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Saturday, 15 February 2014

Subhaditya News Channel Presents Science,Movie, Political,Sports And Book News This Week (82)

Science News This Week:

1) Ancient reptile birth preserved in fossil:

Ichthyosaur fossil may show the earliest live birth from an ancient Mesozoic marine reptile. Ichthyosaur fossil may show the earliest live birth from an ancient Mesozoic marine reptile, according to a study published February 12, 2014 in PLOS ONE by Ryosuke Motani from the University of California, Davis, and colleagues.
Ichthyosaurs were giant marine reptiles that evolved from land reptiles and moved to the water. Scientists report a new fossil specimen that belongs to Chaohusaurus (Reptilia, Ichthyopterygia), the oldest of Mesozoic marine reptiles that lived approximately 248 million years ago. The partial skeleton was recovered in China and may show a live birth. The maternal skeleton was associated with three embryos and neonates: one inside the mother, another exiting the pelvis-with half the body still inside the mother-and the third outside of the mother. The headfirst birth posture of the second embryo indicates that live births in ichthyosaurs may have taken place on land, instead of in the water, as some studies have previously suggested.

The new specimen may contain the oldest fossil embryos of Mesozoic marine reptile, about 10 million years older than those indicated on previous records. The authors also suggest that live births in land reptiles may have appeared much earlier than previously thought.Dr. Motani added, "The study reports the oldest vertebrate fossil to capture the 'moment' of live-birth, with a baby emerging from the pelvis of its mother. The 248-million-year old fossil of an ichthyosaur suggests that live-bearing evolved on land and not in the sea."

2) Nearly 1-million-year-old European footprints found:

Impressions of possible Neandertal ancestors make waves in England.Footprints of ancient human ancestors at a Stone Age site on England’s southeastern coast emerged briefly only to be eroded away by the sea. At least five individuals created the prints between 1 million and 780,000 years ago, say archaeologist Nick Ashton of the British Museum in London and his colleagues.

The footprints were discovered and photographed in May 2013, the researchers report February 7 in PLOS ONE. A low tide at England’s Happisburgh site revealed that heavy seas had worn away layers of hardened silt, exposing a stretch of footprint-covered sediment.

Many prints contained impressions of the arch and heel. One print displayed toe marks. Lengths and widths of the ancient footprints corresponded to individuals who stood between 3 and 5.7 feet tall, suggesting that adults and youngsters strolled together. The foot sizes resemble those of possible Neandertal ancestors whose fossils, previously found in northern Spain, date to at least 800,000 years ago. Only 3.6-million-year-old hominid footprints in Tanzania and 1.5-million-year-old footprints in Kenya (SN: 3/28/09, p. 14) are older than the Happisburgh discovery.

3) Technology decodes more information from single photons:

It's not quite Star Trek communications. Yet. But long-distance communications in space may be easier now that researchers have designed a clever detector array that can extract more information than usual from single particles of light.It's not quite Star Trek communications -- yet. But long-distance communications in space may be easier now that researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have designed a clever detector array that can extract more information than usual from single particles of light.Described in a new paper, the NIST/JPL array-on-a-chip easily identifies the position of the exact detector in a multi-detector system that absorbs an incoming infrared light particle, or photon. That's the norm for digital photography cameras, of course, but a significant improvement in these astonishingly sensitive detectors that can register a single photon. The new device also records the signal timing, as these particular single-photon detectors have always done.The technology could be useful in optical communications in space. Lasers can transmit only very low light levels across vast distances, so signals need to contain as much information as possible.One solution is "pulse position modulation" in which a photon is transmitted at different times and positions to encode more than the usual one bit of information. If a light source transmitted photons slightly to the left/right and up/down, for instance, then the new NIST/JPL detector array circuit could decipher the two bits of information encoded in the spatial position of the photon. Additional bits of information could be encoded by using the arrival time of the photon.The same NIST/JPL collaboration recently produced detector arrays for the first demonstration of two-way laser communications outside Earth's orbit using the timing version of pulse position modulation. The new NIST/JPL paper shows how to make an even larger array of detectors for future communications systems.

The new technology uses superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors. The current design can count tens of millions of photons per second but the researchers say it could be scaled up to a system capable of counting of nearly a billion photons per second with low dark (false) counts. The key innovation enabling the latest device was NIST's 2011 introduction of a new detector material, tungsten-silicide, which boosted efficiency, the ability to generate an electrical signal for each arriving photon. Detector efficiency now exceeds 90 percent. Other materials are less efficient and would be more difficult to incorporate into complex circuits.The detectors superconduct at cryogenic temperatures (about minus 270 °C or minus 454 °F), and cooling needs set a limit on wiring complexity. The NIST/JPL scheme requires only twice as many wires (2N) as the number of detectors on one side of a square array (N x N), greatly reducing cooling loads compared to a one-wire-per-detector approach while maintaining high timing accuracy. NIST researchers demonstrated the scheme for a four-detector array with four wires and are now working on a 64-detector array with 16 wires.In the circuit, each detector is located in a specific column and row of the square array. Each detector acts like an electrical switch. When the detector is in the superconducting state, the switch is closed and the current is equally distributed among all detectors in that column. When a detector absorbs a photon, the switch opens, temporarily diverting the current to an amplifier for the affected column while reducing the signal through the affected row. As a result, the circuit generates a voltage spike in the column readout and a voltage dip in the row readout. The active detector is at the intersection of the active column and row.

4) Plastic shopping bags make a fine diesel fuel:

Plastic shopping bags, an abundant source of litter on land and at sea, can be converted into diesel, natural gas and other useful petroleum products, researchers report. The conversion produces significantly more energy than it requires and results in transportation fuels -- diesel, for example -- that can be blended with existing ultra-low-sulfur diesels and biodiesels.Plastic shopping bags, an abundant source of litter on land and at sea, can be converted into diesel, natural gas and other useful petroleum products, researchers report.The conversion produces significantly more energy than it requires and results in transportation fuels -- diesel, for example -- that can be blended with existing ultra-low-sulfur diesels and biodiesels. Other products, such as natural gas, naphtha (a solvent), gasoline, waxes and lubricating oils such as engine oil and hydraulic oil also can be obtained from shopping bags.

A report of the new study appears in the journal Fuel Processing Technology.There are other advantages to the approach, which involves heating the bags in an oxygen-free chamber, a process called pyrolysis, said Brajendra Kumar Sharma, a senior research scientist at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center who led the research. The ISTC is a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois."You can get only 50 to 55 percent fuel from the distillation of petroleum crude oil," Sharma said. "But since this plastic is made from petroleum in the first place, we can recover almost 80 percent fuel from it through distillation."

