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Saturday, 21 September 2013

Subhaditya News Channel Presents Science, Political,Sports and Movie Release News This Week (61)

Animated Collage of NewWeek(61) Pictures

Collage of Pictures of NewsWeek (61) 

Science News This Week:

Science News

1) Feces in termites' nests block biological pest control:

Built-in poop nourishes bacteria that protect notorious Formosan species. Mixing their own poop into nest walls gives Formosan termites a bacterial boost in fighting off human attempts to destroy them with insect plagues.

A bacterial strain found in the fecally-enhanced nest walls of pest termites Coptotermes formosanus helps protect them from a potentially deadly fungus, says entomologist Nan-Yao Su of the University of Florida in Fort Lauderdale. Such live-in boosters could help explain why efforts to control the termites with fungal diseases have been a failure, Su and his colleagues report September 18 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“You can put the fungus on an insect in a lab dish and say, ‘Hah! We killed the termite,’” Su says. But for termites in their natural colonies, the soil-dwelling fungus Metarhizium anisopliae has failed to devastate.Meanwhile Formosan termites are destroying homes, railroad ties and even living trees. Colonies of these termites have proven among the pests most destructive to wood in the southeastern United States and Hawaii. A subtropical species from Asia, it turned up in Texas in 1951. A single colony can grow to more than a million termites scurrying through multiple underground nests and a tunnel network ranging across 150 meters.

After millions of years of crowding into warm, humid nests underground, the termites have evolved both biology and behavior that can fight fungi, says coauthor Thomas Chouvenc, also at the University of Florida. Termites attend to personal hygiene and invite grooming by stretching out a leg or exposing a body area. Nest mates oblige by nipping off detritus, which passes into the formidable termite gut, where pathogens typically die. The new study, Chouvenc explains, explores how termites export their gut’s protective power to the walls of their nests.

Formosan termites create a fecal lining for their foraging tunnels and mix feces with chewed plant material to make the structural material for the rest of their homes.

Earlier work from other labs had suggested that the termites excrete pathogen-combating bacteria.Microbiologist and coauthor Monica Elliott, also at the University of Florida, worked with the entomologists to isolate more than 500 Actinobacteria strains from structural material in five termite nests. (Actinobacteria are common microbes in soil.) Researchers used tests in lab dishes to screen the bacteria for pathogen-fighting ability. They used a representative fighter in more naturalistic experiments: Termites were tucked into sand and sterilized structural material between planes of Plexiglas. Letting one strain of the Actinobacteria, a kind of Streptomyces, establish itself in the sand allowed 1.6 times as many termites to survive 60 days of fungal contamination when compared with bacteria-free sand.

What’s most interesting to urban entomologist Gregg Henderson of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge is that Chouvenc and Su have declared human termite science a 50-year failure at biological control yet “show how simply and elegantly it is performed by the termites themselves.”

2) Vitamin stops static electricity:

A little vitamin E could zap static cling.

The chemical wipes out static electricity by getting rid of molecules that stabilize charge, researchers report in the Sept. 20 Science. By adding vitamin E or similar chemicals to coatings for electronics, manufacturers could fend off the electrostatic shocks that fry computer chips.Static electricity may be best known for delivering tiny jolts to people shuffling across carpets. But in electronics, “the situation is very serious,” says physical chemist Fernando Galembeck of the University of Campinas in Brazil, who was not involved with the new work. Beyond messing up motherboards, electrostatic shocks can spark fires and explosions that injure people and damage property. “These things happen all the time,” he says.

Static electricity has kindled scientists’ interest for millennia, ever since Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus charged up a hunk of amber by rubbing it against wool around 2,600 years ago. Still, how exactly friction causes static electricity remains a mystery, says chemical engineer Daniel Lacks of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. “What happens when things charge is totally unknown scientifically.”

In the last few years, Bilge Baytekin, study leader Bartosz Grzybowski and colleagues at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., have chipped away at the big unknown. They’ve shown how to charge two pieces of identical polymer just by touching them together. When the two pieces rub against one another, friction breaks chemical bonds on the polymers’ surface. Then new bonds form between the pieces, making them cling to each other like sticky tape, says Baytekin.

When researchers peel the pieces apart, the bonds linking the polymers together rip, leaving different chemical fragments hanging. Some of these fragments carry charge — a key part of static electricity.But other chemical fragments may be important, too. Tearing polymers apart also creates uncharged molecules called radicals, which have gone mostly overlooked by scientists studying static electricity, Baytekin says. “They said, ‘Oh, radicals are uncharged, we don’t care about them.’”So she and colleagues charged up plastic and silicone polymers and then used a type of microscopy that can map molecules’ locations. Charges and radicals clustered together, says study coauthor H. Tarik Baytekin. “This is very exciting.”The radicals might act like a molecular support crew, stabilizing the charges and letting static electricity linger, he says. To test the idea, the team dipped polymers into solutions containing radical scavengers, such as vitamin E. These chemicals mop up radicals, leaving charges alone. Pieces coated in radical scavengers ditched their charge much faster than uncoated pieces.

