|Animated Cliperts Of Newsweek(65)|
|Collage Of NewsWeek(65)|
Science News This Week:
1) Scorpion genome decoded:
Arachnid’s DNA reveals how the animal survives its own venom. This may sting a little: Scorpions have about 10,000 more genes than humans do.
The Chinese golden scorpion, Mesobuthus martensii, has at least 32,016 genes, Zhijian Cao of Wuhan University in China and colleagues report October 15 in Nature Communications. Humans have just over 22,000 genes.
The researchers found 116 genes that encode neurotoxins, including 45 previously unknown ones. Many of the neurotoxins paralyze proteins in cell membranes that open and close to generate electrical signals, which nerve cells use to communicate. Mutations in the scorpion’s own membrane protein genes make the arachnid immune to its own venom.
Scorpions also have 160 enzymes that help them digest fats and detoxify plant chemicals from the herbivorous insects they eat. Some of these enzymes transform a chemical called coumarin into fluorescent compounds that make the animals glow blue under UV light, the team found.
The animals also make a type of light-sensing protein called Mmopsin3 in their tails. The protein senses ultraviolet to blue light. At least 20 other proteins made in the scorpion’s tail help transmit the light signal from the skin to the brain, the researchers discovered.
2) Deadliest known substance kept secret: a botox super-toxin:
Scientists have discovered a new type of botox they believe is the "deadliest substance known to man" and have withheld the DNA sequence because an antidote is not known.
It is the first time the scientific community has made such a move to withhold such information but security concerns have dictated that they do so.
New Scientist reports that just 2 billionths of a gram, or inhaling 13 billionths of a gram, of the protein botulinum produced by the soil bacterium Clostridium botulinum will kill an adult.
The toxin blocks the release of acetylcholine, the chemical secreted by nerves that makes muscles work. People who accidentally ingest it, as can happen when the bacteria grows in food, develop botulism and often die of paralysis.
Victims are treated with antibodies that are produced artificially and react with the seven families of botulinum – named A to G – discovered so far.
Stephen Arnon and colleagues at the California Department of Public Health in Sacramento reported this week that they have found an eighth toxin – type H – in the feces of a child who had the typical symptoms of botulism.
"Because no antitoxins as yet have been developed to counteract the novel C. Botulinum toxin, the authors had detailed consultations with representatives from numerous appropriate U.S. government agencies," editors of the Journal of Infectious Diseases said.
Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo tried to release Botulinum in downtown Tokyo in the 1990s.
3) Software uses cyborg swarm to map unknown environs:
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed software that allows them to map unknown environments – such as collapsed buildings – based on the movement of a swarm of insect cyborgs, or "biobots."
"We focused on how to map areas where you have little or no precise information on where each biobot is, such as a collapsed building where you can't use GPS technology," says Dr. Edgar Lobaton, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at NC State and senior author of a paper on the research.
"One characteristic of biobots is that their movement can be somewhat random," Lobaton says. "We're exploiting that random movement to work in our favor."
Here's how the process would work in the field. A swarm of biobots, such as remotely controlled cockroaches, would be equipped with electronic sensors and released into a collapsed building or other hard-to-reach area. The biobots would initially be allowed to move about randomly. Because the biobots couldn't be tracked by GPS, their precise locations would be unknown. However, the sensors would signal researchers via radio waves whenever biobots got close to each other.
Once the swarm has had a chance to spread out, the researchers would send a signal commanding the biobots to keep moving until they find a wall or other unbroken surface – and then continue moving along the wall. This is called "wall following."The researchers repeat this cycle of random movement and "wall following" several times, continually collecting data from the sensors whenever the biobots are near each other. The new software then uses an algorithm to translate the biobot sensor data into a rough map of the unknown environment."This would give first responders a good idea of the layout in a previously unmapped area," Lobaton says.The software would also allow public safety officials to determine the location of radioactive or chemical threats, if the biobots have been equipped with the relevant sensors.The researchers have tested the software using computer simulations and are currently testing the program with robots. They plan to work with fellow NC State researcher Dr. Alper Bozkurt to test the program with biobots.
Mapping and exploration are essential tasks for swarm robotic systems. These tasks become extremely challenging when localization information is not available. In this paper, we explore how stochastic motion models and weak encounter information can be exploited to learn topological information about an unknown environment. Our system behavior mimics a probabilistic motion model of cockroaches, as it is inspired by current biobotic (cyborg insect) systems. We employ tools from algebraic topology to extract spatial information of the environment based on neighbor to neighbor interactions among the biologically inspired agents with no need for localization data. This information is used to build a map of persistent topological features of the environment. We analyze the performance of our estimation and propose a switching control mechanism for the motion models to extract features of complex environments in an effective way.
4) Fat Black Holes Grown Up in 'Cities': 'Observational Result Using Virtual Observatory:
Massive black holes of more than one million solar masses exist at the center of most galaxies. Some of the massive black holes are observed as active galactic nuclei (AGN) which attract surrounding gas and release huge amounts of energy. How does a massive black hole get "fat"? One possibility is that mutual interaction between galaxies leads to the growth of a black hole. If this theory is correct, there must be some relationship between properties of an supermassive black hole and environment of its host galaxy. Previous studies revealed that radio-loud AGNs are in the overcrowded region. However, it is still not clear that relation between the mass of an central black hole and the environment around an active galaxy (galaxies hosting AGNs). This is why the research team explored the distribution of galaxies surrounding active galaxies.The research team utilized the "Virtual Observatory" to examine many massive black holes and the environment of active galaxies.