Americans throw away about 100 billion plastic shopping bags each year, according to the Worldwatch Institute. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that only about 13 percent are recycled. The rest of the bags end up in landfills or escape to the wild, blowing across the landscape and entering waterways.Plastic bags make up a sizeable portion of the plastic debris in giant ocean garbage patches that are killing wildlife and littering beaches. Plastic bags "have been detected as far north and south as the poles," the researchers wrote."Over a period of time, this material starts breaking into tiny pieces, and is ingested along with plankton by aquatic animals," Sharma said. Fish, birds, ocean mammals and other creatures have been found with a lot of plastic particles in their guts.Whole shopping bags also threaten wildlife, Sharma said."Turtles, for example, think that the plastic grocery bags are jellyfish and they try to eat them," he said. Other creatures become entangled in the bags.Previous studies have used pyrolysis to convert plastic bags into crude oil. Sharma's team took the research further, however, by fractionating the crude oil into different petroleum products and testing the diesel fractions to see if they complied with national standards for ultra-low-sulfur diesel and biodiesel fuels."A mixture of two distillate fractions, providing an equivalent of U.S. diesel #2, met all of the specifications" required of other diesel fuels in use today -- after addition of an antioxidant, Sharma said."This diesel mixture had an equivalent energy content, a higher cetane number (a measure of the combustion quality of diesel requiring compression ignition) and better lubricity than ultra-low-sulfur diesel," he said.The researchers were able to blend up to 30 percent of their plastic-derived diesel into regular diesel, "and found no compatibility problems with biodiesel," Sharma said.
"It's perfect," he said. "We can just use it as a drop-in fuel in the ultra-low-sulfur diesel without the need for any changes."

5) Embryos in eggs move to get comfy:

Even before hatching, some reptiles and birds can shift toward favorable The power to cuddle up to warmth or cringe away from overheating may be widespread among reptile and bird embryos still in the egg, researchers say.

Earlier studies found two species of turtle embryos moving toward warmth or away from dangerously high heat (SN: 6/18/11, p. 9). Now tests of 12 diverse species find active repositioning, says ecologist Wei-Guo Du of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.

Embryonic Chinese alligators (Alligator sinensis) shifted more than a centimeter toward heating pads, Du and his colleagues report in the March American Naturalist. Embryos of Pekin ducks (Anas platyrhynchosdomestica) repositioned almost a centimeter, and those of three other birds on average shifted a few millimeters. Embryos of three kinds of snakes edged several millimeters toward warmth or several millimeters away from excessive heat. Only the two lizard species the researchers tested failed to budge, as the scientists had predicted for species with small eggs.

The research fuels emerging appreciation of the unhatched. Other studies found that predator vibrations trigger quick-escape hatching in frog embryos (SN: 8/15/09, p. 27). And cuttlefish learn preferences from seeing food from their clear eggs

6) Mathematical beauty activates same brain region as great art or music:

People who appreciate the beauty of mathematics activate the same part of their brain when they look at aesthetically pleasing formula as others do when appreciating art or music, suggesting that there is a neurobiological basis to beauty People who appreciate the beauty of mathematics activate the same part of their brain when they look at aesthetically pleasing formula as others do when appreciating art or music, suggesting that there is a neurobiological basis to beauty.There are many different sources of beauty -- a beautiful face, a picturesque landscape, a great symphony are all examples of beauty derived from sensory experiences. But there are other, highly intellectual sources of beauty. Mathematicians often describe mathematical formulae in emotive terms and the experience of mathematical beauty has often been compared by them to the experience of beauty derived from the greatest art.

In a new paper published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to image the brain activity of 15 mathematicians when they viewed mathematical formulae that they had previously rated as beautiful, neutral or ugly.
The results showed that the experience of mathematical beauty correlates with activity in the same part of the emotional brain -- namely the medial orbito-frontal cortex -- as the experience of beauty derived from art or music.Professor Semir Zeki, lead author of the paper from the Wellcome Laboratory of Neurobiology at UCL, said: "To many of us mathematical formulae appear dry and inaccessible but to a mathematician an equation can embody the quintescence of beauty. The beauty of a formula may result from simplicity, symmetry, elegance or the expression of an immutable truth. For Plato, the abstract quality of mathematics expressed the ultimate pinnacle of beauty."
"This makes it interesting to learn whether the experience of beauty derived from such as highly intellectual and abstract source as mathematics correlates with activity in the same part of the emotional brain as that derived from more sensory, perceptually based, sources."In the study, each subject was given 60 mathematical formulae to review at leisure and rate on a scale of -5 (ugly) to +5 (beautiful) according to how beautiful they experienced them to be. Two weeks later they were asked to re-rate them while in an fMRI scanner.The formulae most consistently rated as beautiful (both before and during the scans) were Leonhard Euler's identity, the Pythagorean identity and the Cauchy-Riemann equations. Leonhard Euler's identity links five fundamental mathematical constants with three basic arithmetic operations each occurring once and the beauty of this equation has been likened to that of the soliloquy in Hamlet.

Mathematicians judged Srinivasa Ramanujan's infinite series and Riemann's functional equation as the ugliest.Professor Zeki said: "We have found that activity in the brain is strongly related to how intense people declare their experience of beauty to -- even in this example where the source of beauty is extremely abstract. This answers a critical question in the study of aesthetics, namely whether aesthetic experiences can be quantified."Professor Zeki added: "We have found that, as with the experience of visual or musical beauty, the activity in the brain is strongly related to how intense people declare their experience of beauty to be -- even in this example where the source of beauty is extremely abstract. This answers a critical question in the study of aesthetics, one which has been debated since classical times, namely whether aesthetic experiences can be quantified."

7) Help for a scarred heart: Scarring cells turned to beating muscle:

Poets and physicians know that a scarred heart cannot beat the way it used to, but the science of reprogramming cells offers hope -- for the physical heart, at least. Poets and physicians know that a scarred heart cannot beat the way it used to, but the science of reprogramming cells offers hope--for the physical heart, at least.
A team of University of Michigan biomedical engineers has turned cells common in scar tissue into colonies of beating heart cells. Their findings could advance the path toward regenerating tissue that's been damaged in a heart attack.Previous work in direct reprogramming, jumping straight from a cell type involved in scarring to heart muscle cells, has a low success rate. But Andrew Putnam, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and head of the Cell Signaling in Engineered Tissues Lab, thinks he knows at least one of the missing factors for better reprogramming.

"Many reprogramming studies don't consider the environment that the cells are in -- they don't consider anything other than the genes," he said. "The environment can dictate the expression of those genes."To explore how the cells' surroundings might improve the efficiency of reprogramming, Yen Peng Kong, a post-doctoral researcher in the lab, attempted to turn scarring cells, or fibroblasts, into heart muscle cells while growing them in gels of varying stiffness. He and his colleagues compared a soft commercial gel with medium-stiffness fibrin, made of the proteins that link with platelets to form blood clots, and with high-stiffness collagen, made of structural proteins.
The fibroblasts came from mouse embryos. To begin the conversion to heart muscle cells, Kong infected the fibroblasts with a specially designed virus that carried mouse transgenes -- genes expressed by stem cells.Fooled into stem cell behavior, the fibroblasts transformed themselves into stem-cell-like progenitor cells. This transition, which would be skipped in direct reprogramming, encouraged the cells to divide and grow into colonies rather than remaining as lone rangers. The tighter community might have helped to ease the next transition, since naturally developing heart muscle cells are also close with their neighbors.