“These guys came up with an idea that is totally new — that radicals stabilize charge,” Lacks says. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”H. Tarik Baytekin thinks radical scavengers could help quench static electricity in many different industries, from electronics to textiles. And Bilge Baytekin thinks a comb dipped in the radical scavenging solution might even smooth out frizzy hair. She hasn’t tried the experiment yet.

3) Tiger, lion and domestic cat genes not so different:

Genomes of big felines provide insight into their evolution.

Tigers and their relatives have hit on the right combination of genes to make them successful hunters, scientists have learned from studying the DNA of some of the biggest big cats.Along with teasing out the Siberian tiger’s secrets, an international team of scientists also examined the genomes of a white Bengal tiger, a snow leopard and two African lions, one of them from a rare white female. The endangered animals’ genomes, reported September 17 in Nature Communications, are the start of a database that is important for understanding the cats’ evolutionary past and for preserving their future, says Lisette Waits, a conservation geneticist at the University of Idaho, who was not involved in the study. “It’s impressive, exciting work,” she says.

Already the project is shedding light on how tigers, lions and snow leopards became top-tier predators and adapted to wildly different environments. Big cats and domestic cats split off from a common ancestor about 11 million years ago. Usually genomes get scrambled as species evolve, says Jong Bhak, a bioinformatician at the Genome Research Foundation in Suwon, South Korea, who was one of the study leaders. But when the team compared the genome of a 9-year-old Siberian tiger named TaeGeuk to that of domestic cats, the researchers found few big differences. That probably means that cats both big and domestic “are very well adapted, successful evolutionary machines,” Bhak says.

But many subtler changes set big cats apart from their domestic cousins and from other animals. Big cats share 1,376 genetic changes not found in other animals and people, the researchers discovered. Among those genes are many related to digesting meat – not a surprise, Bhak says, given that cats are obligate carnivores. Genes involved in muscle strength, sense of smell, visual perception and nervous system development are evolving rapidly in Siberian tigers, the team found.

Snow leopards displayed two mutations that may help them live high in the mountains of central Asia, where oxygen is in short supply. Different changes in the same genes, called EGLN1 and EPAS1, have been credited with helping Tibetan people adapt to live at high altitudes. And naked mole rats, which also live with little oxygen, carry yet another alteration to one of those genes.Leopards aren’t the only copycats. The DNA of an African white lion and white Bengal tiger revealed that both cats’ pale coats are due to mutations in a gene that also gives some domestic cats white fur. That gene, called TYR, contains a mutation in the white tigers different from the one that bleaches the coats of white lions.The data can help scientists monitor genetic diversity and aid in conservation efforts, Waits says. Snow leopards have low levels of genetic diversity, the researchers found, nearly half that of the other big cat species. Low genetic diversity can be a sign that a species is heading toward extinction.Cats in general have low levels of diversity, says Marcella Kelly, a population ecologist at Virginia Tech. “I get more worried if an animal has lost diversity recently,” she says. The researchers have DNA of only one snow leopard, so they don’t know whether the animals naturally have low levels or if their genetic diversity has taken a dive

4) Disarming HIV With a Pop:

Pinning down an effective way to combat the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus, the viral precursor to AIDS, has long been challenge task for scientists and physicians, because the virus is an elusive one that mutates frequently and, as a result, quickly becomes immune to medication. A team of Drexel University researchers is trying to get one step ahead of the virus with a microbicide they've created that can trick HIV into "popping" itself into oblivion.

Its name is DAVEI -- which stands for "Dual Action Virolytic Entry Inhibitor"- and it can pull a fast one on HIV. DAVEI was invented and tested by scientists from Drexel's College of Engineering; School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems; and College of Medicine, and is the latest in a new generation of HIV treatments that function by specifically destroying the virus without harming healthy cells.

"While several molecules that destroy HIV have recently been announced, DAVEI is unique among them by virtue of its design, specificity and high potency," said Dr. Cameron Abrams, a professor in Drexel's College of Engineering and a primary investigator of the project.A team co-led by Abrams and Dr. Irwin Chaiken in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Drexel's College of Medicine, and including Dr. Mark Contarino and doctoral students Arangassery Rosemary Bastian and R. V. Kalyana Sundaram, developed the chimeric recombinantly engineered protein -- that is, a molecule assembled from pieces of other molecules and engineered for a specific purpose, in this case to fight HIV. Their research will be published in the October edition of the American Society for Microbiology's Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.The idea behind DAVEI was to design a molecule that hijacks the virus's fusion machinery, the tools it uses to attach to and attack a healthy cell, and trick the virus into destroying itself. HIV invades a healthy cell by first attaching via protein "spikes" that then collapse to pull viral and cell membranes together, fusing them and allowing the genetic contents of the virus to enter the healthy cell. The cell is rewired by the viral genetic material into producing more viruses instead of performing its normal function, which, in the case of cells infected by HIV, involves normal immunity. AIDS is the result.
"We hypothesized that an important role of the fusion machinery is to open the viral membrane when triggered, and it follows that a trigger didn't necessarily have to be a doomed cell," Abrams said. "So we envisioned particular ways the components of the viral fusion machinery work and designed a molecule that would trigger it prematurely," Abrams said.