The Virtual Observatory is a system to make integrated use of various astronomical databases around the world via sharing over the Internet. The Astronomy Data Center of NAOJ has been developing an original portal site for the virtual observatory. To begin with this research, the team collected the data on more than 10,000 AGN whose black hole mass had been already measured by spectroscopic observation with SDSS (Note 1). Next, data on galaxies surrounding active galaxies were gathered from galaxy catalogues of UKIDSS (Note 2); the number of galaxies reached approximately 70 million. Using the virtual observatory, the team could automatically and efficiently extract only necessary galactic data from the large amount of data sets on those galaxies surrounding active galaxies. In addition, they developed new analysis method (Note 3) in order to obtain the density distribution of galaxies with a high degree of accuracy.
The results show that the more massive black holes tend to be located in galactic environments with higher density. This connection between a massive black hole and the environment of its host galaxy is quite surprising since the radius of the overdense region of galaxies is 100 million times larger than the radius of a massive black hole.
Galaxy mergers frequently occur in regions where density of galaxies is high. The collision and merger of galaxies change gas dynamics within them, and can trigger the gas infall to their central region, leading to the growth of the black hole. Furthermore, when both merging galaxies have their own black holes, both black holes may merge together to become an even more massive black hole.On the other hand, a very unexpected characteristic, even for the research team, was also found; in regards to massive black holes with a solar mass of 100 million or less, there is no correlation between the black-hole mass and the galaxy distribution. This suggests that there is a possibility that the growth process may be different between black holes above or below 100 million solar masses.
"Through this research, we have rediscovered the real potential of the virtual observatory, which can process such a huge amount of data in a very short time," said Komiya.The research method via the virtual observatory can be applied to research using larger amounts of observation data, such as that captured by the new wide-field cameras of Subaru Telescope. Yuji Shirasaki, one of the research team members, talked about future research prospects, saying, "A large part of the total picture, such as the formation mechanism of relatively small massive black holes, still remains unknown; one of the reasons is the lack of observation. There are a lot of things to explore, including the mystery of how massive black holes are born."
5) Blood-filled mosquito is a fossil first:
Insect’s bloated abdomen carries traces of blood molecules that are 46-million-years old. Jurassic Park’s iconic image of a fossilized blood-filled mosquito was thought to be fiction — until now. For the first time, researchers have identified a fossil of a female mosquito with traces of blood in its engorged abdomen. A team led by Dale Greenwalt at the US National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC reports the fossil discovery today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences1.Although scientists have found fossils of suspected blood-sucking insects, the creatures' feeding habits have mostly been inferred from their anatomy or the presence of blood-borne parasites in their guts. But Greenwalt's fossilized mosquito contains molecules that provide strong evidence of blood-feeding among ancient insects back to 46 million years ago. It is a fortunate find. “The abdomen of a blood-engorged mosquito is like a balloon ready to burst. It is very fragile,” says Greenwalt. “The chances that it wouldn’t have disintegrated prior to fossilization were infinitesimally small.”
A long shot
The insect was found not in amber, as depicted in Jurassic Park, but in shale sediments from Montana. After 46 million years, any DNA would be long degraded, but other molecules can survive. Greenwalt’s team showed that the insect’s abdomen still contains large traces of iron and the organic molecule porphyrin — both constituents of haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying pigment found in vertebrate blood. These molecules were either rare or absent in the abdomen of a fossilized male mosquito (which does not drink blood) of the same age, found at the same location.
“This shows that details of a blood-sucking mosquito can be nicely preserved in a medium other than amber,” says George Poinar, who studies fossilized insects at Oregon State University in Corvallis. “It also shows that some porphyrin compounds in vertebrate blood can survive under the right conditions for millions of years.”Greenwalt suggests that this provides support for the controversial claims of Mary Schweitzer, a palaeontologist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, who has reportedly isolated haemoglobin traces from dinosaur bones2.
The female mosquito (only females suck blood) lived in a warm wet environment in what is now North-Western Montana in the USA.Her fossilised body was preserved in oil shale, and her distended abdomen could be clearly seen.The researchers showed that there was an unusually high level of iron in her abdomen and also identified chemicals from haemoglobin using a non-destructive type of mass spectrometry.Both findings point to the load in the abdomen being blood.The female mosquito's distended abdomen contained haeme, a compound found in blood.
Samples from the adjacent rock and from a male mosquito from the same deposit did not show high iron or signs of haemoglobin, they say.The type of blood could not be determined, but Harbach says the closest-related modern day species feeds on birds. "This mosquito lived in a wetland, and I think there would probably have been a lot of birds," he adds."The evidence is that we can detect organic molecules that have survived tens of millions of years and that opens up the possibility of finding other types of molecules," Harbach says.Harbach and lead author Dale Greenwalt of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, USA want to look to look for other organic molecules that may also have survived, such as pigments."We're thinking of looking at the eyes of this mosquito to see if we can pick up the eye pigments," he says.
