Science News this Week:
1) Kepler’s surprise: Planet hunter also found supernovas:
Now-defunct telescope captured five stellar explosions as they happened.OXON HILL, Md. — NASA’s premier planet-hunting telescope had an unexpected talent: spotting the cataclysmic demise of giant stars. The Kepler space telescope detected at least five supernovas, giving astronomers a rare look at these calamitous explosions from the start.
From May 2009 until May 2013, when a critical piece of equipment failed , the Kepler telescope found at least 3,500 likely planets orbiting other stars. Kepler’s planet-hunting prowess stemmed from doing one thing extremely well: measuring the brightness of some 170,000 stars. For all four years, the telescope stared continuously at a single patch of sky, collecting brightness measurements every 30 minutes. Occasionally the scope detected subtle dips in stars’ brightness, revealing that planets had crossed in front of them and cast shadows.
2) Insect queens sterilize workers with similar chemical:
Queen ants, bees and wasps all release similar chemicals to quash the reproduction of their workers.When exposed to chemicals called saturated hydrocarbons that mimick the queen’s scent, the worker insects’ ovaries degraded. In the absence of the queen's scent, the workers' reproductive organs developed quickly. A closer look at the compounds suggests that insects may have been using them to signal fertility for roughly 150 million years,
3) Plants’ ATP collector found:
The molecule that pulls ATP — a universal compound used for energy inside and signaling outside of cells — into plant cells has finally been found.
ATP increases calcium inside plant cells, but how the compound is brought into a cell was unclear. Working with the flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana, scientists identified two genes, dorn1-1 and dorn1-2, for molecules, or receptors, that pull ATP into plant cells.
The ATP plant receptor is structurally much different from those identified, and well-studied, in animals and probably helps plants adapt to changing environments, researchers report January 16 in Science.
4) A New Toad from the 'Warm Valleys' of Peruvian Andes:
A new species of toad was discovered hiding in the leaf litter of the Peruvian Yungas. The word is used widely by the locals to describe ecoregion of montane rainforests, and translates as "warm valley" in English. The new species Rhinella yunga was baptized after its habitat preference.
The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.
many other toads of the family Bufonidae the new species Rhinella yunga has a cryptic body coloration resembling the decaying leaves in the forest floor ("dead-leaf pattern"), which is in combination with expanded cranial crests and bony protrusions cleverly securing perfect camouflage. The different colors and shapes within the same species group however make the traditional morphological methods of taxonomic research hard to use to identify the real species diversity within the family. Nevertheless, Rhinela yunga is distinct from all related species in absence of a tympanic membrane, a round membranous part of hearing organ being normally visible on both sides of a toad's head.
"It appears that large number of still unnamed cryptic species remains hidden under some nominal species of the Rhinella margaritifera species group," explains Dr Jiří Moravec, National Museum Prague, Czech Republic.Among the other interesting characteristics of the true toads from the family Bufonidae are a typical warty, robust body and a pair of large poison parotoid glands on the back of their heads. The poison is excreted by the toads when stressed as a protective mechanism. Some toads, like the cane toad Rhinella marina, are more toxic than others. Male toads also possess a special organ, which after removing of testes becomes an active ovary and the toad, in effect, becomes female.
5) Egypt: Sarcophagus Leads to the Tomb of a Previously Unknown Pharaoh, from 3,600 Years Ago:
Archaeologists working at the southern Egyptian site of Abydos have discovered the tomb of a previously unknown pharaoh: Woseribre Senebkay -- and the first material proof of a forgotten Abydos Dynasty, ca. 1650-1600 BC. Working in cooperation with Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, a team from the Penn Museum, University of Pennsylvania, discovered king Senebkay's tomb close to a larger royal tomb, recently identified as belonging to a king Sobekhotep (probably Sobekhotep I, ca. 1780 BC) of the 13th Dynasty.
The discovery of pharaoh Senebkay's tomb is the culmination of work that began during the summer of 2013 when the Penn Museum team, led by Dr. Josef Wegner, Egyptian Section Associate Curator of the Penn Museum, discovered a huge 60-ton royal sarcophagus chamber at South Abydos. The sarcophagus chamber, of red quartzite quarried and transported to Abydos from Gebel Ahmar (near modern Cairo), could be dated to the late Middle Kingdom, but its owner remained unidentified. Mysteriously, the sarcophagus had been extracted from its original tomb and reused in a later tomb -- but the original royal owner remained unknown when the summer season ended.