After seven days, Kong changed the mixture used to feed the cells, adding a protein that encourages the growth of heart tissue. This helped push the cells toward adopting the heart muscle identity. A few days later, some of the colonies were contracting spontaneously, marking themselves out as heart muscle colonies.
The transition was particularly successful in the fibrin and fibrin-collagen mixes, which saw as many as half of the colonies converting to heart muscle.
The team has yet to discover exactly what it is about fibrin that makes it better for supporting heart muscle cell. While most materials either stretch or weaken under strain, fibrin gets harder. Putnam wonders whether the fibrin was successful because heart muscles expect a material that toughens up when they contract.
A number of challenges stand between current techniques and healing hearts by reprogramming scar tissue. Researchers need an effective way to wake up the stem cell properties without the use of potentially risky viruses. Also, the scar tissue needs to be altered so that cell reprogramming -- or even new heart cells prepared outside the body -- will take well.

Happy birthday, Mr. Darwin:

Not to worry, Mr. Darwin!  Specimen 708,  a male rove beetle that you collected in Argentina in 1832, has finally turned up after decades of being classified “not found.” And on your 205th birthday, a paper in ZooKeys names it Darwinilus sedarisi, a new species remarkable enough to deserve its own new genus.

Your ideas are in the news all the time, though they’ve taken some strange twists. And we’re still arguing about monogamy, upright walking in humans and the deep ancestors of animals. But be assured, we’re also still discovering “endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful.” We've gathered just a sampling of the news since your last birthday.

Movie News This Week:

In RoboCop, the year is 2028 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Their drones are winning American wars around the globe and now they want to bring this technology to the home front. Alex Murphy (Kinnaman) is a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit. After he is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp utilizes their remarkable science of robotics to save Alex's life. He returns to the streets of his beloved city with amazing new abilities, but with issues a regular man has never had to face before.

Set in a mythic New York City and spanning more than a century, “Winter’s Tale” is a story of miracles, crossed destinies, and the age-old battle between good and evil. The film stars Colin Farrell (“Total Recall”), Jessica Brown Findlay (TV’s “Downton Abbey”), and Oscar® winners Jennifer Connelly (“A Beautiful Mind”), William Hurt (“Kiss of the Spider Woman”), Eva Marie Saint (“On the Waterfront”) and Russell Crowe (“Gladiator”). “Winter’s Tale” also introduces young newcomers Ripley Sobo and Mckayla Twiggs (both from Broadway’s “Once”). The film marks the directorial debut of Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (“A Beautiful Mind”), who also wrote the screenplay, based on the acclaimed novel by Mark Helprin.

Lucky Bastard is a “found footage” thriller about a porn website that invites fans to have sex with porn stars. An eager young man named Dave is given a chance to have sex with the fabulous Ashley Saint, but everyone gets more than they bargained for…to gruesome results. The film is captured by the “Lucky Bastard” porn cameras for a fresh take on the “found footage” genre

In a post-zombie world, where the infected live normal lives, their retroviral drug is running out.

Paolo, an Italian tour bus driver living in Paris, has just summoned up the courage to propose marriage to his German girlfriend Greta. However, a chance encounter with a French woman on a bicycle the very next day turns Paolo's life upside down.

Based in Calcutta during its most unsettled times in the '70's, the film deals with the inseparable life of Bikram and Bala. The story of two boys, boys who became refugees. Refugees who became gun couriers. Gun couriers who became coal bandits, Coal bandits who became Calcutta's most loved, most celebrated, most reckless, most fearless, and most powerful! A story of two happy-go-lucky renegades who came to be known as... GUNDAY!

Political News This Week:

1) 'Chaos in Lok Sabha over T-Bill shows it's time for PM to go':

In a new low in India's parliamentary history, pepper spray was used in the Lok Sabha resulting in hospitalisation of three MPs following a ruckus over introduction of the Telangana bill after which 18 Seemandhra MPs were suspended.Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar expressed anguish over the incidents saying it has "shamed the country and Parliament and called it a "blot".Unprecedented pandemonium broke out in the House when expelled Congress member L Rajagopal, an industrialist and opposed to the division of Andhra Pradesh, brought a canister from which he sprayed pepper.

It is time to pack up, sir! Please resign and save the Lok Sabha's honour, an anguished Sheela Bhatt reports from the Lok Sabha press gallery after watching the shameful goings on over the tabling of the Telangana Bill.

It was the most shameful day for India's parliamentary democracy.

Lagadapati Rajagopal, the Member of Parliament from Vijayawada and one of the richest politicians in Andhra Pradesh -- with real estate holdings in Hyderabad, and the chairman of the Lanco group that has several energy projects -- sprayed pepper spray to disturb the tabling of the Telangana bill in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, February 13.

It was a complete failure on the part of the government to handle the creation of the new state that led to this horrible and violent moment in Parliament.

Just before the session began at noon, Seemandhra and Telangana MPs of the Congress and other Andhra parties were near the Speaker's chair in the well of the House.

It was a mockery of democracy that Arun Yadav, Madhya Pradesh Pradesh Congress Committee president, Raj Babbar and others were guarding the area to protect Speaker Meira Kumar and allow the government to table the Telangana bill in the House.In the ruckus, Sharad Yadav fell and some Congressmen punched Rajagopal.A Telugu Desam Party MP, M Venugopal, brandished a knife, which was why they ran out, some Congress MPs said.It was during this ruckus that Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde read out from the Telangana bill, which he inferred as the tabling of the Bill in the House, which was seconded by Law Minister Kapil Sibal.However, the Lok Sabha secretariat contradicted this, saying it was not sure if the Bill has been tabled in the House.

As soon as the Speaker arrived, Telugu Desam Party MP Jagannathan went to hit the Lok Sabha staff and tried to tear off the papers. The Congress musclemen -- I mean those MPs deployed to stop the Seemandhra MPs from obstructing the House got back at them.Kamal Nath has come under fire from the Andhra MPs over the publication of a report in the newspapers; in fact, they say, even the 'knife' in an MP's hands was a piece of a broken microphone, which the Congress is misrepresenting, they claim. The MP, Venugopal, told that he believes in parliamentary democracy and will never ever carry a knife inside the Lok Sabha. He said he was carrying a broken mike which was being dubbed as a knife by the Congress. "I am feeling shame that MPs were positioned  to do the marshalls' job," he added.  On Wednesday, the prime minister had said his heart bled to see his ministers prevent the railway minister from presenting the interim Rail Budget. Dr Singh, what will you say today?It is time to pack up, sir! Please resign and save the Lok Sabha's honour.Meanwhile, let the Congress ask questions of itself: Who disrobed Indian democracy today?Who brought the country to this situation where everybody is lying to everybody else in a game of deception, right in the well of the House? And, what for?!

2) The Modi-Powell meeting: 'Der aaye, durust aaye':

The US has taken the first step to open its channels of communications with a leader it had so far refused to engage with, at least openly. Upasna Pandey reports.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's diplomatic isolation is finally set to end on Thursday as the Americans come calling in Gandhinagar.

While US diplomats are looking to open channels of communication with the Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate, everyone seems to be on wait-and-watch mode, looking for the first smoke signals from the meeting between Modi and US Ambassador J Nancy Powell.

The Barack Obama administration has sought to describe the Modi-Powell meeting as part of a 'concerted outreach to senior political and business leaders which began in November to highlight the US-India relationship.'While the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2015 is stated to be on the agenda, the context of this meeting would be the Lok Sabha election.

Sources in the BJP say this meeting has been pending for over six weeks when the US first approached Modi's office with a request; but the meeting had to be delayed as India and Washington were entangled in a diplomatic face-off over diplomat Devyani Khobragade's arrest in New York.