Shades of Jurassic Park
The study is reminiscent of Jurassic Park, where DNA from dinosaur blood in a fossil mosquito's meal is used to create a dinosaur.But finding DNA in this mosquito is highly unlikely, say the researchers."We know DNA is not preserved, nor will anyone ever find it in deep time fossils until we develop new technology," says Greenwalt.Professor Michael Archer of University of New South Wales, who was not involved in the study, says the mosquito research has pushed back the boundary for identifying molecules important in life."They questioned whether or not a fossil insect 46 million years old really shouldn't have organic molecules in it. Clearly it does."And he is more optimistic about the chances of finding preserved DNA in fossils.He says until recently it was thought DNA could only be found in fossils 10,000 - 20,000 years old."Just this year a study was published about fossil bone from a horse which was 735,000 years old and they got definite readable DNA out of that bone.""It's the synergy with the Jurassic Park movie," says Archer, "the idea of having something that's recoverable from the meal of a fossilised mosquito that makes particularly mischievously intriguing."
6) Stunning New Species of Dragon Tree Discovered in Thailand:
The newly discovered dragon tree species Dracaena kaweesakii from Thailand is characterized by its extensive branching. The new species reaches an impressive 12 m in both height and crown diameter, and has beautiful soft sword-shaped leaves with white edges and cream flowers with bright orange filaments, all highly distinctive features.The study describing this exciting new species was published in the open access journal Phytokeys by an international team of scientists.
Dracaena kaweesakii is a relative of the beautiful Canary Island dragon tree Dracaena draco. It is an ecologically important species found only on limestone hills and mountains that are often associated with Buddhist temples in Thailand.
Dracaena kaweesakii is extracted from the wild for use in horticulture in Thailand and is one of the more popular species due to its extensive branching. Dracaena species in general are thought by Thai people to bring luck to households that have them, hence their popularity. A number of populations of D. kaweesakii are protected by proximity to temples or having been transplanted into their gardens. There is no direct evidence yet of over-extraction but sustainability studies are needed at population level to insure the protection of this beautiful species."Dracaena kaweesakii is thought to be endangered through having a limited distribution, destruction of limestone for concrete and extraction of trees for gardens," comments Dr Wilkin about the conservation status of the new dragon tree species.
7) Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab:
Researchers at a US lab have passed a crucial milestone on the way to their ultimate goal of achieving self-sustaining nuclear fusion.Harnessing fusion - the process that powers the Sun - could provide an unlimited and cheap source of energy.But to be viable, fusion power plants would have to produce more energy than they consume, which has proven elusive.Now, a breakthrough by scientists at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) could boost hopes of scaling up fusion.
NIF, based at Livermore in California, uses 192 beams from the world's most powerful laser to heat and compress a small pellet of hydrogen fuel to the point where nuclear fusion reactions take place.The BBC understands that during an experiment in late September, the amount of energy released through the fusion reaction exceeded the amount of energy being absorbed by the fuel - the first time this had been achieved at any fusion facility in the world.This is a step short of the lab's stated goal of "ignition", where nuclear fusion generates as much energy as the lasers supply. This is because known "inefficiencies" in different parts of the system mean not all the energy supplied through the laser is delivered to the fuel.
For half a century, researchers have strived for controlled nuclear fusion and been disappointed. It was hoped that NIF would provide the breakthrough fusion research needed.In 2009, NIF officials announced an aim to demonstrate nuclear fusion producing net energy by 30 September 2012. But unexpected technical problems ensured the deadline came and went; the fusion output was less than had originally been predicted by mathematical models.Soon after, the $3.5bn facility shifted focus, cutting the amount of time spent on fusion versus nuclear weapons research - which was part of the lab's original mission.However, the latest experiments agree well with predictions of energy output, which will provide a welcome boost to ignition research at NIF, as well as encouragement to advocates of fusion energy in general.It is markedly different from current nuclear power, which operates through splitting atoms - fission - rather than squashing them together in fusion.NIF, based at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, is one of several projects around the world aimed at harnessing fusion. They include the multi-billion-euro ITER facility, currently under construction in Cadarache, France.However, ITER will take a different approach to the laser-driven fusion at NIF; the Cadarache facility will use magnetic fields to contain the hot fusion fuel - a concept known as magnetic confinement.
Movie Release This Week:
A sheltered high school girl unleashes her newly developed telekinetic powers after she is pushed too far by her peers.
Carrie White is a lonely and awkward teen who is constantly bullied at school by her peers, and beaten at home at the hands of her religious mother. But Carrie has a secret: She's been blessed with the terrifying power of telekinesis; and when her peers decide to pull a prank on her at prom, they'll soon learn a deadly lesson: If you play with fire, you get burned.
2) The Fifth Estate:
Following Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Brühl), an early supporter and eventual colleague of Julian Assange (Cumberbatch), “The Fifth Estate” traces the heady, early days of WikiLeaks, culminating in the release of a series of controversial and history changing information leaks. The website’s overnight success brought instant fame to its principal architects and transformed the flow of information to news media and the world at large.