In the last few weeks of excavations, fascinating details of a series of kings' tombs and a lost dynasty at Abydos have emerged. Archaeologists now know that the giant quartzite sarcophagus chamber derives from a royal tomb built originally for a pharaoh Sobekhotep -- probably Sobekhotep I, the first king of Egypt's 13th Dynasty. Fragments of that king's funerary stela were found just recently in front of his huge, badly robbed tomb. A group of later pharaohs (reigning about a century and a half later during Egypt's Second Intermediate Period) were reusing elements from Sobekhotep's tomb for building and equipping their own tombs. One of these kings (whose name is still unknown) had extracted and reused the quartzite sarcophagus chamber. Another king's tomb found just last week is that of the previously unknown pharaoh: Woseribre-Senebkay.
A Lost Pharaoh and a Forgotten Dynasty
The newly discovered tomb of pharaoh Senebkay dates to ca. 1650 BC during Egypt's Second Intermediate Period. The identification was made by Dr. Wegner and Kevin Cahail, Ph.D. student, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania. The tomb of Senebkay consists of four chambers with a decorated limestone burial chamber. The burial chamber is painted with images of the goddesses Nut, Nephthys, Selket, and Isis flanking the king's canopic shrine. Other texts name the sons of Horus and record the king's titulary and identify him as the "king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Woseribre, the son of Re, Senebkay."
Senebkay's tomb was badly plundered by ancient tomb robbers who had ripped apart the king's mummy as well as stripped the pharaoh's tomb equipment of its gilded surfaces. Nevertheless, the Penn Museum archaeologists recovered the remains of king Senebkay amidst debris of his fragmentary coffin, funerary mask, and canopic chest. Preliminary work on the king's skeleton of Senebkay by Penn graduate students Paul Verhelst and Matthew Olson (of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations) indicates he was a man of moderate height, ca. 1.75 m (5'10), and died in his mid to late 40s.
The discovery provides significant new evidence on the political and social history of Egypt's Second Intermediate Period. The existence of an independent "Abydos Dynasty," contemporary with the 15th (Hyksos) and 16th (Theban) Dynasties, was first hypothesized by Egyptologist K. Ryholt in 1997. The discovery of pharaoh Senebkay now proves the existence of this Abydos dynasty and identifies the location of their royal necropolis at South Abydos in an area anciently called Anubis-Mountain. The kings of the Abydos Dynasty placed their burial ground adjacent to the tombs of earlier Middle Kingdom pharaohs including Senwosret III (Dynasty 12, ca. 1880-1840 BC), and Sobekhotep I (ca. 1780 BC). There is evidence for about 16 royal tombs spanning the period ca. 1650-1600 BC. Senebkay appears to be one of the earliest kings of the "Abydos Dynasty." His name may have appeared in a broken section of the famous Turin King List (a papyrus document dating to the reign of Ramses II, ca. 1200 BC) where two kings with the throne name "Woser...re" are recorded at the head of a group of more than a dozen kings, most of whose names are entirely lost.The tomb of pharaoh Senebkay is modest in scale. An important discovery was the badly decayed remains of Senebkay's canopic chest. This chest was made of cedar wood that had been reused from the nearby tomb of Sobekhotep I and still bore the name of that earlier king, covered over by gilding. Such reuse of objects from the nearby Sobekhotep tomb by Senebkay, like the reused sarcophagus chamber found during the summer, provides evidence that suggests the limited resources and isolated economic situation of the Abydos Kingdom which lay in the southern part of Middle Egypt between the larger kingdoms of Thebes (Dynasties 16-17) and the Hyksos (Dynasty 15) in northern Egypt. Unlike these numbered dynasties, the pharaohs of the Abydos Dynasty were forgotten to history and their royal necropolis unknown until this discovery of Senebkay's tomb."It's exciting to find not just the tomb of one previously unknown pharaoh, but the necropolis of an entire forgotten dynasty," noted Dr. Wegner. "Continued work in the royal tombs of the Abydos Dynasty promises to shed new light on the political history and society of an important but poorly understood era of Ancient Egypt."