Ending a decade-long diplomatic boycott on Modi, the US has finally taken a "welcome step in the right direction," says Vijay Jolly, who heads the BJP's overseas affairs department."Der aye, durust aye> (better late than never)", Jolly adds.The development comes in wake of the United Kingdom ending Modi's boycott with British High Commissioner James Bevan meeting the BJP leader last year.Former Indian ambassador to the US Lalit Mansingh believes the meeting should be seen more in the context of US "economic diplomacy."

"The motivation of this meeting can be the need for the US to strengthen business relations with India as well as the fact that there has not been any indictment of the Gujarat chief minister in cases related to the 2002 riots," Mansingh said.Others like another former ambassador to the US Naresh Chandra believe the US State Department found itself in an uncomfortable position after several members of the European Union opened up lines of communication with Modi.

"We cannot ignore the fact that it has taken about 12 years for the US to review its stance which is a fairly long time. Their position may have become simply untenable now in view of multiple reasons," Chandra felt.BJP leaders believe the influential Gujarati Diaspora in the US and their consistent efforts to connect Modi with the American political establishment played a key role in effecting the change in the US position."The US government is guided by the ground reality in India and also by the fact that Modi enjoys high popularity among the Indian community in the US," says Jolly, "more so from people who have their roots in Gujarat.";

Chandrakant Patel, president, Overseas Friends of BJP (USA), says, "We have waited a long time for this. We believe it would be good for the long-term future of India-US relations. It is good the Obama administration has finally realised that Modi is one of the most powerful Indian leaders."Then, in a matter of seconds, Rajagopal produced his pepper spray, and the Speaker, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Kamal Nath, Sushilkumar Shinde, Rahul Gandhi and others started running out of the House. The prime minister and Congress president Sonia Gandhi were not present in the House.

3) LS candidates' poll expense ceiling goes up to Rs 40 lakh:

The candidates contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha polls will now be able to spend Rs 40 lakh, an increase of Rs 15 lakh from the last poll expenditure limit.

Joint Chief Electoral Officer of West Bengal Saibal Barman said the raise was effected in 2011 and came in force for Lok Sabha by-elections ever since.

"But for the first time it will be effective in the general elections this time," Barman said.He said the contestants for Lok Sabha seats were allowed to spend Rs 25 Lakh maximum for electioneering purpose in 2009."However, different political parties are still not happy as they demanded further rise of this ceiling of poll expenditure for the coming Lok Sabha polls during a meeting with the Election Commission in Delhi in last week of January," Amit Roy Chowdhury, Officer on Special Duty, Poll Expenses, in EC office here said.

Chowdhury said the Commission is also stepping up its surveillance against poll expenses by candidates."The EC will deploy Flying Squad (FS), Static Survellance Team (SST) and Video Surveillance Team (VST), which will work under Expenditure Observers appointed by the Commission," he said.The observers would also help create an awareness against misuse of poll expenses, while a campaign would also be launched through media, he said. Speaking about the probable date for the Lok Sabha polls notifications, Barman said the election body is scheduled to hold a meeting of all CEOs in Delhi on February 20 in this regard.

"The Lok Sabha poll 2009 was notified on March 1, but we are yet to receive any indication from the Commission," Barman said, as speculation went up about notification of the Lok Sabha poll 2014 taking place by the end of this month or the first week next month."Model Code of Conduct will be in force immediately with the announcement," Chowdhury said.The CEO office is mulling over holding a meeting with all recognised political parties in the last week of February, he said.

Simultaneously, the CEO would also hold a meeting with the representatives of Media, they said.As opposition Congress and BJP has demanded deployment of central forces in West Bengal from the date of notification to create a conducive atmosphere for the Lok Sabha polls, the EC has maintained that it would depend on the availability of such forces, though all options are open.

"Elections will be held throughout the country. Such deployment will depend on the availability of central forces. But all options are open," Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi said last month after his meeting with parties."The Commission's aim is to create a situation conducive to holding the Lok Sabha poll in a free and fair manner," he had said.

4) Assam becomes first state to ban smokeless tobacco:

The sale, consumption, manufacturing, trading, storage and advertisement of all forms of smokeless tobacco including pan masala have been banned in Assam through enactment of a legislation that has come into effect from Thursday.

With this Assam became the first state in the country to legally impose ban on smokeless tobacco and its products taking note that smokeless tobacco accounts for 90 per cent of oral cancers.

Assam’s Governor Janaki Ballav Patnaik gave his assent to the Assam Health (prohibition of manufacturing, advertisement, trade, storage, distribution, sale and consumption of zarda, gutkha, pan masala, etc, containing tobacco/or nicotine) Bill 2013 on February 11 thereby converting the bill into an act with effect from February 13.

Assam Health Minister Dr Himanta Bishwa Sarma said that violation of the provisions of the act would lead to punishment with imprisonment up to seven years and fine between Rs 1 to Rs 5 lakh.

Consumption or possession of zarda, gutka and pan masala containing tobacco shall be punished with a fine of Rs 1,000 for the first offence and Rs 2,000 for each subsequent offence.

Currently, sale, manufacture and storage of pan masala and gutka containing tobacco and nicotine have been banned in Assam and 27 others states in the country for a year since March 8, 2013 under the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulations, 2011.

However, Assam is the first state to ban the sale of tobacco by enacting a legislation.

The states where sale, manufacture and storage of pan masala and gutka containing tobacco and nicotine are banned by enforcement of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions of Sales) Regulations 2011, are Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Chandigarh, Chattishgarh, Jharkhand, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Nagaland, Andaman & Nicobar, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Sikkim, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

5) How Hindus for once used the legal system well:

The discussion on social media and in the mainstream media about Wendy Doniger and her book The Hindus: An Alternative History has tended to focus on a single issue: Whether Doniger's freedom of expression had been violated when her publisher, Penguin India, decided to withdraw the book from circulation (only in India).

Of course, the book remains available on shelves outside India, and also in e-book form on the Internet, so anyone in India who wants to access it can feel free to use those channels.There is an intriguing question as to what 'Freedom of expression' a non-Indian is entitled to in India. Not being a lawyer, I don't know, but an educated guess is that, in fact, a foreigner is entitled to no such freedom as an explicit guarantee in the Constitution or the criminal or civil codes; however, that there are commonly accepted guidelines that most nations (except authoritarian ones) may follow in the spirit of reciprocity.These may mean that, in practice, a foreigner gets as much freedom of speech as a citizen. But we will leave that question aside for the moment.

The point I wish to emphasise, though, is that there is much disinformation and misinformation floating about, especially in the heat of debate, about what happened. It may be better to consider what did not happen: The book was NOT banned. There were NO book burnings. There were NO riots. The author was NOT sent death threats. In fact, there was none of the fanfare or theatrics that usually accompanies censorship.

On the contrary, the plaintiffs pursued due process. They went to court. I wish to emphasise that: They went to court, and following a truly democratic protest mechanism, filed a suit claiming (among other things) that they were offended, and their religious sentiments were hurt.The court considered the suit, but before it could announce a verdict, the parties came to a peaceful, negotiated, out of court settlement. I believe the word you are searching for is 'civilised'.So whose rights were violated? The defendants -- the author and the publisher -- could (and probably did) hire the most outstanding lawyer they could afford, and they argue their case based on Indian law.