3) Escape Plan:
Ray Breslin is the world's top authority on prison structural security, who finds himself having to put his skills to the test when he is framed for a crime and sent up to a prison he helped design. He must escape and figure out who put him behind bars.
4) Kill Your Darlings:
Daniel Radcliffe will play poet Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings, an ensemble film about the murder that helped spawn the Beat Generation.
Dane DeHaan and Jack Huston will also star in the movie, Whishaw will play Lucien Carr, the Columbia University undergrad who brought together Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac (Huston) and William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster)
Special Mention Bengali Movie : Mishor Rahasya:
Bengali film maker Srijit Mukherjee is creating MISHOR RAHASYA bengali motion picture featuring Prosenjit Chatterjee as ‘Kakababu’. Prosenjit Chatterjee Cast: Prosenjit Chatterjee as KAKABABU. Devdan as SHONTU.
Kakababu (Prosenjit Chatterjee) is contracted by Egyptian businessman Al Mamun (Rajit Kapur) to decipher the meanings of hieroglyphic symbols that his teacher, Mufti Muhammad (Barun Chanda), had drawn on a piece of paper supposedly during his sleep. Muhammad is terminally ill and is about to grant his last wish while he is being treated in Delhi. Mamun thinks that the symbols are the key to locating Mufti Muhammad's will which will describe where to find treasures Mufti Muhammad had acquired during his tenure as a political leader and revolutionist. However, Kakababu is convinced that the symbols have a different meaning and they are very unusual in their nature. Mufti Muhammad symbolically requests Kakababu to verify something, a very unusual last wish. Meanwhile, a war of rivalry ensues between Mamun and Hani Alkadi (Indraneil Sengupta), another of Mufti Muhammad's disciples who accuses Mamun of stealing a secret that isn't rightfully his. While in Delhi, there was an attempt to murder Kakababu, in which Kakababu was injured. Kakababu took the challenge to uncover the truth for which he and his nephew Shontu (Aryann Bhowmik) head to Egypt where they are drawn into the very vortex of the mystery. Kakababu gets kidnapped by Alkadi's men which sets off a chain of events, culminating in a climax underneath a pyramid. Inside the pyramid, Kakababu discovers the lost mummy of an Egyptian queen with the help of the hieroglyphics code written by Mufti Muhammad. The present day political turmoil in Egypt also subtly reverbarates in the film. At the end, Kakababu gives Hani Alkadi the coded message written inside the coffin of the mummy.
Political News This Week:
1) Phailin aftermath: Epidemic threat in Odisha's Ganjam district:
The threat of epidemic is looming large in worst-hit Ganjam district as the debris is yet to be cleared even six days after Cyclone Phailin left behind its trail of destruction.
Five diarrhoea cases have already been reported from Sorala, a fishermen village in the coastal area. The disease was also reported from the nearby villages.Confirming it, Ganjam chief medical officer P K Kar, however, said the situation was not alarming.“We have received some sporadic cases. But the situation is totally normal,” he said.Kar said at least ten teams of doctors along with paramedical staff were touring the cyclone-ravaged areas.At least two teams were deputed to the district from Bhubaneswar and all the senior doctors in the area have been alerted to be prepared to meet the situation, Kar added.Managing Director of National Rural Health Mission Roopa Mishra on Thursday reviewed the preparedness of the health sector to meet the outbreak of any epidemic.Locals complained that the situation was the worst in Berhampore Municipal Corporation area as heaps of garbage, branches of trees lay piled up in the south Odisha town.Fowl smell was emanating from the clogged drains, while drinking water supply is yet to normalise in the town.
“We are trying our level best to clean up the town. The work is on in full swing and more people have been hired for it. Several persons with required machinery from Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation were also at work to clear the town, BMC commissioner Ajit Mishra said.
2) Phailin aftermath in Bengal: Nine killed in floods:
Nine persons have lost their lives in the recent floods in five districts of West Bengal, state disaster management department sources said on Thursday.
Floods in West and East Midnapore, Howrah, Bankura and Hooghly districts have claimed nine lives so far, they said, adding, that seven persons have died in West Midnapore and two in Bankura."Situation in East Midnapore district continues to remain grave because of the inflow of tidal water through breached river embankments, but the overall flood situation in West Midnapore district has improved to some extent," sources said.
Lakhs of people under 80 blocks of the five districts have been affected, with 71,000 houses either fully or partially damaged, they said.West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who visited the affected areas, said in her Facebook post on Wednesday that people in those districts were in deep trouble following the sudden release of water from different reservoirs of Jharkhand.
"I have visited four districts in the past two days and have seen how the flow of water from DVC barrages, released without any consultation and prior information to the state government, had inundated large number of villages. Release of water from Galudhi barrage of Jharkhand government further added to our woes," Banerjee wrote on her Facebook wall."It was not due to rains. There was no continuous monitoring of those agencies who abruptly released water," she alleged.Mamata directed the district administration to repair all damaged houses and roads, after the water receded. The army said one column has been sent to repair a collapsed bridge and breached embankments in West Midnapore district at the request of the state government.Meanwhile, DVC denied the charge of the West Bengal government and said water was released with prior intimation to the West Bengal administration.