They designed DAVEI from two main ingredients. One piece, called the Membrane Proximal External Region (MPER), is itself a small piece of the fusion machinery and interacts strongly with viral membranes. The other piece, called cyanovirin, binds to the sugar coating of the protein spike. Working together, the MPER and cyanovirin in DAVEI "tweak" the fusion machinery in a way that mimics the forces it feels when attached to a cell."For lack of a better term, DAVEI 'tricks' the virus into 'thinking' it is about to infect a healthy cell, when, in fact, there is nothing there for it to infect," Abrams said. "Instead, it releases its genetic payload harmlessly and dies."Chaiken's lab has extensively investigated the molecular mechanisms of HIV-1 envelope protein interactions and structure-based design of agents that fight HIV. The researchers produced DAVEI by recombinant protein engineering and used HIV-1 pseudoviruses to demonstrate that it can physically rupture and irreversibly inactivate the virus particles."DAVEI and other new-generation virolytic inactivators open up an important opportunity to develop a topical microbicide to block the transmission of HIV, and at the same time provide lead ideas to discover treatment strategies for people who are already infected," Chaiken said. "Our hope is that determining the structural driving forces of both inhibitors and viral entry machinery that enable spike inactivation will help to advance molecular designs with increased power, specificity and clinical potential for both prevention and treatment."

5) Mars rover fails to find methane:

Lack of gas in atmosphere argues against presence of life on Red Planet. NASA’s Curiosity rover has come up empty-handed in its search for methane in the atmosphere of Mars, researchers report September 19 in Science.During eight months of data collection, the rover detected average methane concentrations of 0.18 parts per billion. The researchers say that, because of the measurement’s margin of error, the finding translates to essentially no methane in the Martian atmosphere. 

“It’s disappointing because [methane] is a potential sign of biological activity,” says study coauthor Christopher Webster, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Microbes have produced up to 95 percent of the methane in Earth’s atmosphere, where the gas’s concentration is roughly 1,800 ppb.Although the results dampen hopes that methane-making microbes now live on Mars, microbes that don’t generate methane may still live there. Or life (methane-producing or otherwise) could have existed on the planet in the past (SN Online, 3/12/13).

Scientists had previously identified methane on Mars using Earth-based telescopes and spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet. In 2003, researchers detected a concentration as high as 45 ppb. Since then, experiments have reported much lower levels of less than 10 ppb.To explain the diminishing methane measurements, researchers suggested the gas was periodically released and then rapidly cleared from the atmosphere. Geologic activity could have created the methane. Or microbes beneath Mars’ frozen surface could have produced the gas, with seasonal surface melting unleashing the methane into the air.

Curiosity’s findings don’t preclude those scenarios, says Michael Mumma, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Mumma was part of the team that detected methane in 2003 and in some subsequent studies but was not involved with the Curiosity measurements. If methane ejections are indeed periodic and fleeting, Curiosity may still detect a release as it explores Mars, he says. NASA recently extended the rover’s original two-year mission indefinitely. Other scientists are skeptical of the earlier methane reports. Kevin Zahnle, a planetary scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., notes that Curiosity’s methane detector is more sensitive than those based on Earth or in space. Another problem with previous studies is explaining why any methane would disappear so rapidly. The gas should last hundreds of years in the Martian atmosphere. Mumma suggests that Martian soil could contain compounds that oxidize methane when they’re lofted into the air in dust.Next, Curiosity will start looking for the gas with an even finer precision. Webster says the rover could sniff out as little as 50 or 100 parts per trillion. If that’s all the methane Mars has, he says, meteorites or comets containing organic molecules are a likely source of the gas.

6) News in Brief: A beacon illuminates a key Alzheimer's protein:

Researchers can now see tau, which accompanies amyloid in diseased brains. Deep within the living brain, a newly created beacon can illuminate hidden signs of Alzheimer’s disease.Recent work has focused on detecting amyloid, a sticky substance that builds up in the brains of people living with Alzheimer’s. But until now, clinicians lacked a good way to see amyloid’s co-conspirator, the protein called tau. Tangles of a harmful form of tau pile up inside the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease and several other dementias.

Masahiro Maruyama of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences in Japan and colleagues report September 18 in Neuron that a class of molecules can latch on to tau tangles. When linked to radioactive carbon, these molecules serve as beacons that illuminate tau during PET scans.

Scientists know from work with cadavers that the hippocampus harbors tau as Alzheimer’s disease progresses. The new imaging tool will help scientists diagnose and study Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders marked by tau accumulation in living people, the researchers write.

Movies Release This Week:


1) Rush:

Rush portrays the exhilarating true story of two of the greatest rivals the world has ever witnessed—handsome English playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and his methodical, brilliant opponent, Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl). Set against the sexy and glamorous golden age of Formula 1 racing, Rush follows the two drivers as they push themselves to the breaking point of physical and psychological endurance, where there is no shortcut to victory and no margin for error.