The plaintiffs could (and probably did) argue their case. The defendants could have waited for the court to give its verdict (which may well have favoured them). But they did not, and settled out of court. They may have thought they would lose the case. Or they may have felt there was commercial value in withdrawing the book and pulping unsold copies. And so they did.So where is the compulsion? Isn't this the free market, and democratic protest?I will not dwell on this, but there have been other cases in India where the clarion call 'Freedom of expression in danger' was heard (or in some cases, not). There were also riots, death threats, physical assaults, book burnings, and all sorts of other dramatic effects. But in this case, there was none. Isn't that a remarkable achievement?

The problem with Wendy’s writings is her unapologetic and rather na├»ve obsession with psychosexual analysis of Hindu gods. Shiva becomes an erotic ascetic, Ram becomes sexually jealous. I can see how this can upset an average Hindu, most of whom are totally unfamiliar with India’s scriptures. We are not even comfortable with the heterosexual images on temple walls. Discomfort can turn to rage when American universities start promoting Wendy’s speculations as ‘the’ truth, rather than ‘a’ truth, one that may not necessarily align with popular beliefs on the ground.

6) Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal takes on Mukesh Ambani over gas pricing:

 In a sudden move that has jolted the political and business establishments, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government on Tuesday directed its anti-corruption branch to file an FIR against oil minister Veerappa Moily, former oil minister Murli Deora, Reliance Industries Ltd boss Mukesh Ambani and the former director-general hydrocarbons V K Sibal under the Prevention of Corruption Act for hatching a "conspiracy" to double gas prices in order to benefit, in the main, RILIn a brief press conference in the morning, the Delhi CM announced this while describing the details mentioned in a complaint received by the Delhi government as "shocking" and "an assault on India's economic sovereignty which amounted to anti-national activity". He demanded that the central government should put price hike of gas in abeyance till the time the probe into the matter is completed.

"We have always said that price rise and inflation are linked to corruption and this is an example. In case this price hike is allowed to take place, it will make the life of the common man miserable," Kejriwal said.

The Delhi government's intervention in this case, against which a PIL is still pending in Supreme Court, raised eyebrows with experts questioning the local government's jurisdiction over this case.

Kejriwal claimed as the "offense" had taken place in the jurisdiction of Delhi it was well within the Delhi government's powers to proceed against it.

The decision to order a probe, said Kejriwal, was taken after it received a complaint filed by former cabinet secretary T S R Subramaniam, former Navy chief R H Tahiliani, former expenditure secretary E A S Sarma and Supreme Court lawyer Kamini Jaiswal.The complaint pointed out that gas prices would be doubled from April 1 due to the alleged "active collusion" between RIL and some central ministers. In case this price hike is allowed, it would have a cascading effect on transport, domestic gas and electricity prices, thus affecting the common man.Kejriwal claimed the impact of the hike would cost the country a minimum of Rs 54,500 crore every year, and in addition to this, he said, the central government had allowed RIL to make a future windfall profit of Rs 1.2 lakh crore by gold-plating its project.

 Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took his anti-graft campaign to new heights on Tuesday, ordering an investigation into India's richest man, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, and policymakers over gas pricing.Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won the Delhi election in December with promises to fight corruption and to tackle high utility prices.The investigation being opened is the latest salvo against the tycoon over natural gas produced from the Reliance-operated D6 block on the east coast.

Kejriwal said Ambani's company had created an artificial shortage to "blackmail" the government to set higher prices."We believe that high prices are being caused by corruption," Kejriwal told a news conference, speaking in Hindi.In a statement, Reliance called the allegations "baseless" and said it could take legal action in response.

Reliance has long maintained geological complexities have pushed production lower. The country's upstream regulator believes the company failed to drill the number of wells approved in the development plan."The complaint and each of the allegations on the basis of which the Delhi Government has taken such action are completely baseless and devoid of any merit or substance whatsoever," Reliance said.Reliance shares fell 2 percent in a flat Mumbai market.Kejriwal's attack plays into a heated political atmosphere, with a general election due by May.Leading a party formed just a year earlier, Kejriwal's victory in Delhi stunned the ruling Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).The BJP is ahead in opinion polls as the public grows disillusioned with Congress, which leads the ruling coalition, over a series of corruption scandals and a slowing economy. Although it is unlikely to win, AAP could draw votes away from both parties.

Reliance had agreed to supply gas to utility NTPC Ltd(NTPC.NS) at about $2.3 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) for about 17 years. But the price of gas from D6 was fixed at $4.2 per mmBtu in 2007 when Murli Deora was oil minister, in the Congress-led government.Last year, after Veerappa Moily took over as oil minister, the federal government decided to move to market-linked pricing, which could double local gas prices from April 1 this year.

"Today we have instructed the anti-corruption branch to file a criminal case against Murli Deora, FIRs (investigations) against Veerappa Moily, V.K. Sibal, the (then) director general of hydrocarbons, Reliance Industries Ltd Chairman Mukesh Ambani and others," Kejriwal told the news conference.An FIR, or first information report, is the first stage of an official investigation into a complaint. Kejriwal said he had acted after receiving four complaints.He said he would ask the federal government to suspend any order to raise gas prices until the issue was resolved."The wells belong to us. If Reliance and Mukesh are not producing gas in order to create an artificial scarcity, then the government should look at giving these wells to the (state-run exploration company) ONGC and some other entity which can operate them and produce gas," he said.

Ambani is the richest man among India's ranks of billionaires, with an empire that ranges from energy to mobile phones and media. Last year, he was given security cover by the government following threats against his life.

The D6 block was expected to contribute up to 25 percent of gas for Asia's third-largest economy but its lower-than-expected output has left the energy-hungry nation more dependent on expensive, imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) to fuel power and fertiliser plants.Oil Minister Moily, asked for his reaction, said he had taken a special interest to ensure that gas prices were reduced."It is not the question of Mukesh or Deora or anybody," he said, speaking on television. There was a system for fixing prices and nothing was done without expert advice, he said.

7) Bollywood starlet dares to bare for Modi:

Item girl Meghna Patel goes all out to show her support for BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi

This starlet wants to spend V-Day with Rahul:

Southern starlet Tanisha Singh has surely taken Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s message of women empowerment in the most frivolous fashion, to say the least.

8) Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal resigns, recommends assembly dissolution, fresh elections:

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal resigned tonight after suffering a defeat in the assembly on the Jan Lokpal Bill and in a political gamble he recommended dissolution of the assembly and holding of fresh polls,Bringing to an end a 49-day roller coaster ride in power, during which he received bouquets and brickbats in equqal measure, the Chief Minister and his cabinet met for one last time when it decided to resign and make the recommendation to Lt Governor Najeeb Jung whose advice against the anti-graft Bill he had defied in the assembly.The two shared a good equation all along but today he attacked Jung, saying he acts like a viceroy of the central government which thinks it is still a British Government. Earlier in the day, Jung had advised the Assembly against transacting the Jan Lokpal Bill which he said should have prior clearance of central government.