3) Coal-gate case: Plea against PM in Supreme Court:
An advocate on Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Central Bureau of Investigation to name Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in its FIR filed against industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and former Coal Secretary P C Parakh in a coal block allocation case.
Advocate M L Sharma, who was one of the petitioners on whose PIL the apex court is monitoring the probe in the coal gate, filed an application in the wake of statement by Parakh that the Prime Minister knew of the coal blocks being allocated to companies like Hindalco and he too should be named as a "conspirator" and made an "accused.
The application said "Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in direct charge of the coal ministry as coal minister in 2005 and had decided to allot the coal block to various allottees including Hindalco".
4) Miss America Nina Davuluri meets Obama at White House:
Recently crowned Miss America Nina Davuluri, the first Indian-American to have won the coveted beauty pageant, met United States President Barack Obama on Wednesday when she visited the White House.
"Had the pleasure of having a conversation with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office today!" Davuluri twitted shortly after meeting Obama.
"Miss America participated in a group photo with the President in honour of the Children's Miracle Network Hospital Champions," a White House official said.Incidentally, Obama had referred to Miss America during his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in September.
"Now Miss America is of Indian-American descent. I think it's a signal of how close our countries are," Obama had said.
Davuluri became the first Indian-American ever to be crowned Miss America in September."I'm so proud to be the first Miss America of Indian descent,” she had said after winning the pageant.
5) Cyclone, flood, blackout: Beleaguered Odisha seeks Delhi's help:
Lashed by Cyclone Phailin and grappling with the resultant floods, the Odisha government on Wednesday sought immediate release of Rs 1,523 crore from the Centre to expedite relief and restoration efforts, as the death toll from the twin phenomena touched 36.The toll following the high-velocity cyclone and floods in five districts of the state rose to 36 today after the recovery of eight more bodies.Of these, five were found in Balasore while three bodies were recovered in Mayurbhanj district, a senior official said.
"In order to take up relief and restoration work of an immediate nature, I request you to release an advance of Rs 1,000 crore over and above the corpus of Rs 523 crore available in the State Disaster Response Fund for 2013-14," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.Stating that it would help the state government in meeting the immediate requirements for relief and restoration, Patnaik said a detailed report in the form of a memorandum would be presented soon after the assessment of the damage."An early response in the matter will be highly appreciated," Patnaik said.
Highlighting the "extensive" damage caused to the power infrastructure in Ganjam district, which alone would require Rs 900 crore for full restoration, Patnaik said that a major grid station had been devastated."(The power infrastructure) requires immediate restoration, for which I have already sought the support of the Government of India, particularly the PSUs under the Ministry of Power such as PGCIL, NTPC and NHPC," Patnaik said.Meanwhile, an updated report from the government put the number of affected persons in the twin calamities at 1.21 crore, while the number of disaster-hit villages across 17 districts jumped to 17,674.With the situation triggered by Phailin and the floods almost under control, Chief Secretary JK Mohapatra said restoration of the power grid was essential as it had severely affected the supply of drinking water to villages and urban centres.Over 300 have been deployed by the Union power ministry to assist in the restoration of electric supply in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
National Disaster Management Authority Vice-Chairman M Shashidhar Reddy said that 300 experts were being immediately deployed in the cyclone-hit areas of Odisha which have been without power since Saturday.A total of 647 villages remained marooned in Odisha even though the flood situation in the five northern districts of Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Bhadrak, Jajpur and Keonjhar slightly improved today.
6) 10 killed in Maoist attacks in Maharashtra and Bihar:
Ten people including three police commandos were killed on Thursday in two separate attacks by Maoists in Maharashtra and Bihar.The three commandos, who were jawans of C-60 Commando Force, lost their lives in a landmine blast triggered by Maoists in a forest area in Gadchiroli on Maharashtra border adjoining Chhattisgarh in the first major attack in the area in several months, local police control room sources said.Acting on a tip-off about Maoists hiding in the area, the jawans of the anti-Naxal commando force launched combing operations in the Bada Zariya forest area under Gyarapatti police station limits in Dhanora taluka late on Wednesday night when the Naxals triggered a landmine blast.
There was also an exchange of fire after the blast, local sources said. Senior police officials have rushed to the spot and the bodies are being brought to Gadchiroli, police said.This is a major attack by Maoists in the last few months after police eliminated more than 23 ultras in different operations this year. In a daring attack in Bihar, Maoists blew up a vehicle killing all its seven occupants in the Naxal-infested Aurangabad district. Maoists detonated a cane bomb to blow up a vehicle in Pathara village killing all the seven occupants including a Zila Parishad member Usha Devi's husband Sushil Pandey on the spot, Director General of Police Abhayanand told PTI.
The ultras targeted the ill-fated vehicle while it was headed to Pandey's native Pisai village, the DGP said. Superintendent of Police Daljeet Singh and other local civil and police officials have rushed to the spot with additional forces to launch combing-cum-search operation against the Maoists, Abhayanand saidEfforts were underway to ascertain the identity of the other victims, he said.