6) Natural 3-D Counterpart to Graphene Discovered: New Form of Quantum Matter:
The discovery of what is essentially a 3D version of graphene -- the 2D sheets of carbon through which electrons race at many times the speed at which they move through silicon -- promises exciting new things to come for the high-tech industry, including much faster transistors and far more compact hard drives. A collaboration of researchers at the U.S Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has discovered that sodium bismuthate can exist as a form of quantum matter called a three-dimensional topological Dirac semi-metal (3DTDS). This is the first experimental confirmation of 3D Dirac fermions in the interior or bulk of a material, a novel state that was only recently proposed by theorists.
A 3DTDS is a natural three-dimensional counterpart to graphene with similar or even better electron mobility and velocity," says Yulin Chen, a physicist with Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source (ALS) when he initiated the study that led to this discovery, and now with the University of Oxford. "Because of its 3D Dirac fermions in the bulk, a 3DTDS also features intriguing non-saturating linear magnetoresistance that can be orders of magnitude higher than the materials now used in hard drives, and it opens the door to more efficient optical sensors."Chen is the corresponding author of a paper in Science reporting the discovery. The paper is titled "Discovery of a Three-dimensional Topological Dirac Semimetal, Na3Bi." Co-authors were Zhongkai Liu, Bo Zhou, Yi Zhang, Zhijun Wang, Hongming Weng, Dharmalingam Prabhakaran, Sung-Kwan Mo, Zhi-Xun Shen, Zhong Fang, Xi Dai and Zahid Hussain.Two of the most exciting new materials in the world of high technology today are graphene and topological insulators, crystalline materials that are electrically insulating in the bulk but conducting on the surface. Both feature 2D Dirac fermions (fermions that aren't their own antiparticle), which give rise to extraordinary and highly coveted physical properties. Topological insulators also possess a unique electronic structure, in which bulk electrons behave like those in an insulator while surface electrons behave like those in graphene.
"The swift development of graphene and topological insulators has raised questions as to whether there are 3D counterparts and other materials with unusual topology in their electronic structure," says Chen. "Our discovery answers both questions. In the sodium bismuthate we studied, the bulk conduction and valence bands touch only at discrete points and disperse linearly along all three momentum directions to form bulk 3D Dirac fermions. Furthermore, the topology of a 3DTSD electronic structure is also as unique as those of topological insulators."The discovery was made at the Advanced Light Source (ALS), a DOE national user facility housed at Berkeley Lab, using beamline 10.0.1, which is optimized for electron structure studies. The collaborating research team first developed a special procedure to properly synthesize and transport the sodium bismuthate, a semi-metal compound identified as a strong 3DTDS candidate by co-authors Fang and Dai, theorists with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
At ALS beamline 10.0.1, the collaborators determined the electronic structure of their material using Angle-Resolved Photoemission Spectroscopy (ARPES), in which x-rays striking a material surface or interface cause the photoemission of electrons at angles and kinetic energies that can be measured to obtain a detailed electronic spectrum.
"ALS beamline 10.0.1 is perfect for exploring new materials, as it has a unique capability whereby the analyzer is moved rather than the sample for the ARPES measurement scans," Chen says. "This made our work much easier as the cleaved sample surface of our material sometimes has multiple facets, which makes the rotating-sample measurement schemes typically employed for ARPES measurements difficult to carry out."
Sodium bismuthate is too unstable to be used in devices without proper packaging, but it triggers the exploration for the development of other 3DTDS materials more suitable for everyday devices, a search that is already underway. Sodium bismuthate can also be used to demonstrate potential applications of 3DTDS systems, which offer some distinct advantages over graphene."A 3DTDS system could provide a significant improvement in efficiency in many applications over graphene because of its 3D volume," Chen says. "Also, preparing large-size atomically thin single domain graphene films is still a challenge. It could be easier to fabricate graphene-type devices for a wider range of applications from 3DTDS systems."In addition, Chen says, a 3DTDS system also opens the door to other novel physical properties, such as giant diamagnetism that diverges when energy approaches the 3D Dirac point, quantum magnetoresistance in the bulk, unique Landau level structures under strong magnetic fields, and oscillating quantum spin Hall effects. All of these novel properties can be a boon for future electronic technologies. Future 3DTDS systems can also serve as an ideal platform for applications in spintronics.This research was supported by the DOE Office of Science and by the National Science Foundation of China.