Straight from the cabinet meeting, 45-year-old Kejriwal, who came to power riding tghe crest of an anti-graft movement and was called an anarchist for his street protest as CM, drove to the AAP headquarters in Central Delhi, three kilometres away from the Secretariat and addressed his supporters in pouring rain when he announced his resignation.
"The Cabinet has decided to resign. We have recommended to the Lt Governor to dissolve the assembly and hold fresh elections," he told a cheering audience wearing AAP's trademark cap which welcomed his speech with a thunderous clapping.Launching a blistering attack on Congress, on whose support he came to power, and the BJP accusing them of"colluding" with Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani to bring down the government two days after he filed an FIR against him on the gas pricing issue.
"The real face of BJP and Congress has been exposed. They did not allow the Bill (Janlokpal) to be introduced in the House. They defeated the Bill because three days back because we lodged an FIR against Mukesh Ambani," he said.Kejriwal said Ambani was running the Congress government for the last 10 years, saying "Congress is his shop and he can buy anything whenever he wants".

Sports News This Week:

1) Dhoni snubs media as India prepare for series decider against New Zealand:

 India cricket officials shut down any questions about a fixing scandal ahead of the series-deciding second test against New Zealand with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni a no show for the traditional captain's pre-match media conference on Thursday.A committee set up by the Supreme Court on Sunday found Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of the country's cricket board chief and an official of the Chennai franchise of the Indian Premier League (IPL), guilty of illegal betting during last season's Twenty20 competition.
The scandal surfaced last year when former test bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and two other local cricketers were arrested on suspicion of taking money to concede a fixed number of runs.With India 1-0 down and facing their first series loss to New Zealand since 2002, Dhoni, who plays for the IPL's Chennai team, was expected to attend the news conference by the local and travelling Indian press contingent.

He was instead replaced by opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan for the team's only media conference ahead of the match at Wellington's Basin Reserve.
A team official also refused to allow any questioning on matters other than the test and when one reporter tried to ask how the team had prepared for the match with reports of the IPL scandal swirling in India, he refused to allow Dhawan to answer and shut down the conference shortly afterwards.New Zealand won the first test in Auckland by 40 runs last Sunday though Dhawan said his side had drawn confidence from their bowlers' third innings performance and better batting in the fourth innings of the match.Pacemen Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan ripped through New Zealand's second innings, dismissing the hosts for 105 before India's batsmen, led by Dhawan's second test century, had pushed them to the brink of a remarkable victory."The last test match, we fought back really nicely and that second innings we batted really nicely," Dhawan said."There are lots of positives to take from the last test match, so it is helping build our confidence."We have got very good fast bowlers. Hopefully they can repeat that (performance) and get them out for a low score."We are confident and looking forward to the match."

New Zealand enter the match riding high, having won their previous three tests, which started with an innings and 73-run rout of West Indies on a green Basin Reserve wicket last December."It looks bit greener than what we had against West Indies," New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said of the current wicket being prepared for the match.
"It looks a bit harder as well. Hopefully with a bit of pace and bounce and some sideways (movement) too."Although what worked for us best against West Indies was the ability to swing it in the air."Hopefully we will be able to generate that swing and that will be key for us."New Zealand enter the match with two debutants in batsman Tom Latham and all-rounder Jimmy Neesham having started the last three test matches with an unchanged lineup.Latham has replaced Ross Taylor, who has been released due to the impending birth of his second child, while Neesham has replaced leg spinner Ish Sodhi because of the pitch conditions.

Neesham is more known for his batting than his bowling but with three front-line pace bowlers in Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner, McCullum has the option of two medium-fast bowlers in Corey Anderson and Neesham and he said he wanted to attack no matter what the match situation.McCullum has already said he would bowl if he won the toss, something he has been unable to do in six successive games against Dhoni, and the New Zealand captain jokingly believes he may call incorrectly again on Friday.
"Yeah it is likely to go against me," a laughing McCullum said. "We would obviously look at bowling if we win the toss."We will play to our strengths and with a bit of luck we can generate some pace and bounce on this wicket."Despite McCullum's bad luck at the toss, New Zealand have managed to recover from horrendous starts in their first batting innings, battling back to post scores of 441, 349 and 503 in their last three matches.

2) China's Li wins crash-filled 500 Olympic final:

 In the slippery world of short track, China kept its grip solidly on the Olympic gold medal.Li Jianrou extended her country's dominance in the women's 500 meters Thursday, winning its fourth consecutive title after she was the only skater who didn't fall in the wild final.Three-time defending champion Wang Meng of China missed the Olympics after breaking her ankle last month. Li had little experience in the wild and woolly sprint, where getting off to a quick start is important. But she kept her cool while everyone else was falling around her."I feel very lucky," Li said through a translator.She and one of her coaches cried tears of joy after China joined South Korea as the only countries to win the same short track event four Olympics in a row. The Koreans won the 3,000 relay in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006.

"I cried because I was so excited," Li said. "My coach told me this medal is for Wang Meng as well, so I felt very moved."Li's victory made up for the surprising fall of teammate Fan Kexin in the semifinals.Arianna Fontana of Italy took the silver and Park Seung-hi of South Korea earned the bronze.Elise Christie of Britain caused the crash in the second turn of the opening lap when she veered into Fontana and sent both skaters spinning into the pads."I saw Elise come in and thought I'd stop her, but she kept going," Fontana said. "This is short track, so that's what happens. When I was falling I was so sad, then I saw the Korean girl fell and I thought I could still get something so I got up as quickly as I could. I got my silver medal, but for me it's gold."Park got clipped and lost her balance going into the next turn. She fell into the sideboard, but got up and resumed skating. Li was closely trailing in last place when the chaos erupted. She took over the lead and went on to victory."I had more speed so I tried to stay out of reach of the fourth-place skater (Li)," Christie said. "I tried to pass and got bumped by the girl on the outside (Fontana)."Park came across the line in last place, but Christie got disqualified, allowing Park to claim the bronze.In the semis, Fan didn't even complete the first lap of the sprint, catching her left blade as she skated near the front. She crashed on all fours into the crew of workers who maintain the ice between races. They scrambled onto the top of the pads to avoid being injured by Fan's long, sharp blades.

Christie was lucky to be in the 500 final, surviving a photo finish to advance to the medal round after Fan's crash.Park was trying to give South Korea a victory in the only short track event it has never won."It is such a great disappointment," Park said through a translator. "But it is also part of my destiny. I have to accept it."It was a tough day at the rink for the South Koreans. The men's team had a call go against them in the 5,000 relay semifinals after a crash involving Lee Ho-suk and American Eddy Alvarez.
"The boys were not lucky," Park said. "I was not lucky either."The referees advanced the U.S. team of Alvarez, J.R. Celski, Chris Creveling and Jordan Malone into the A final while the South Koreans were relegated to the B final.Lee was leading on the outside late in the race with his left hand down on the ice when it clipped Alvarez's right skate. That sent Alvarez and Lee sliding into the pads."He slipped on his right and sat real deeply on his left, sticking his left arm out," Alvarez said. "It just so happened as I was crossing through, we collided. My hand and his skate. It didn't allow me to come through."I was going for the pass. I was coming with more speed. I'm glad the refs caught that."There's a history of bad blood between the South Koreans and the U.S. dating to the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. They believed Apolo Anton Ohno stole the gold from Kim Dong-sung, who finished first in the 1,500 meters but was disqualified for blocking. The animosity toward Ohno grew so heated that the entire American short-track team withdrew from a World Cup event held in South Korea in 2003, citing death threats against Ohno.