7) US Congress votes to end government shutdown:
Congress has passed a measure to avert a threatened US default and reopen the federal government, a move intended to end a prolonged fiscal crisis that gripped the US and threatened the world economy.
The deal, however, offers only a temporary fix and does not resolve the fundamental issues of spending and deficits that divide Republicans and Democrats. It funds the government until January 15 and raises the debt ceiling until February 7, so Americans face the possibility of another government shutdown early next year.Both the Democrat-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved the plan, with the Senate passing the measure by 81 votes to 18 and the House 285 votes to 144.President Barack Obama signed the bill before Thursday's deadline for Congress to increase the federal debt limit. He applauded the Senate compromise.
Speaking at the White House Wednesday evening, he said that they could "begin to lift this cloud of uncertainty and unease from our businesses and from the American people"."We need to get out of the habit of governing by crisis," Obama said, speaking at the White House.He announced his intentions to move forward this year and work on new bills, including reforming the "broken" immigration system, passing a farm bill, and working on a "sensible" budget.But House Speaker John Boehner did not agree to the move quietly.Although he said that he and his fellow Republicans "fought the good fight and did not win", he added that they were not giving up on the fight to bring down US debt and cripple the president's signature health care overhaul."Our drive to stop the train wreck that is Obama's health-care law will continue," Boehner said in a statement. With the deal announced, US stock indexes jumped by more than one percent in trading late in the day.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell announced the fiscal agreement on the Senate floor earlier on Wednesday.Reid thanked McConnell for working with him to end what had become one of the nastiest partisan battles in recent Washington history."This is a time for reconciliation," he said.Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane, reporting from Washington, said the deal is only temporary."Basically, in the next three to four months, leaders from both parties are going to come up with some sort of budget agreement," she said."This is something they have tried to do five times before and they've always been unsuccessful."
A long line of polls charted a steep decline in public approval for Republicans, who were left with little to show for their fight; in political terms, the final agreement was almost entirely along lines Obama had set when the impasse began last month.The crisis began on October 1 with a partial shutdown of the federal government after House Republicans refused to accept a temporary funding measure unless Obama agreed to defund or delay his health care law.It escalated when House Republicans also refused to move on needed approval for raising the amount of money the Treasury can borrow to pay US bills, raising the specter of a catastrophic default.Obama vowed repeatedly not to pay a "ransom" in order to get Congress to pass normally routine legislation.The hard-right "Tea Party" faction of House Republicans, urged on by conservative Texas Republican Ted Cruz in the Senate, had seen both deadlines as weapons that could be used to scuttle Obama's Affordable Care Act.But Cruz said after the deal was announced that he would not block the vote, a key concession that indicated that both chambers would act by day's end.
Eleanor Catton wins Man Booker Prize for The Luminaries:
New Zealand author Eleanor Catton has become the youngest Man Booker winner in the prize's history for her novel The Luminaries. The 28-year-old Catton is just the second New Zealander to win the prize, the first being Keri Hulme with The Bone People in 1985.
Catton was just 25 when she started work on the novel and completed it when she was 27. She turned 28 last month.
Her 832-page tale of the 19th-century goldfields is also the longest work to win in the prize's 45-year history, the BBC reported.Robert Macfarlane, travel writer and chair of the judges, called "The Luminaries" ''dazzling" and a "luminous work.”Catton received her trophy, which comes with a 50,000 pound cheque, from Prince Charles' wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, during a dinner ceremony at London's medieval Guildhall.The Luminaries, set in 1866 during the New Zealand gold rush, contains a group of 12 men gathered for a meeting in a hotel and a traveller who stumbles into their midst; the story involves a missing rich man, a dead hermit, a huge sum in gold, and a beaten-up whore. There are sex and seances, opium and lawsuits in the mystery too. The multiple voices take turns to tell their own stories and gradually what happened in the small town of Hokitika on New Zealand's South Island is revealed.
Catton was born in Canada while her father, a New Zealand graduate student, was completing his doctorate at the University of Western Ontario. She grew up in Christchurch after her family had returned to New Zealand when she was six years old, although she spent a year living in Leeds where she attended a comprehensive school. She referred to this experience as amazing, but a real eye opener due to the toughness of the environment. She attended Burnside High School, studied English at the University of Canterbury, and completed a Master's in Creative Writing at The Institute of Modern Letters, Victoria University of Wellington.
In 2008, Catton was awarded a fellowship to the Iowa Writers' Workshop.She was described in 2009 as "this year's golden girl of fiction". In 2011, she was the Ursula Bethell Writer in Residence at the University of Canterbury.
Catton lives in Auckland and is a teacher of creative writing at the Manukau Institute of Technology.
Book :The Luminaries
It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky. The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction. It is full of narrative, linguistic and psychological pleasures, and has a fiendishly clever and original structuring device. Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery. It is a thrilling achievement for someone still in her mid-20s, and will confirm for critics and readers that Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.
The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2013
Eugene F. Fama, Lars Peter Hansen, Robert J. Shiller
The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2013 was awarded jointly to Eugene F. Fama, Lars Peter Hansen and Robert J. Shiller "for their empirical analysis of asset prices".