Movie Release This Week:
Jack Ryan, as a young covert CIA analyst, uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack.
After a mysterious, lost night on their honeymoon, a newlywed couple finds themselves dealing with an earlier-than-planned pregnancy. While recording everything for posterity, the husband begins to notice odd behavior in his wife that they initially write off to nerves, but, as the months pass, it becomes evident that the dark changes to her body and mind have a much more sinister origin.
In animated 3D, The Nut Job is an action-packed comedy in fictional Oakton that follows the travails of Surly (voiced by Will Arnett), a mischievous squirrel, and his rat friend Buddy, who plan a nut store heist of outrageous proportions and unwittingly find themselves embroiled in a much more complicated and hilarious adventure.
Based on the true story of teenager James Burns (Spencer Lofranco) who goes from a suburban street gang to a maximum-security prison cell surrounded by hardened criminals. He turns his life around in prison thanks to the unexpected friendship he forms with a convicted murderer (Ving Rhames) who becomes his mentor.
Life of a King is the true story of one man's mission to give inner city kids of Washington DC something he never had - a future. After being incarcerated for eighteen years, Eugene Brown established the Big Chair Chess Club to get kids off the streets and working towards lives they never believed they were capable of. This is his inspirational story.
Political News This Week:
1) Assam: NDFB-S ultra attack again; 2 more killed, 3 injured:
Suspected militants from the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Sangbijit) killed more two persons and injured three others in two separate incidents of shootouts on Saturday in Bodoland Territorial Autonomous District Council areas in Assam.
According sources one person was killed and three others including a woman seriously injured when militants opened indiscriminate fire at a market place about two kilometers away from Panbari police outpost in Chirang district of BTC at around 7.30 pm on Saturday night.The seriously injured were rushed to a hospital in Bongaigaon.
All the victims belonged to a religious minority community.In another incident militants shot dead a barber at Udalguri in the BTC area on Saturday evening.
The two incidents occurred close on the heels of five killing of bus passengers hailing from Bihar by the NDFB-S ultras on Friday night on the national highway in Kokrajhar district of Assam.The army and police have geared up vigil in BTC areas with the show of belligerence by the NDFB-S ultras.The NDFB-S had broken away from the parent NDFB headed by Ranjan Daimary after the latter decided to opt for peace dialogue with the government of India.The NDFB-S has been on an rampage in the BTC area by resorting to unabated extortion and abductions especially in areas close to Arunachal Pradesh border and India-Bhutan border.
2) Sunanda's death unnatural, some injuries found: Doctors:
Doctors at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, who conducted autopsy on the body of Sunanda Pushkar, today said it was a case of "sudden, unnatural death" but ruled out poisoning even as police investigated various angles into death of Union Minister Shashi Tharoor's wife.
Injury marks were also found on the body of 52-year-old Pushkar, who was last night found dead in mysterious circumstances in luxury LeelaPalace hotel in South Delhi.
The head of the three-member panel of doctors that conducted the autopsy on Pushkar, said, "We have conducted the postmortem examination... It is a case of sudden, unnatural death" but ruled out poisoning.
However, he said the team has preserved certain "biological samples for toxicological analysis as well as visco-pathological examination.""We have completed the whole procedure. Samples for toxicological analysis means ruling out any poison. Some pathology of the heart has been preserved by us," he said.
Pushkar was found dead in her suite at the hotel and the body was shifted to AIIMS at around 3:30 am for post-mortem. The police is also expected to record statement of Tharoor, who was admitted to AIIMS following complaints of chest pain and was discharged later.
Pushkar and Tharoor were at the centre of a raging controversy when reports emerged that she was upset over reported text and tweet messages between her husband and Mehr Tarar, a Pakistani journalist.Gupta, who is head of forensic sciences department at AIIMS, said the autopsy report would focus on investigating from a medical angle the sudden unnatural death.He said the final autopsy report will be prepared within next couple of days after receiving reports of toxicological analysis and visco-pathological examination."After receiving all these reports in the next couple of days, we will finalise the postmortem report and we will give our opinion in the case," he said.