2) Battle of the Year:

An American b-boy crew heads to France to compete at the Battle of the Year International Championships.

3) A Single Shot:

The tragic death of a beautiful young girl starts a tense and atmospheric game of cat and mouse between hunter John Moon and the hardened backwater criminals out for his blood

4) Thanks for Sharing:

From Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter and first-time director Stuart Blumberg comes a sharply comic and deeply moving look at a very different kind of modern family - the haphazard family forged by three men trying to navigate life, love and the emotional landmines of New York City. Academy Award® nominee Mark Ruffalo, Academy Award® winner Tim Robbins and Broadway star Josh Gad ("The Book of Mormon") anchor a stellar ensemble cast that includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Joely Richardson, Patrick Fugit and Alecia Moore, in a story about the kind of friends who, no matter how wild their rises and falls, always put each other back together again.

5) +1 :

In this supernatural thriller, three college friends go to the biggest party of the year, each looking for something different: love, sex and a simple human connection. When a mysterious phenomenon disrupts the party, it lights a fuse on what will become the strangest night anyone has ever seen. As the three friends struggle to find what they're looking for, the party quickly descends into a chaos that challenges if they can stay friends or if they can even stay alive.

Political News This Week:

Political News

1) Big loss! IM terrorist escapes from Mumbai police custody:

Afzal Usmani

Afzal Usmani, an accused in 2008 Ahmedabad and Surat blast cases, escaped from the MCOCA court in Mumbai on Friday.

An arrest warrant has been issued against the Indian Mujahideen fugitiveUsmani managed to escape while he was being taken to the Mumbai court by a team of police officials, CNN IBN reported.“He was brought to the sessions court from Taloja jail. He was taken to the fifth floor of the sessions court for case where the framing of arguments on framing charges was about to start at 2:45 pm when he escaped,” the report added.

Vicky Nanjappa adds:

The escape of Afzal Usmani is going to prove very costly for the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad whose carelessness let this Indian Mujahideen operative slip out. Interestingly this is the second time he is giving the police the slip.The first time he gave the slip was in 1999. A ganglord at that time, Usmani was released on bail. However, he jumped the bail and fled to Rawalpindi in Pakistan on a fake passport.‎ He stayed on in Pakistan and met with operatives engaged in the Kashmir battle.Usmani returned to India after associating with the Jaish-e-Mohammad and assured them to transport arms and ammunition through his contacts in the underworld.

His first association with the Indian Mujahideen was during the abduction of Khadim shoes boss Partha Roy Burman in 2001.Later he became closely associated with the IM and later during his questioning he told the interrogators that he was providing them with logistical support. The ATS said that through his help, the IM was able to set up its Maharashtra modules.Usmani was also involved in the theft of four cars that were used to plant bombs during the Gujarat serial blasts in 2008. The cars were stolen and handed over to Mohammad Atif who used them in the serial blasts.A resident of Mhow in Madhya Pradesh, Usmani continued to help the IM. First he helped them with extortions and then laundered the money which funded the terror outfit.Apart from this investigations have also shown that he had coordinated with ganglords in Bangladesh‎ to help with infiltrations.Sources in the Intelligence Bureau say that this loss is costly.

“He was no ordinary operative and had information regarding the funding of the IM. Moreover the locals involved in setting up the modules were under his control. His escape was at a bad time especially when the police have Yasin Bhatkal in their custody. This was the time to cross-verify the statements of both and ensure that the case ended in a conviction. If the ATS is unable to trace him then they would need to try him in absentia which is not a joyful excercise for any investigator,’ an officer pointed out.

2) 7 Pakistani fishermen arrested by Coast Guard in Gujarat:

The Indian Coast Guard on Friday seized a Pakistani boat and arrested seven fishermen for crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line near Jamnagar.

The ICG arrested seven Pakistani fishermen and seized the Pakistani fishing trawler today morning after it crossed the IMBL off Jakhau coast near Jamnagar, official sources said.

"Seven Pakistani fishermen were arrested and a Pakistani fishing boat was seized by the ICG for crossing the IMBL," they said.

They have been brought to the Joint Interrogation Centre in Okha in Jamnagar for further questioning.

Pakistan's maritime security agency had on Thursday arrested 58 Indian fishermen after they allegedly strayed into the country's territorial waters.

"Despite several warnings, the Indian fishermen remained inside our territorial waters leading to their arrest and seizure of boats," said Commander Muhammad Farooq, Maritime Security Agency spokesman.

Nine boats belonging to the Indian fishermen were also confiscated, he said.

Porbandar Boat Association secretary Manish Lodhari said the arrested fishermen were from across the state while the fishing trawlers were from Porbandar and Mangrol.This is the first time this season that fishermen have been apprehended and boats seized by both Pakistan and India since the fishing season began on August 15.

3) Yasin Bhatkal spills the beans on IM's sinister terror plot:

Pakistan's spy agency Inter Services Intelligence had reportedly drawn up a plan to target Buddhist religious sites in India to avenge the alleged atrocities against the Rohingya Muslim community in Myanmar.The ISI's plan was revealed by Yasin Bhatkal, founder of the Indian Mujahideen, who was recently arrested from near the Indo-Nepal border.The operation would have been carried out in tandem by the IM, the Al Qaeda and the Hizbul Tahrir, a Bangladesh-based terror outfit.