But Sin Da-woon wasn't blaming the Americans after this latest tangle."We moved into them," he said. "It wasn't the Americans' fault. There was a mix-up in the signs. If we were clear with the signals then we could have avoided this. It's a pity we couldn't advance."The U.S. waited anxiously while the referees sorted out the chaos.
"The moments between the fall and the call, there's a lot of doubt," Celski said. "Just disbelief that we didn't make it to the final. But our coach looked fairly confident."
Viktor Ahn led his adopted country of Russia into the relay final, which will feature five teams because of the U.S. getting in. The Netherlands, Kazakhstan and China also made the final.In a surprise, Canada fell in its 5,000 semi and didn't make the final. The team of Michael Gilday, Charles and Francois Hamelin, and Olivier Jean had been a strong medal contender.In the men's 1,000 heats, Ahn, 1,500 gold medalist Charles Hamelin of Canada and Celski of Federal Way, Wash., advanced to Thursday's quarterfinals.
Ahn led all the way in his heat, provoking the loudest cheers from the home fans. Ahn gave his adopted country its first short track medal when he earned a bronze Monday in the 1,500. Sin Da-woon of South Korea, which Ahn represented in the 2002 and 2006 Olympics, won a photo finish for second in the same heat.
Celski won his heat by a large margin.Hamelin, the world's top-ranked skater in the event, is trying to become the third skater to sweep the 1,000 and 1,500 at the same Olympics.

3) US crushes Slovakia 7-1 in men's Olympic hockey:

With just one game to prepare for its Olympic showdown with Russia, the United States men's hockey team decided to cram an entire tournament's worth of hard work and highlights into one spectacular opener.Paul Stastny scored twice during a six-goal barrage in the second period, and the Americans got off to a roaring start in Sochi with a 7-1 victory over Slovakia in preliminary-round play Thursday.Ryan Kesler, David Backes, Phil Kessel and Dustin Brown also scored as the U.S. battered Slovakia for six consecutive goals in a 13:51 span, turning what was expected to be a tough matchup into a laugher with their relentless offense."I guess you never really expect to beat a team like that 7-1, and you never do it in a tournament like this," captain Zach Parise said. "We just capitalized on the chances we had, moved the puck well and used our speed."Although their goal celebrations declined from elation to excitement to sheepishness while the score skyrocketed, the Americans answered any lingering questions about their offensive abilities and their aptitude on the big Olympic ice by decimating a Slovak roster studded with NHL players."You have to do a lot of skating out there on the big ice, but I think we handled it all right," said Kessel, who led the U.S. with two goals and an assist.Jonathan Quick made 22 saves in his Olympic debut for the U.S., which hopes to improve on its silver-medal finish in Vancouver despite a roster that isn't thought to have the offensive power of Canada, Russia or Sweden.

In their only warmup for Saturday's game against Alex Ovechkin and the host Russians, the Americans had more than enough potency to leave Slovakia's two goalies battered."For the first time on the big ice for most of us, I thought we did pretty well," Stastny said. "Our strengths are our puck possession and our speed, and we were really able to use both of them. All four lines just kind of clicked, and so did our D-men."Jaroslav Halak stopped 20 shots before getting pulled when Stastny tipped home Kevin Shattenkirk's pass to put the Americans up 5-1 with their fourth goal in 12:04. Peter Budaj replaced Halak, but Kessel and Brown piled on goals in the next 1:47.

Tomas Tatar scored for Slovakia, which traveled to Sochi without high-scoring Marian Gaborik and veteran defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky due to injury. Nobody anticipated such a defensive collapse by a talented roster anchored by Stanley Cup-winning defenseman Zdeno Chara.Slovakia's last two Olympic appearances have been humiliations: The Slovaks blew a third-period lead and lost to Finland in the bronze medal game in Vancouver, depriving them of their nation's first Olympic hockey medals."We're going to be better," said Tatar, the Detroit Red Wings' young forward. "We had a solid first period and then tied it. We've just got to play way better in our defensive zone. I think we're going to be ready to play the next game. We have a lot of talent in our locker room, and we're going to sort it out."

John Carlson opened the scoring for the U.S. in the first period, and Tatar tied it with a nasty wrist shot in the opening minute of the second. Kesler put the Americans back ahead 1:02 later with a one-timer through Brown's screen, and Stastny scored 1:06 later on a fat rebound of Max Pacioretty's shot.The hits just kept coming, and the U.S. didn't let up until Brown redirected Carlson's pass to make it 7-1, sending the once-boisterous Slovak crowd into frustrated silence at Shayba Arena.
Patrick Kane, T.J. Oshie and James van Riemsdyk added two assists apiece, with the speedy Kane looking particularly comfortable on the wide Olympic ice.
The U.S. had lost to Slovakia in each of the teams' two previous Olympic meetings, giving the game special meaning to Stastny. The two-time U.S. Olympian has a famous Slovak father: Hall of Famer Peter Stastny played extensively for the Czechoslovakian and Slovak national teams alongside his lengthy NHL career.
"It was good to finally get it on the third try," Stastny said.The Americans' scoring outburst made their goaltending situation seem secondary for a day, but Quick still handled the Slovaks' chances well. U.S. coach Dan Bylsma waited until Wednesday to choose Quick for the first start over Ryan Miller, who backstopped the Americans to silver medals in Vancouver while winning the tournament MVP award.

4) IPL 2014 Auctions : Full squad of Kings XI Punjab:

The Kings XI Punjab had retained 2 players and went on to buy 21 more at the player auctions to assemble a 23-man squad for IPL 2014.
The Kings XI were still left with 4.1 crores of their 60 crore purse when the auctions ended. Here is the full squad.The Kings XI Punjab had retained 2 players and went on to buy 21 more at the player auctions to assemble a 23-man squad for IPL 2014.

The Kings XI were still left with 4.1 crores of their 60 crore purse when the auctions ended. Here is the full squad.
IPL 7 auction: Karn Sharma, Rishi Dhawan are uncapped ‘crorepatis’ as teams apply final touches

Final list:

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Muralitharan (1 Crore), Rampaul (0.90 Crore), Dinda (1.5 Crore), Starc (5 Crore), Yuvraj (14 Crore), Morkel (2.4 Crore), Parthiv (1.4 Crore), Nic Maddinson (0.5 Crore), Varun Aaron (2 Crore), Harshal Patel (0.4 Crore), Vijay Zol (0.3 Crore), Abu Nechim Ahmed (0.3 Crore), Sachin Rana (0.2 Crore), Shadab Jakati (0.2 Crore), Sandeep Warrier (0.1 Crore), Tanmay Mishra (0.1 Crore), Yuzvendra Singh Chahal (0.1 Crore), Yogesh Takawale (0.2 Crore)

Kolkata Knight Riders: Vinay (2.8 Crore), Y Pathan (3.25 Crore), Kallis (5.5 Crore), P Chawla (4.25 Crore), M Morkel (2.8 Crore), Shakib (2.8 Crore), Umesh (2.6 Crore), Uthappa (5 Crore), Debabrata Das (0.2 Crore), Manish Pandey (1.7 Crore), Chris Lynn (1.3 Crore), Patrick Cummins (1 Crore), Ryan Ten Doeschate (1 Crore), Suryakumar Yadav (0.7 Crore), Andre Russell (0.6 Crore), Manvinder Bisla (0.6 Crore), Veer Pratap Singh (0.4 Crore), Kuldeep Singh Yadav (0.4 Crore), Sayan Sekhar Mandal (0.1 Crore)