When asked about the injuries on the body, he refused to give details saying as police was working on the case, certain issues cannot be revealed.
"There were certain injuries on the body. I cannot reveal the details of the injury. Basically in medico-legal cases, the number of injuries does not matter. Whether these injuries were related to fatality or not matters," he said.Asked whether the injury caused death, he refused to give a direct answer.
Pushkar and Tharoor had checked into the hotel on Thursday as their home was being painted. A joint statement from the couple on Thursday said that they were "happily married" but distressed by "some unauthorised tweets".Pushkar had accused Tarar of "stalking" her husband and trying to "break" her marriage when she was away for medical treatment.She had told a couple of newspapers that she was considering divorce from Tharoor in the wake of the alleged extra-marital affair.The Pakistani journalist rubbished the charges of having any relationship with Tharoor.
Shashi Tharoor suffers 'cardiac condition', admitted to AIIMS:
Union Minister Shashi Tharoor, whose wife Sunanda Pushkar was found dead on Friday night, was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences after he suffered a "cardiac condition" in the wee hours on Saturday.Fifty-seven-year-old Tharoor was rushed to the hospital at around 3 am after he complained of severe chest pain, anxiety and palpitation, sources at the AIIMS said. The Union minister was admitted to the ICU of the cardiothoracic centre of the AIIMS and a number of investigations including ECG have been carried out on him.Doctors said he was brought to the hospital with a "cardiac condition" but he is stable now. A team of doctors are monitoring him at the ICU, the sources said.
Sunanda, who was upset over an alleged extra-marital affair between her minister husband Tharoor and a Pakistani journalist, was found dead in a five-star hotel room on Friday night.The body of 52-year-old Pushkar, a woman entrepreneur who married Tharoor in August 2010, was found in mysterious circumstances in luxury LeelaPalace hotel in South Delhi.Police sources speaking on condition of anonymity said they suspect it could be a case of suicide. Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat had said inquest proceedings have been initiated by the sub-divisional magistrate of the area. Any death within seven years of marriage is legally required to be investigated by the sub-divisional magistrate.Pushkar and Tharoor were at the centre of a raging controversy in the last two days when reports emerged that she was upset over reported text and tweet messages between her husband and Mehr Tarar, Pakistani journalist.Tharoor had to attend two sessions and to launch a book during the Jaipur Literature Festival.He was one of the prominent personalities to watch out during the fest.
"It is sad but Tharoor won't be able to attend the festival," festival producer Sanjay Roy said. The minister had two sessions in the fest named The Paradoxes of Growth and Development on Saturday at 3.30 pm and History strikes back and the Collapse of Globalism on Sunday at 10 am.Besides these, he had to launch a book authored by Louise Khurshid, wife of another Union Minister Salman Khurshid. In his last Twitter post on Friday, the Union minister had also said that he would not have been able to attend the festival due to illness of his wife."My wife's illness means i need to be with her & will miss all 5 events of #JaipurLitFest 2014." This was the last tweet posted by the Union Minister last evening before her death later on Friday night.
Pushkar and Tharoor were at the centre of a row in the past two days when reports emerged that she was upset over reported text and tweet messages between her husband and Tarar.Tarar, the mother of a 13-year-old son, had denied having an affair with the suave thrice-married Tharoor. She also shot off uncharitable barbs at Pushkar and defended herself.Asked if she knew Tharoor, Tarar said on Thursday, "I met him in April last year for an interview in India. Then I met him in June in Dubai in a social gathering. Yes, I have been in touch with him once in a while on Twitter and email."
Sunanda Pushkar’s shocking and ‘unnatural’ demise has brought Union minister Shashi Tharoor’s political career under the scanner, and with no leniency being shown by the Congress party, it seems the flamboyant MP will have to fight his own battle, reports Renu Mittal.
