, having finished semifinalists at the Wimbledon The two teams began well but Leander Paes and Stepanek handed the advantage to the Bryans in the sixth game of the opening set. Facing a breakpoint, Stepanek double faulted which handed the Bryans a 4-2 lead, which soon became a comfortable 5-2 when the Americans held the next. Leander Paes served to stay in the set and he held the game, which featured an entertaining 21-shot rally.Bob served at love to quickly wrap up the first set in just 29 minutes.The fourth seeds were put under pressure straight away as they were facing a break point in the first game of the second set but Paes saved that with a volley winner at the net. Bob slightly lost concentration and was soon facing two break points. Paes hit a terrific backhand slice winner to convert the first chance and go up 2-0.

However the advantage was lost when the Indian dropped his serve in the next, double faulting at 30-40.Nevertheless, they kept fighting and succeeded in breaking Bob in the sixth game. As Paes held his own, they soon had a 5-2 cushion and kept that lead to force a third set.The Indo-Czech combo had chance to get an early break in the decider on Mike's serve and after an engrossing tussle they succeeded in converting the fourth chance of the third game to open up a mini 2-1 lead and consolidated that to 3-1 with a hold.Stepanek saved three breakpoints in the sixth game to take a 5-1 lead but Paes failed to serve out the match in the eighth, allowing Bryans to comeback.Bryans closed the gap to 4-5 however, Stepanek served out the match after some anxious moment.

2) Listless Andy Murray crashes out, Novak Djokovic books semis berth at US Open:

Andy Murray crashes out

Defending champion Andy Murray was the latest grand slam winner to be bundled out of the US Open and deny fans a dream matchup, while Novak Djokovic stayed the course on Thursday to complete the last four lineup.Winds blew across Arthur Ashe Stadium but that did not bother top seed Djokovic, who defeated Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-0 to claim a berth in Saturday's semi-finals. An eagerly anticipated renewal of his grand slam rivalry with Wimbledon winner Murray had already been spoiled after ninth seed Wawrinka of Switzerland spanked the out-of-sorts Scot 6-4 6-3 6-2 in their quarter-final. The other semi-final will have French Open champion Rafa Nadal against eighth-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

"I'm always trying to play my best tennis in the grand slams," said world number one Djokovic, who reached his 14th consecutive grand slam semi-final. "I'm really working on my game."Youzhny, the 21st seed, said the Serb had never given an inch. "Every point you have to play," the Russian said. "He never miss. He never give you some presents." Wawrinka stepped out from the shadow cast by compatriot Roger Federer and into his first grand slam semi-final with a decisive victory over the Wimbledon champion, winning the battle from the baseline and the net. The surging Wawrinka, who raised his 2013 record to 41-15 with the upset win, raised both arms in triumph after third seed Murray dumped a second-serve return into the net on match point.

3) UEFA World Cup qualifiers - The road to 2014:

Christiano Ronaldo

After all the hullaballoo surrounding transfer deadline day it's refreshing to look forward to a week of football, which leads up to the worlds biggest sporting event – World Cup 2014. Football's most hallowed stage is within touching distance and the actors (nations) are rehearsing through their final round of auditions – the world cup qualifiers. The next two-three months will determine the final 32 teams of the competing six FIFA confederations. The UEFA confederation boasts of the maximum (13) qualifying spots. 53 nations affiliated with UEFA take part in the qualification process and are divided into eight groups of six teams and a single group of five teams. The nine group winners qualify while the eight best runners-up enter into a play-off. Given the current standings, the major plot lines in the offing include:

Group A – Belgium, an exciting young talented team, square off against Scotland in Glasgow. They beat the Scots 2-0 last time around and should they win this weekend they would be all but assured of an automatic spot. Croatia, who sit three points adrift face a tough away fixture to Serbia. However, should Belgium slip up and Croatia win, both teams will face each other on October 11th in what will definitely be the decider.

Group C – Germany sit pretty on 16 points after winning five of their six games, but what makes this group exciting is the battle for second. Austria, Sweden and Ireland are all level on 11 points. The two big games in the group are Republic of Ireland vs. Sweden in Dublin on Friday and Austria vs. Republic of Ireland in Vienna on Tuesday. Austria presently leads the trio due to a superior goal difference but all this could change after this round of fixtures. Group F – This is an interesting one in which three points separate Portugal, Russia, and Israel. Portugal who currently top the group has played an extra game and they boot up against Northern Ireland in what may not be an easy fixture for Ronaldo and Co. Portugal drew against Northern Ireland the last time these sides met and the journey to Belfast may not be as rosy as one would assume. Russia should walk over Luxembourg on Friday but it is the game in hand against Israel on Tuesday that will have a significant bearing on the group.

Group H – An eagerly contested group in which three points separate Montenegro, England, and Ukraine. In what could be a tricky fixture, Montenegro face Poland, a team they drew against at home. England and Ukraine both have an easier first round on Friday as they face off against Moldova and San Marino respectively. With injuries to Rooney and Sturridge, Hodgson may choose to start with Lambert upfront supported by Welbeck and Walcott on the flanks. On Tuesday, England travel to Kyiv to face Ukraine in what is sure to be a feisty encounter. The last time these sides met in London it ended 1-1. Both sides need a win if they are to actualize their world cup ambitions.

Group I – The final group profiles two heavyweights in Spain and France who are separated by a point. Both side have already faced each other twice so it is up to Finland to play spoiler. The way things stands, Spain leads the group but a trip to Helsinki over the weekend is not going to be easy especially since their last meeting ended 1-1.The other mentions include Italy, Netherlands, and Switzerland all of whom are leading their respective groups comfortably and should go through.