Trendspotting in asset markets:
There is no way to predict the price of stocks and bonds over the next few days or weeks. But it is quite possible to foresee the broad course of these prices over longer periods, such as the next three to five years. These findings, which might seem both surprising and contradictory, were made and analyzed by this year’s Laureates, Eugene Fama, Lars Peter Hansen and Robert Shiller.
Beginning in the 1960s, Eugene Fama and several collaborators demonstrated that stock prices are extremely difficult to predict in the short run, and that new information is very quickly incorporated into prices. These findings not only had a profound impact on subsequent research but also changed market practice. The emergence of so-called index funds in stock markets all over the world is a prominent example.
If prices are nearly impossible to predict over days or weeks, then shouldn’t they be even harder to predict over several years? The answer is no, as Robert Shiller discovered in the early 1980s. He found that stock prices fluctuate much more than corporate dividends, and that the ratio of prices to dividends tends to fall when it is high, and to increase when it is low. This pattern holds not only for stocks, but also for bonds and other assets.
One approach interprets these findings in terms of the response by rational investors to uncertainty in prices. High future returns are then viewed as compensation for holding risky assets during unusually risky times. Lars Peter Hansen developed a statistical method that is particularly well suited to testing rational theories of asset pricing. Using this method, Hansen and other researchers have found that modifications of these theories go a long way toward explaining asset prices.
Another approach focuses on departures from rational investor behavior. So-called behavioral finance takes into account institutional restrictions, such as borrowing limits, which prevent smart investors from trading against any mispricing in the market.
The Laureates have laid the foundation for the current understanding of asset prices. It relies in part on fluctuations in risk and risk attitudes, and in part on behavioral biases and market frictions.
Indian teen bags photography award with Chambal crocodile:
A 14-year-old Indian boy, who camped out overnight on the banks of the Chambal River in Madhya Pradesh to click the winning shot of a crocodile, has bagged this year's Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award'.
Udayan Rao Pawar shot the fresh water crocodile or gharial with hatchlings on its head by creeping up on the nestling colony. "When the dawn broke early in the morning I hid myself behind a rock, and when the morning light came I took those images," he explained."I could hear them making little grunting sounds. Very soon a large female surfaced near the shore, checking on her charges. Some of the hatchlings swam to her and climbed onto her head. Perhaps it made them feel safe," he added.
Despite conservation efforts, the fresh water gharial is on the verge of extinction with an estimated 200 mating pairs remaining as a result of illegal sand-mining and fishing.Judge Tui De Roy, a naturalist and wildlife photographer, said in reference to Pawar's image, "The composition and timing of Udayan's photograph is perfect.
Sports News This Week:
1) Aus 359/5, India 362/1 in 43.3 overs, Rohit 141*, Kohli 100* off 52:
When Australia set India a target of over 350 runs in one-day cricket for the first time, in the 2003 World Cup final in Johannesburg, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan were all in school.Like most cricket-crazy boys of that age, they must have prayed before their television screens for India and Sachin Tendulkar to pull off a miracle by chasing down the score of 359/2. Tendulkar got out for 4 and India lost by 125 runs.
Same target, same opposition and a decade later, those boys-turned-men in a brave new Indian team left nothing to prayer.At the Sawai Man Singh Stadium Wednesday, Sharma, Kohli and Dhawan helped India record the second highest chase in the history of one-day cricket after South Africa's penultimate ball win chasing 435 seven years ago.
But unlike South Africa's win, India's top three ensured they did it without jitters. And in style — with 39 balls and nine wickets to spare.Man of the Match Sharma played the anchor knock with his third ODI hundred, an unbeaten 141 — his highest score and best knock to date. Kohli, still a month shy of his 25th birthday, tonked out the 16th ODI hundred of his career. Scored off just 52 balls, it was the fastest by an Indian. And Dhawan's glorious comeback year continued, as he fell just five short of what would have been his fourth ODI hundred and fifth overall of 2013.
"These boys don't have the experience of a Yuvraj Singh or even someone like me," said captain M S Dhoni at the presentation ceremony. "So keeping that in mind and what they achieved, this is one of the best chases you can ever see in cricket. It is one of the best games I have been involved in."
2) Contrasting fortunes for big names:
First-timers Bosnia joined holders Spain, England and Russia in grabbing Europe's remaining automatic spots for the 2014 World Cup finals on Tuesday as the last round of group matches ended in joy, despair and shattered nerves.
Bosnians celebrated qualifying for their first major tournament as an independent nation, while bigger European names like France, Portugal and Greece were consigned to the playoffs.There was heartbreak for Denmark, who pummelled Malta 6-0 to finish second behind Italy in Group B but were the unlucky team to miss out on the playoff spots available for the eight best runners-up from the nine European groups.
Iceland kept alive their hopes of reaching their first finals when a 1-1 draw in Norway ensured they finished second behind Group E winners Switzerland to put them in the hat for Monday's draw for November's two-legged ties. The other countries who also get another chance to snap up a ticket to Brazil are Romania, Ukraine, Sweden and Croatia.