3) Author Cyrus Mistry wins $50,000 DSC Prize for 'Chronicles of a Corpse Bearer':
Reticent author Cyrus Mistry on Saturday beat off stiff competition from five other writers to become the fourth winner of the $50,000 DSC prize for South Asian literature for his book "Chronicles of a Corpse Bearer".The prize is given to the best work or translations of a work on or about the South Asian region. Last year the award was won by Jeet Thayil for his debut novel "Narcopolis".Mistry was presented with the award at a ceremony at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Saturday evening by Gloria Steinem.
"I have tried to keep myself as detached as possible with the possibility of winning this prize, so am not so enthusiastic but happy about the win," Mistry said after receiving the award.Other books in the running were "Anand: Book of Destruction" (Translated by Chetana Sachidanandan) "Benyamin: Goat Days" (Translated by Joseph Koyippalli), Mohsin Hamid: "How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia", "Nadeem Aslam: The Blind Man's Garden" and Nayomi Munaweera: Island of a Thousand Mirrors.
Noted writer, editor and literary critic Antara Dev Sen chaired the five member jury which first announced a long list of 15 names and then came up with a shortlist of six from which Mistry was chosen.Mistry's book is a story of marginalised community and looks at larger questions about life and death, which makes it a different read.
Set in the city of Mumbai, it revolves around the lives of a hardly heard of and rarely-seen set of people, corpse bearers or Khandhias within the Parsi community. Their job is to carry bodies of the deceased to the Towers of Silence.The jury comprised of Arshia Sattar, Ameena Saiyid, Rosie Boycott, and Paul Yamazaki.
The shortlist was announced in November last year.Playwright, journalist and author Cyrus Mistry dedicated the award to his sister. "I would like to dedicate the award to my sister Feroza Mistry who is in US and is very ill. I am certain that she will recover soon but she has always believed in my capabilities, so I would dedicate this to her," said the author.The $50,000 DSC Prize along with a unique trophy was awarded to Mistry who is the second Indian to win the award.
4) Fight polls unitedly if Cong is to win: Rahul to state leaders:
Rahul Gandhi on Saturday did some plain speaking as he slammed infighting among Congress leaders and asked them to maintain unity during his first meeting with state leaders after being formally assigned to lead the party's campaign for Lok Sabha polls."There may be differences among you on certain issues but you have to fight the polls unitedly to ensure the party's victory," Rahul, the Congress vice-president, said at the meeting with PCC chiefs and AICC delegates.During his interaction with leaders from Madhya Pradesh, where Congress suffered a humiliating defeat, Rahul said he knows that the party "lost due to infighting among senior leaders".Rahul separately met AICC delegates from each state and sought to learn of the issues which are likely to be prominent for the Lok Sabha polls. He also sought to find out about the strength of the Congress organisation in each of the states.
Rahul was also told by leaders from some states, including Chhattisgarh, that those constantly creating trouble within should be thrown out of the party.Delegates from Uttar Pradesh complained to Rahul that central ministers remained mostly inaccessible to them but, when available, did not do their work.Some delegates urged Rahul to go for a roadshow on the lines of those undertaken by Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi to connect with the ordinary party workers.
Meanwhile, with the focus now on finding new allies for the party ahead of the upcoming general elections, he also made it clear during his interaction with leaders from Bihar that any alliance would be formalised keeping in mind the party's interests.
If a respectable number of seats was not offered to Congress, it may even go it alone for the polls in the state in question, he added.Congress had fought the 2009 Lok Sabha elections alone after breaking off from an alliance with RJD and LJP. The party had followed that course after it was offered only three seats by RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav.Congress, on its own, had then won two seats while RJD could muster four seats out of the 28 contested. LJP had failed to open its account on the 12 seats it fought.In that regard, a member from Jammu and Kashmir said that Congress should fight the elections on its own and not as part of an alliance with National Conference.
5) Reach out to booths and households: Modi to BJP workers:
Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Saturday asked the party rank and file to concentrate on running a grounded election campaign focusing on booths and households as he said polls are not won through rallies and TV debates.Addressing the BJP national council in New Delhi, Modi gave simple, commonsensical suggestions to the party cadre ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
Striking a note of sarcasm, the Gujarat chief minister said, "We cannot beat Congress in their way of running a campaign. We do not have the ability to spend such money, misuse state machinery or resort to any dirty tricks. The power we have is the power of organisation."