However, Bhatkal has not yet admitted that the Indian Mujahideen had any role to play in orchestrating the attack at Bodh Gaya in July.Initially, Al Qaeda leaders had sought a merger with the IM to jointly carry out the terror plan. But the ISI had thwarted the proposal as it wanted the IM to continue its terror strikes in India.

As per the final consensus between the terror groups, the IM was supposed to help the Al Qaeda in carrying out strikes at Buddhist sites.At the time of his arrest, claims Yasin, the modalities of the operation were being discussed.The Al Qaeda would have funded the operation and supplied arms that would be routed via Bangladesh by the Hizbul Tahrir.The IM was supposed to carry out the final attacks in India.

Buddhist religious sites make for easy targets, revealed Yasin, as the security in such places is not up to the mark. The IM chief was quick to claim that the terror outfit had absolutely nothing to do with the recent attack on Bodh Gaya.He told the NIA that the IM was looking for similar disruptive alliances and had already tied up with the Naxals. While IM’s terrorists had striking capabilities, the left-wing extremists possessed a better logistical sense, making the coalition a dangerous one.

The homegrown terror outfit was also in touch with some drug syndicates in Chapora in Goa to raise funds. IM operatives, with their extensive network, helped in ferrying drugs to earn a share of the profits.Forging such alliances was essential for the IM, explained Yasin, as they were was a perpetual shortage of money to fund their terror plans."When the ISI ordered a cooling-off period, we had to fend for ourselves. After the first modules of the IM were busted, we had resorted to extortion and drug trade. We even raised funds through our alliances to keep the outfit running," Yasin told his interrogators.

4) How Muzaffarnagar riots will impact 2014 elections:

Though Muslims have been trusted allies of Jats since the days of former Prime Minister Charan Singh, experts feel the alliance has had its share of strains following his death in 1987

The never-ending communal-secular debate is back with a vengeance, following the tragic incidents in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh in the past fortnight. The violence has already claimed more than 50 lives and rendered nearly 50,000 homeless. It all started with some unwanted sexual remarks or advances by men against a woman in a public place. This soon turned into full-blown communal riots that impacted several districts of western UP. Apart from the loss of precious lives, the riots have dealt a blow to the long-standing coalition of Jats and Muslims.

Secularists attribute such a sorry state of affairs to the saffron brigade and the compact discs of hate speeches of what they believe are doctored visuals. However, Bharatiya Janata Party sympathisers blame the politics of appeasement of the ruling Samajwadi Party in the state. Some political commentators hold both the BJP and SP responsible for the riots. They argue that polarisation along religious lines suits both parties in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. But the question is why Jats and Muslims will help political parties in their political game, at the cost of sacrificing the goodwill they have enjoyed for decades.Political parties might not have conducted themselves well but they would not have been able to create problems if none existed. Sudha Pai, a leading expert on UP politics and professor of political science at Jawaharlal Nehru University, says the events cannot be the result of “purely identity politics” and economic issues do play a role.

What are the economic factors that have created a rift? Jats have always been a dominant group in Western UP, thanks to their significant landholding and benefits of the green revolution. Muslims have been trusted allies of Jats since the days of Charan Singh. The alliance worked well for both the groups, though in different proportions.However, experts feel the alliance has had its share of strains following the death of Charan Singh in 1987. “He was the one who kept it together and things started drifting after his death. Contesting claims by Mulayam Singh Yadav and Ajit Singh to his legacy contributed to the rift,” observes A K Verma, professor at Kanpur Christ Church College and part of many surveys conducted by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies. He adds Muslims always had the number on their side but what gave them confidence was the improvement in their economic status.“The combination is getting reflected in their growing political clout. According to the 2001 Census, Muslims constitute more than 33 per cent of the population in 12 districts of western Uttar Pradesh. Out of 77 assembly seats in this region, Muslim candidates won 26 seats in the 2012 assembly elections.”

While it is hard to establish the growing prosperity of Muslims in the region, the 2006 report of the Sachar committee that mapped the socio-economic conditions of Muslims gives some hint. It says, “While the share of Muslim workers engaged in agriculture is much lower than for other groups, their participation in manufacturing and trade (especially for males) is much higher than for other SRCs (socio religious categories). Besides, their participation in construction work is also high.”The report adds that besides construction, the participation of Muslim workers is quite high in retail and wholesale trade, land transport, automobile repair, manufacture of tobacco products, textiles and apparel and fabricated metal products. “The share of Muslim workers in manufacturing is particularly high in states like Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan, where the share is more than 25 per cent,” the report says

While the report does not give any data about growth rates in these sectors, it does say that between 1994 and 2001, the growth rate of employment was 7.7 per cent in the tobacco sector, 14.4 per cent in apparel, 9.4 per cent in auto repairs and 18.6 per cent in the electrical machinery sector. It might be safely argued that Muslim workers might have benefited from the boom in construction and auto sectors in the last 10 years, too.“Apart from the benefits accruing to Muslims because of the high demand for skilled labour in recent years, what has helped them in this region is their control of the fruit business. Most orchards in western UP are either owned or operated by them and they supply fruit to cities like Delhi,” says a Meerut-based analyst with Congress affiliation, who declined to be identified.