World and European champions Spain secured top spot in Group I with a 2-0 win at home to Georgia thanks to goals from Alvaro Negredo and Juan Mata, finishing three points ahead of the French who beat Finland 3-0.The victory in Albacete meant the Spanish finished with 20 points from eight matches and, like six other group winners, ended their campaign unbeaten as they seek to become only the third nation to successfully defend the world title.Negredo, who had scored in their penultimate qualifier last week, shone again for Spain while the man who set up his 26th-minute opener, Andres Iniesta, was delighted to have helped put them through in a city close to where he comes from. Substitute Mata pounced on a loose ball and cracked home from close range in the 61st minute to make sure of the victory that extended their unbeaten run at home to 30 matches.
3) Vijender Singh dominates boxing World Championship opener:
Star Indian boxer Vijender Singh (75kg) gave a dominating performance despite being down with viral fever to thrash Sweden's Hampus Henriksson in his opening bout and enter the second round of the World Championships here today.
Vijender, who was the first Indian boxer to win a medal at the mega-event (a bronze in the 2009 edition), out-punched his rival 3-0 to make the last 32 to round off a third successive winning day for India.The individual scoreline read 30-27 30-26 30-26 in favour of Vijender, who is aiming to make a strong comeback after being embroiled in a drug scandal, which denied him several weeks of training earlier this year."I am down with fever, cold and cough ever since I landed here but somehow managed to pull myself today. I am glad that I won but it's just the start," Vijender told PTI after his bout."I have been on medication for the last two days. Before today's bout my coaches told me that I should not feel weak mentally no matter how I was feeling physically. So, I just went in with a positive mindset and pulled off the win," he said.
National coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu also praised the boxer's performance."Vijender gave an exceptional performance against a very tough boxer. The other guy was very aggressive but Vijender caught him with some good uppercuts, that broke him. Later, Viju connected some deft left hooks," Sandhu said.
Vijender has a tough bout next up as he will be facing European champion and world number seven Jason Quigley of Ireland. The 22-year-old Quigley is seeded fifth here and the duo will square off on Saturday.
"Let's hope that I recover substantially by then and see how it goes," said Vijender.It was a typically composed performance by the 27-year-old, a former world number one and the first Indian boxer to win an Olympic medal (a bronze in the 2008 Beijing Games).
4) Aditya Mehta gets his tactics right:
Aditya Mehta has knocked off nine points in his latest turn at the table, and is faced with a tactical choice snooker players are constantly confronted with.
The moment did not come with the drama of a late match, make-or-break shot, but was the begining of a passage of play that would eventually prove to be decisive.The score is level at one-all and Aditya Mehta is trailing in the third frame of the second round game of the Indian Open. Mehta though is onto something, having narrowed the gap to 13-27 in the third, and is now in the position to choose between two courses of action.
He could either attempt to go on building the break or choose instead to defend — giving up on point-making but forcing Miah to concede a foul or open up the position further in Mehta's favour. Beyond the relative ease with which Mehta could pull off the shots (the pot to continue the break or the 'safety'), there are several other factors that would go into making that kind of a call.
His opponent Hammad Miah is in his rookie year at the tour level and ranked more than 30 slots below Mehta (ranked 71). The Englishman had lost the only other game between the two players 0-5.Despite starting as the underdog, Miah won the first frame in just 12 minutes on the back of a break of 97. Mehta's potting hadn't hit its strides yet — A mis-pot, when he was 20 points into a break in the first frame, had left the board open for Miah who cleared it to take a 1-0 lead.In the second frame, Aditya had stumbled once more during a break, but this time, luckily for him, his mistake did not handed Miah the advantage like in the first frame. The Indian leveled the score at 1-1 and early in the third, Mehta had once more gotten away with a mis-pot, when Miah completely miscued on his turn.
5) Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap progress; PV Sindhu crashes out
Top shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap along with two other Indians sailed into the second round of the Denmark Super Series Premier with contrasting wins in the opening round, but it was curtains for P V Sindhu.
Defending champion Saina brushed aside Bulgaria's Stefani Stoeva 21-16 21-12 but world number 10 Sindhu failed to clear the first-round hurdle in the women's singles competition.World championship bronze medallist, Sindhu played her heart out before losing 19-21 20-22 to Japan's Eriko Hirose in a 50-minute contest.
In the men's singles, Kashyap reached the second round after his opponent Daren Liew of Malaysia retired midway at 11-4.
Ajay Jayaram beat eight seed Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand 21-11 21-14, while RMV Gurusaidutt notched up a 21-17 21 14
victory over Hong Kong's Yun Hu in other men's singles opening round matches.However, women's singles player Arundhati Pantawane bowed out of the first round after suffering a 17-21 15-21 loss to top seed Xuerui Li of China.Men's doubles pair of Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy B lost 14-21 14-21 to German combo of Michael Fuchs and Johannes Schoettler in a 29-minute match.Saina dished out a dominating game as she used her smashes and net play to prevail over her Bulgarian rival. The Indian opened up a 3-0 lead and then extended it to 11-6 before moving to 17-8. She pocketed the opening game.In the second game, the Hyderabadi surged ahead to a 5-1 lead and then slowly and steadily moved ahead to seal the victory.