He asked party workers to touch an emotional cord with people when they go on a door-to-door campaign. "When you go to collect 'one note' for the party to 10 crore families, you should ask them what they want from their government, ask them don't you want change. Talk to them about issues they are emotional about," he said.
Modi, a former general secretary (organisation) of BJP, said he is speaking as a party organisation man and not as the PM candidate of the party.
"The more grounded our campaign is, the greater will be its benefit. A poll victory takes birth in a polling booth and not in public rallies, TV debates, posters or through magazines... Losing in a polling booth does not win you elections," Modi said.
He told party workers that in each booth, which has around 700 votes, they should try to ensure that 350 votes are cast for BJP. "This means you have to reach out to 100 families per booth," he said.Some of the suggestions which struck an instant cord with the cadre was to get BJP symbol lotus applied in henna on the palms of 10 crore women across the country by February end, show BJP videos to groups of 25-30 women in different places every day, and touching an emotional cord with people.
6) Legendary Bengali actress Suchitra Sen dies in Kolkata hospital :
Legendary actress of yesteryears Suchitra Sen died in a Kolkata hospital, aged 82. She breathed her last on Friday morning, though neither the hospital authorities nor the doctors would confirm the time. The immediate reason of her death was believed to be cardiac arrest. Over a span from the fifties to the seventies Sen had teamed up with matinee idol Uttam Kumar to create one of the most famous pairs of Indian films.
For the past three decades since she quit the world of films, Suchitra Sen led the life of a recluse, and never seen in public. Her family also did not want her death to be publicised.Showing respect to that wish, neither the doctors attending on her, or the hospital authorities, would comment on the death of Sen.
But the word went out unofficially that the actress is no more and all television channels began airing the news, and film veterans also started offering condolences.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee rushed to the hospital as the news of her death broke"An era has ended," remarked veteran actress and film director Aparna Sen.
"Her death marks a great loss to Bengali films. I pray so that her family can overcome the grief," said Biswajit Chatterjee, himself a star of Bengali films and a contemporary of Sen."None had the ability to step in her shoes," commented veteran actor Dipankar Dey."Her works will live with us forever," said Madhabi Mukherjee, one of teh finest actresses of Bengali films and a favourite of Satyajit Ray.She was admitted to Belle Vue Clinic on December 23 with severe lung infection. Sen is survived by her daughter Moon Moon Sen and two granddaughters, Raima and Riya Sen.During the past 26 days, she has been frequently in and out of the danger zone. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee visited her seven times over the past few days.
7) Open rebellion: Andhra CM Kiran Reddy stays away from AICC meet:
By staying away from Friday’s All India Congress Committee meeting in New Delhi, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy has openly revolted against the party. Although publicly Reddy has said he won’t be attending the AICC meet due to the ongoing assembly session, in reality he wants to express his displeasure.
Reddy’s supporters say that since the Congress has made it clear that the Telangana issue will not be raised there is no point in the chief minister attending the AICC meet.
Kiran Reddy feels that all issues should be allowed to be raised at the AICC meeting.There were clear orders that nobody would be able to question the decision of the Congress Working Committee that took a major decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh.
Also, the Congress has been very clear about its intention on Telangana.Anyone who has raised the Telangana issue strongly has been kept away. The six MP’s who had moved a no confidence motion against the Union government were denied passes for the AICC meet.
For Kiran Reddy it was better to stay away. He has been under pressure to oppose the Telangana formation. Had he gone to Delhi, he would have been forced to raise the issue which could have led to a major showdown.However, several Congress leaders from Rayalseema are attending the AICC meet.
Congress MP from Andhra Pradesh, Subbirami Reddy, who is sharing the dais with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, was also told to instruct the rest of the leaders not to speak anything on the Telangana issue.
Sport News This Week:
1) Fit Federer, rusty Sharapova into second week:
Roger Federer boasted of his fitness, Maria Sharapova felt a bit rusty and Andy Murray berated himself but all three eased into the second week of the Australian Open with third round victories at Melbourne Park on Saturday.
While there was relief all round at the cooler temperatures after four days of stifling heat, Milos Raonic and Caroline Wozniacki both felt the stinging burn of an upset when they failed to reach the last 16.