Jats, on the other hand, have suffered because of the plight of the once-flourishing sugar mills in the region. Western UP was known as a sugar bowl of the state and Muzaffarnagar alone has as many as 11 mills. “The sugarcane policy has ruined the sector in the state,” says Abinash Verma, director-general, Indian Sugar Mills Association. The state’s sugar mills are estimated to suffer a loss of nearly Rs 3,000 crore in FY14. The mills also owe about Rs 3,000 crore to farmers.

Apart from arrears, what has hurt the farmers is the low yield of sugarcane per hectare for the last 10 years. “One hectare of land would yield 55 tonnes 10 years ago. The yield remains the same even today at 55 tonnes a hectare,” adds Verma. Incidentally, yield in UP has been a good 10-12 tonnes per hectare less than the national average. The sugarcane price has increased from Rs 115 a quintal in 2005 to Rs 165 a quintal in 2010. Since then, there have been three steep increases but farmers have not gained much because of the inability of companies to cope. Farmers used to get paid in November; now, they get their price for sugarcane with a delay of six-seven months. Experts say that farmers in this area are under a lot of financial stress. 

Is this a sign of stress, perceived or actual, that Jats have been demanding to be included in the Other Backward Classes list for reservation in education institutions and government jobs? “Jats demanding OBC status was unthinkable some 20 years ago,” observes Pai.The erosion of the economic might of Jats has coincided with the relative prosperity of Muslims. “Jats increasingly find it hard to reconcile to the fact that Muslims can become their equals and in some areas, politics for instance, even exceed them. Hence, the tension, which is getting manifested in clashes,” says the Meerut-based analyst. Shashikant Pandey of Agra University, however, argues such clashes cannot be viewed as a conflict between communities alone. “It is also a result of competing views within communities,” he adds.

Well-known social scientist Dipankar Gupta, has a different take on the recent clashes. He says the recent communal riots were the result of changes in the village economy that have brought the hidden tension. He also argues that with the invasion of the “city’s idea of majority-minority”, the old world has collapsed in rural areas. Now the question is: How will this rupture in the Jats-Muslims alliance and the recent riots play out in coming elections? Pai says Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party might turn out be a major beneficiary. “Nobody likes insecurity,” she says, adding that contrary to popular perception, the BJP and the SP might not benefit from religious polarisation. “The country has moved much beyond 1991,” she argues.The reports of hostile reactions of people towards UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav when he toured the riot-affected areas in Muzaffarnagar indicate it could be so.

5) Bihar: Jawan killed in Naxal attack, 2 critically injured:

A jawan of the Special Task Force was killed and two others injured when Maoists fired at them from a mountain top in Jamui district in the wee hours of Friday.

Superintendent of Police Jitender Rana told PTI that armed Maoists blew up an under-construction building of the Central Reserve Police Force by exploding can bombs in Parasi village of the district on Thursday night.

A district police team led by the superintendent of police, STF and Bihar Military Police patrol parties rushed to the incident site.

While the district police team left their vehicles at Bari Bag village and crossed Kiul River through village Panbharva on foot, the STF and BMP chose to go by the main road through the jungle, when they were fired upon by Maoists from Gidheshwar mountain top.

Three STF jawans received bullet injuries. One of them later succumbed to his injuries.

The SP said the dead STF jawan has been identified as Anshu Kumar.

The two injured jawans are Ajay Kumar and Suman Kumar, he said, adding they were first taken to Sadar hospital at Jamui and later sent to Patna for treatment in the Patna Medical College and Hospital.

Teams of Bihar police, CRPF, STF and BMP are conducting combing operations in Gidheshwar jungle, Rana said.

Jamui, over 100 km from Patna, has been a hotbed of Maoist attacks. In 2005, five police personnel including an inspector was killed in an attack by the ultras.

In 1998, a CRPF jawan lost his life in an attack by the Maoists.

A few months ago, the rebels had attacked a camp office of a road construction company for levy and had taken some labourers hostage. They were released later.

Sports News This Week:

Sports News

1) End of Indian challenge at Japan Open:

India's campaign in the Japan Open badminton tournament ended Friday after Ajay Jayaram, K Srikanth and H S Prannoy lost their respective men's singles quarterfinal matches at the USD 200,000 Super Series event in Tokyo.While Prannoy fought hard before going down 21-11 20-22 21-13 to Huan Gao of China, Srikanth and Jayaram lost in straight games to crash out of the tournament.Prannoy, who was in rollicking form in the Indian badminton League last month, gave a good account of himself as he came back from a game down against a higher ranked opponent to clinch the second one and take the match into the decider

The contest, which was the first meeting between the two, lasted an hour and 13 minutes.After being tied at 8-8, the Chinese bagged nine points on the trot to open a 17-8 lead and then easily claimed the opening game.Prannoy came back strongly in the second game before he once again lost steam in the third game to do down in the end Mumbai's Jayaram, world no 30, lost to fifth seeded Vietnamese Tien Minh Nguyen 18-21 13-21 in 40 minutes.