4) Saina Nehwal says Indian Badminton League will help Indian players improve:

Saina Nehwal

After a splendid run in the Indian Badminton League (IBL), star shuttler Saina Nehwal is now hoping to do well in the upcoming Super Series events and next year's Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. Also Read: Saina inspires Hotshots to inaugural IBL trophy

"My focus will be on doing well in the Super Series. Next year, it is going to be very tough with Commonwealth Games, Asian games etc," Saina told PTI.

"I hope to stay fit for that," added the world number four who will next play in the Japan Super Series to be held from September 17 to 22 at Tokyo. Also Read: Why Saina, Jwala don't get along

Expressing happiness about her performance in the IBL, where she remained unbeaten, she said the new tournament has helped the young and senior players as well. Also Read: A rivalry that is too young to call

"IBL would really help all the youngsters, players like us to play with most of the top players and I think it will really help Indian players to improve a lot. Overall, money-wise every player in the world would get lot more money than playing any other tournaments," Saina said.With her unbeaten run, Saina, who was adjudged the player of the tournament, helped her team Hyderabad Hotshots to bag the title in the inaugural edition of the league.The 23-year-old from Hyderabad said badminton in the country is poised to make giant strides with several young players performing well in international competitions."I think all the players are doing really well. Sindhu, Srikanth are doing very well. I think it will be just a matter of time, when we will be there in top 10 in almost all the categories," Saina said.Saina, who participated in a panel discussion on winning more medals in the Olympics at the prestigious Indian School of Business (ISB) Wednesday, said she hoped to be fit for the Rio Olympics though there is still long time to go for the mega sports event. "I just want to stay fit. Because, Olympics is going to be tough for everyone. It is going to be really challenging. It comes after three years. So it will be really really tough for all of us to stay fit till that time," she said.

"But I just hope to be more confident, be more relaxed and just give my best."

Asked about the recent reports of rivalry with her young colleague P V Sindhu during the IBL, Saina said: "I think I don't have to answer for anything. It is for my happiness I am playing this game. I really want to achieve a lot for my country. That is what is important."

5) SAFF Football Championships: Lacklustre India qualify for semis despite loss to Nepal:

Defending champions India dished out yet another lacklustre performance to go down 1-2 against hosts Nepal but still managed to sail through to the semifinals of the SAFF Football Championships in Kathmandu on Thursday.
The six-time champions were clearly the inferior side in their last Group A match at a packed Dasarath Stadium and they were lucky to make it to the last four stage after Pakistan beat Bangladesh 2-1 in another simultaneous match.
For Nepal, who were cheered by a vociferous home crowd, Anil Gurung and Jumanu Rai scored in the 70th and 81st minutes while Syed Rahim Nabi pulled one back for India in the stoppage time (92nd minute) with an impressive side volley.
India and Pakistan ended on four points behind Group A toppers Nepal -- who garnered seven points from two wins and one draw -- but Wim Koevermans' men qualified for the semifinals as group runners-up having beaten Pakistan in the head-to-head encounter.
A lucky India had beaten Pakistan 1-0 in their campaign opener thanks to an own goal by their rival skipper before escaping with a 1-1 draw against Bangladesh with captain Sunil Chhetri scoring an injury time equaliser.According to tournament rules, if two teams are on equal points in the group stage, head-to-head result will first decide which team will go through to the next stage and goal difference rule comes to play only after this. In case of India, since they have beaten Pakistan earlier, there is no need to look at goal difference.
In the semifinals, India will play the Group A winners which will be decided after tomorrow's match between Maldives and Afghanistan, who are on six points each after winning both their earlier matches.Today's result was the only second win for Nepal against India in 12 matches in all-time head-to-head contest, according to FIFA records. The earlier win by Nepal was through penalty shootout in the 1993 SAF Games in Dhaka after the two sides were locked 2-2 after regulation and extra time.

Book of This Week:

The Dalai Lama's Cat :by David Michie:

Book Cover of The Dalai Lama`s Cat

The Dalai Lama's Cat by David Michie is a fictional tale told from the point of view of a cat. The cat tells how she was rescued from certain death to become a part of the Dalai Lama's household. 

In a way, The Dalai Lama's Cat is almost a primer in Buddhism.  As she roams around her home and explores a local cafe, the cat known alternately as Rinpoche, Snow Lion and Bodhicattva charms everyone in her path but also absorbs and shares lessons learned through observation of the monks, the Dalai Lama, the man who owns the cafe and other creatures. 

The Dalai Lama's Cat is a lovely, reflective, uplifting tale.  Kiddo also enjoyed it.

Author : David Michie

Author : David Michie

DAVID MICHIE is an internationally published author and meditation coach whose books include his recent novel The Dalai Lama's Cat as well as the non fiction best sellers Buddhism for Busy People and Hurry Up and Meditate.

The Dalai Lama's Cat, 'written' by His Holiness's cat, is a warm hearted account of life with The Dalai Lama, his conversations with celebrities, and her own spirited adventures, offering a playful and intriguing peek into the world of Tibetan Buddhism.Buddhism for Busy People describes David's own encounter with the tradition, weaving an autobiographic narrative through a presentation of core concepts. Hurry Up and Meditate introduces the scientifically established benefits and main types of meditation practice in a purely secular format.

Enlightenment to Go illuminates the world's first self-help book, an 8th century text by the Buddhist sage Shantideva, which The Dalai Lama consistently recommends for its life-changing psychological tools and transcendent wisdom.

David teaches mindfulness and meditation techniques to a wide variety of audiences and has developed guided meditations to benefit secular as well as Buddhist practitioners.David was born in Zimbabwe, educated at Rhodes University, South Africa, and lived in London for ten years. A student of the Tibetan Buddhist Society, his teachers are Les Sheehy, Geshe Acharya Thubten Loden and Zasep Tulku Rinpoche. He is married and currently lives in Perth, Western Australia.

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