World number one Rafa Nadal was in action later on Saturday against Gael Monfils after Victoria Azarenka continues her quest for a third straight women's title against Yvonne Meusburger.
Federer looked at his imperious best as he dismantled Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-2 6-2 6-3 to reach the fourth round at a grand slam without giving up a set for the 27th time.
"I'm happy that from my side I'm winning my matches in straight sets," the 17-times grand slam champion said.
"It's been different conditions every match. The heat first, and the indoor match and now normal conditions today with a bit of wind."
2) New Zealand v India 2014: First ODI Preview – Napier all set for a high scoring affair:
India’s cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (front R) smiles after a press conference following the team’s arrival at Auckland International Airport for the cricket series against New Zealand on January 13, 2014. New Zealand and India will play five one-day internationals between January 19 and 31, followed by two Tests in Auckland and Wellington in February.
With the BCCI, the ECB, and Cricket Australia in talks about taking control of the ICC, this could well be India’s last full tour to an ICC member country, excluding Australia and England. With the talks about the FTP being scrapped in favour of the ‘big three’, New Zealand would like to send out a message, saying that they will be no pushovers, and that they can give the big boys a run for their money.
For that to happen. New Zealand will need a dramatic change in their home record. Since 2009, they have only beaten Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in a home ODI series, and if they manage to somehow turn the tides over, it would be a huge boost to New Zealand cricket as a whole.India, on the other hand, could lose their no.1 ODI ranking, if they lose the series. The Indian batsmen could enjoy the small boundaries that most grounds in New Zealand have in offer. However, New Zealand are still toying with the idea of playing an all-seam attack, to exploit chinks in the Indian armour that were harshly exposed by Dale Steyn and co. in the recent ODI series in South Africa.
3) India’s biggest running event: All you need to know about the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon:
Mumbai might be known for its heat-killing monsoons, historic underworld, Sachin Tendulkar and much more, but all that is going to take a back seat on Sunday as the city is all set to host the largest marathon in Asia.More than 40,000 participants will graze the roads of Mumbai this time around, with some looking to get a share of the whopping $360,000 which is up for grabs while others will sweat it out just to be part of the grand event.
Book Of This WEEK:
Life at the Speed of Light:by J. Craig Venter:
From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life by J. Craig Venter. Biology has come a long way from the days of mixing things in petri dishes and hoping something interesting happens. In his new book, Venter introduces readers to a future of precise biological engineering, guided by DNA and targeted to create life forms never before thought possible.
Venter has the scientific chops to back up these claims. His first book related the story of how he led a private effort that raced a government-funded consortium to decipher the DNA sequence that makes up the human genome. His second book focuses on a later lab triumph: the creation of Synthia, the first life-form with a synthesized genome.
Synthia, announced in 2010, is a bacterial mash-up. Venter’s team stitched together a genetic code for one bacterial species from scratch, then inserted it into a second species and booted it up. The result was a living, self-replicating cell that essentially cribbed synthetic DNA to function.
In relating Synthia’s story, Venter illuminates the twists and turns that are a hallmark of modern science. Time and again the researchers go down blind alleys, only to start again using a different tack — such as ditching one simple but slow-growing bacterial species in favor of another more complex one that will replicate faster in petri dishes.
This description of science-as-process is perhaps the most notable aspect of Life at the Speed of Light. Venter embeds the story of Synthia in the deep history of molecular biology, laying out discoveries by previous generations of scientists and clarifying how those advances made way for modern investigations. It’s a story with many blind turns and dead ends, but one that triumphs in the end.
J. Craig Venter:
In 2000, geneticist J. Craig Venter announced that his team, along with the governmental Human Genome Project, were the first to successfully sequence the 3-billion-plus base pairs of DNA that make up the human genome. In 2010, a group of Venter-led researchers was the first to transplant a genome made from synthetic DNA into a bacterial cell. The new cell was capable of self-replication, a sign of “synthetic life.”
In a special lecture, Venter will describe his current work and new book, Life at the Speed of Light, which presents a fascinating and authoritative study of the emerging field of synthetic genomics—detailing its origins, current challenges, and controversies, and projected effects on our lives. This scientific frontier provides an opportunity to ponder anew the age-old question “What is life?” and examine what we really mean by “playing God.”