Despite being better at net play, the Indian was done in by the smashes hit by his opponent.Jayaram started off on a positive note, posing some threat to the Vietnamese in the first game to be tied at 16-16, before Nguyen surged ahead to win it with the help of some down-the-line smashes.

Nguyen hardly gave any chance to the Indian in the second game as he ran away with the match comfortably.In another match, Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold winner Srikanth, ranked 39th, went down tamely to Japanese seventh seed Kenichi Tago 21-18 21-9 in just 39 minutes.

2) On back of best-ever show at Worlds, India earn maiden wrestling World Cup berth:

Indian wrestling is well and truly on an all-time high as the country, in what turned out to be a double delight, earned a maiden World Cup berth on the back of its best-ever sixth-place finish in men's free-style at the World Championships in Budapest India finished the tournament in the men's freestyle category with 23 points, which has catapulted the country to sixth in rankings behind Iran, Russia, Georgia, Ukraine and USA.

As per the FILA rules, the top eight teams in the World Championship automatically qualify for the World Cup and Amit Kumar Dahiya's silver medal in the 55kg and Bajrang's bronze in the 60kg freestyle category ensured India its maiden World Cup appearance next year The freestyle wrestlers produced India's best-ever show at the World Championship in a span of two days.The news couldn't have come at an opportune time for the Indian wrestling community as the sport battled successfully to regain its place on the Olympic Games roster following its controversial axing in February by the IOC. The news of India's World Cup qualification is music to the ears for two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt.

"It's raining good news for India as after wrestling's re-inclusion in the Olympic movement, our wards performed extremely well in the World Championship. Their efforts paid rich dividends as now India's sixth rank has led to our World Cup qualification for the first time in the history of the men's senior wrestling," chief coach Vinod Kumar told PTI."World Championship acts as a qualifying event for the World Cup. In the next year's World Cup, free-style wrestlers will be spearheading the country's challenge while the fate of greco-roman and women's wrestlers will be decided after the championship," he said. Prior to this, India's best-ever finish in the World Championship in men's category came in the year 2009 when it finished 10th, while year 2010 and 2011 saw them finish 13th and a lowly 31st respectively.

"Last year, World Championship in men's category did not take place as it happened to be an Olympic year while the championship in the women's category happened in September after the London Games," he said.

Indian women wrestlers had qualified for the World Cup for the first time this year where they finished fifth in the eight-team event held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia from March 1-3.But the honour of representing the country in the World Cup always eluded the senior men's wrestlers including the likes of Olympic medallists Sushil and Yogeshwar.Vinod, who has been with the team since 2007 and played an important role in India reaching the pinnacle of the sport, also informed that India accumulated nine points from 55kg (Amit Kumar), eight points from 60kg (Bajrang) and six points from 74kg (Narsingh) to arrive at a grand total of 23 points from the World Championship and finish sixth ahead of much-higher ranked nations."Our wrestling is on the ascendancy and it has been proved by our wrestlers," he said.

3) Mohammedan end 73-year Durand wait with 2-1 victory:

Amidst a huge crowd gathered at the Ambedkar Stadium during the final of the Durand Cup between Mohammedan Sporting and ONGC on Thursday, kids in school uniforms occupied an entire stand. Australian striker Tolgay Ozbey starred as the hero with a goal and an assist.

As the referee blew the whistle to start play, Mohammedan Sporting Club, who felt at home in Delhi despite belonging to Kolkata, received a loud cheer.

The match reached the 35th minute with the crowd waiting patiently to see their side score against ONGC. One of the kids rose from his seat and said, "35 minutes ho gaye aur koi goal nai hua. (It has been 35 minutes and still, there has been no goal)." It was as if the kid had echoed the sentiments of the entire crowd.

A minute after he had settled into his seat, Mohammedan striker Tolgay Ozbey produced an agile run down the left flank and assisted in their first goal. Ozbey, although half-fit, looked in supreme touch as he doubled the lead in the 45th minute to play his part in creating history.

On Thursday, Mohammedan Sporting beat ONGC 2-1 to win the Durand Cup after a gap of 73 years — their first since 1940, when they had defeated Warwickshire Regiment. The Durand Cup is also their first major domestic title since 1987. They could have won it in 1992 itself, had they not lost to JCT in the final. A decade later, they exited in the semifinals of the coveted Cup.

As expected, the final proved to be lively. ONGC may have fallen short by a solitary goal but the intensity kept the crowd on their feet. Having come so close to return to the big stage, Mohammedan looked in no mood to let the opportunity slip from their hands. They were in business from the start and just four minutes into the final, right winger Collin Abranches sent a measured cross on the run to Israil Gurung, whose weak header took the fizz out of a flowing 

4) Lionel Messi nets three as Barcelona crush Ajax:

Lionel Messi gave yet another sparkling Champions League recital when he netted a hat-trick as Barcelona began their European campaign with a crushing 4-0 home win over Ajax Amsterdam in Group H on Wednesday.The Argentine World Player of the Year, who has made brilliance seem routine with an incredible haul of goals in recent seasons, conjured another memorable night at the Nou Camp for his adoring fans by becoming the first player to score four trebles in Europe's elite club competition. At the age of just 26, his overall goals tally is now 62 in 80 appearances, nine short of former Real Madrid forward and record marksman Raul.

Messi opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a superb curling free kick, struck with a trademark dash in from the right and clinical finish 10 minutes into the second half and buried a low shot into the corner from the edge of the area 15 minutes from time.His breathtaking performance brought back memories of his five-goal haul against Bayer Leverkusen in the 2010-11 Champions League, when he became the only man to score five in one match, and the four goals he put past Arsenal in 2010."It was important to start with a win, especially playing at home," Messi said in an interview with Spanish television broadcaster Canal Plus."We know how difficult these Champions League groups always are," he added."We found it tough to pressure them initially because they were moving the ball well out from the back. But I think in general it was a great performance." Defender Gerard Pique had netted Barca's third with a header from Neymar's whipped centre in the 69th minute and goalkeeper Victor Valdes continued his fine run of form by saving Kolbeinn Sigthorsson's 77th-minute penalty, one of a host of good saves.

It was a winning Champions League start for Barca's new coach Gerardo Martino but Messi apart his side generally struggled to reproduce the scintillating play that has brought them two European crowns in the past five seasons.However, with their talisman on fire and Barca hosting an Ajax team lacking in real quality the outcome of the match was never in doubt.

5) N Srinivasan to contest BCCI polls:

N Srinivasan made it clear that he would contest for the top job at the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) elections on September 29 in Chennai, despite a few members being opposed to the idea. The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association's president stepped aside in June as the BCCI chief and let former president Jagmohan Dalmiya take over the day-to-day work. However, Srinivasan chaired the meeting of the disciplinary committee held in Delhi earlier this month.

On the sidelines of the board's marketing committee meeting, Srinivasan is said to have told board members that he has the full backing of the associations from the south. As per the Board's regulations, it's the turn of south zone to propose and second the name of the president for the third year but the candidate they support can be from outside that zone.A member in the BCCI, who attended the meeting, said Srinivasan has backing of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Hyderabad and Andhra Cricket Association, which would ease his passage back into the administrative fold."As per the BCCI rules, any candidate contesting election needs to have a proposer and a seconder from his zone. In south zone's case if Srinivasan has got undertakings (of support) from five associations, then he will automatically be reinstated," a source said.Though Srinivasan is said to have the support of most of the associations from the south, there are a few dissenting voices. A top Goa Cricket Association (GCA) official said the body was against Srinivasan's come back. "I'm still hopeful that some opposition (against Srinivasan) will develop over a period of time. I also believe that the Andhra Cricket Association (ACA), too, will vote against the incumbent if there's a viable opposition and it has the adequate number (to bring in a change). But if there's no opposition against Srinivasan then we will have no option but to go with the tide. The BCCI has the power to reward. It also has the power to damage. So we want to keep our cards close," the GCA office bearer said. The Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) secretary Javagal Srinath too said they were undecided.In the absence of Farooq Abdulla, chairman of marketing committee, Srinivasan chaired the convention, which invited tenders for the title sponsorship rights for BCCI's international and domestic matches for the period between October 2013 and 31st March 2014. Bharti Airtel, the previous title sponsor, did not wish to renew the contract.

The BCCI has fixed the base price for the bid as Rs 2 crore per match with the bidders given an option of forming a consutium. Bidders can also bid for specific series and if interested than they can renew their contract till 2018. The marketing committee has decided that they are ready to give rights of buying three formats to separate corporates if they bid the highest price.

Book of This Week:

Killing Jesus : By by Bill O'Reilly

Killing Jesus : By by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard  :

Millions of readers have thrilled by bestselling authors Bill O’Reilly and historian Martin Dugard's Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln, page-turning works of nonfiction that have changed the way we read history. 

Now the anchor of The O’Reilly Factor details the events leading up to the murder of the most influential man in history: Jesus of Nazareth. Nearly two thousand years after this beloved and controversial young revolutionary was brutally killed by Roman soldiers, more than 2.2 billion human beings attempt to follow his teachings and believe he is God. Killing Jesus will take readers inside Jesus’s life, recounting the seismic political and historical events that made his death inevitable – and changed the world forever.

Bill O'Reilly

Bill O'Reilly:

William James "Bill" O'Reilly, Jr. is an American television host, author, syndicated columnist and political commentator.The O'Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel, which is the most watched cable news television program on American television. During the late 1970s and 1980s, he worked as a news reporter for various local television stations in the United States and eventually for CBS News and ABC News. From 1989 to 1995, he was anchor of the entertainment news program Inside Edition.

Martin Dugard

Martin Dugard:

Martin Dugard is an American author living in Rancho Santa Margarita, Orange County, California. He lives with his wife and three sons

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