Kings XI Punjab: Shaun Marsh (2.2 Crore), Johnson (6.5 Crore), Pujara (1.9 Crore), Bailey (3.25 Crore), Perera (1.6 Crore), Saha (2.2 Crore), Sehwag (3.2 Crore), Maxwell (6 Crore), Balaji (1.8 Crore), Awana (0.65 Lakh), Rishi Dhawan (3 crore), Beuran Hendricks (1.8 crore), Gurkirat Singh Mann (1.3 crore), Murali Kartik (1 crore), Sandeep Sharma (0.8 Crore), Mandeep Hardev Singh (0.8 Crore), Akshar Rajesh Patel (0.75 Crore), Shardul Narendra Thakur (0.2 Crore), Anureet Singh (0.2 Crore), Shivam Sharma (0.1 Crore), Karanveer Singh (0.1 Crore)

Chennai Super Kings: McCullum (3.25 Crore), Dwayne Smith (4.5 Crore), Faf du Plessis (4.75 Crore), Nehra (2 Crore), Mohit (2 Crore), Samuel Badree (0.3 Crore), Hilfenhaus (1 Crore), Matt Henry (0.3 Crore), Ishwar Chandra Pandey (1.5 crore), John Hastings (0.5 Crore), Mithun Manhas (0.3 Crore), Vijay Shankar (0.1 Crore), Ronit More (0.1 Crore), Baba Aparajith (0.1 Crore), Pawan Negi (0.1 Crore)

Delhi Daredevils: Duminy (2.2 Crore), Tiwary (2.8 Crore), Murali Vijay (5 Crore), Rahul Sharma (1.9 Crore), de Kock (3.5 Crore), Shami (4.25 Crore), Pietersen (9 Crore), Karthik (12.5 Crore), S Tiwary (0.70 Crore), LR Shukla (1.5 Crore), Coulter-Nile (4.25 Crore), Unadkat (2.8 Crore), James Neesham (1 Crore), Ross Taylor (2 crore), Kedar Jadhav (2 crore), Mayank Agarwal (1.6 crore), Wayne Parnell (1 crore), Shahbaz Nadeem (0.85 Crore), Siddarth Kaul (0.45 Crore), Rahul Shukla (0.4 Crore), HS Sharath (0.1 Crore), Milind Kumar (0.1 Crore), Jayant Yadav (0.1 Crore)

Rajasthan Royals: Steve Smith (4 Crore), Brad Hodge (2.4 Crore), Abhishek Nayar (1 Crore), Ben Cutting (0.8 Crore), Kane Richardson (1 Crore), Southee (1.2 Crore), Rajat Bhatia (1.7 Crore), Dhawal Kulkarni (1.1 Crore), Karun Nair (0.75 Crore), Unmukt Chand (0.65 Crore), Iqbal Abdullah (0.65 Crore), Deepak Hooda (0.4 Crore), Dishant Yagnik (0.3 Crore), Kevon Cooper (0.3 Crore), Vikramjeet Malik (0.2 Crore), Ankit Nagendra Sharma (0.1 Crore), Rahul Tewatia (0.1 Crore), Ankush Bains (0.1 Crore), Amit Mishra (0.1 Crore), Pravin Tambe (0.1 Crore)

Mumbai Indians: Ojha (3.25 Crore), Hussey (5 Crore), Z Khan (2.6 Crore), Corey Anderson (4.5 Crore), Hazlewood (0.5 Crore), Aditya Tare (1.6 Crore), Jasprit Bumrah (1.2 crore), Jalaj Saxena (0.9 Crore), Marchant De Lange (0.3 Crore), Krismar Santokie (0.3 Crore), CM Gautam (0.2 Crore), Apoorv Vijay Wankhade (0.1 Crore), Sushant Marathe (0.1 Crore), Shreyas Gopal (0.1 Crore), Ben Dunk (0.2 Crore), Pawan Suyal (0.1 Crore)

Sunrisers Hyderabad: I Pathan (2.4 Crore), Amit Mishra (4.75 Crore), Finch (4 Crore), Sammy (3.5 Crore), Warner (5.5 Crore), Ishant (2.6 Crore), B Kumar (4.25 Crore), B Taylor (0.30 Crore), Henriques (1 Crore), Venugopal Rao (0.55 Crore), Holder (0.75 Crore), Karn Sharma (3.75 Crore), KL Rahul (1 Crore), Parveez Rasool (0.95 Crore), Naman Ojha (0.5 Crore), Prasanth Parameswaran (0.3 Crore), Amit Paunikar (0.2 Crore), Ashish Reddy (0.2 Crore), Srikkanth Anirudha (0.2 Crore), Ricky Bhui (0.1 Crore), Chama Milind (0.1 Crore), Manprit Juneja (0.1 Crore)

5) Liverpool surge towards title, Manchester United deny Arsenal top spot:

Liverpool’s surge towards a first league title since 1990 continued on Wednesday when they beat Fulham 3-2 with a last-minute penalty while Arsenal’s challenge took a knock after a 0-0 home draw against Manchester United.The most open Premier League championship race for years continued on a wild and windy night across Britain, leaving Chelsea top, just seven points ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur who chalked up a superb 4-0 win at Newcastle United.The other match that survived the weather ended in a 1-1 draw between Stoke City and Swansea City at the Britannia Stadium, a result that left both sides mired in the equally tight battle to avoid the drop that has 11 teams in its grip.

The storms caused Manchester City’s game against Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium and Everton’s match at Goodison Park against Crystal Palace to be postponed because of dangerously high winds.After drawing 1-1 at West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday, Chelsea lead the way with 57 points, one in front of Arsenal with 12 matches to play.
Manchester City are third on 54 with a game in hand on the top two, followed by Liverpool on 53 and Spurs on 50.Everton, who also have a game in hand, are sixth on 45 points, three clear of United who have won just two of their last seven league matches.The most dramatic game of the night was played at Craven Cottage where bottom-of-the-table Fulham, who forced a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford on Sunday, twice led against Liverpool who were heavily fancied to win following their 5-1 demolition of Arsenal on Saturday.It was Fulham who took the lead when defender Kolo Toure, guilty of a terrible error that cost Liverpool victory at West Brom earlier this month, sliced the ball into his own net after eight minutes.Daniel Sturridge equalised, scoring for the eighth successive match, four minutes before the break before Fulham stunned the visitors by going ahead again through Kieran Richardson.Brendan Rodgers’s side equalised for a second time when Philippe Coutinho found the net from 20 metres in the 72nd minute.
Sascha Reither then brought down Sturridge in stoppage time and skipper Steven Gerrard scored from the penalty spot.“Gerrard’s peerless in situations like that,” Rodgers told reporters. “He showed brilliant composure.“We had to show the character in our team tonight coming from behind twice. This team has not just grown technically in the way of our work but we’re showing great characteristics mentally.”Arsenal and United needed victories following their setbacks at the weekend but, despite chances at both ends, neither could find a goal.United should have taken the lead in the second minute when former Gunner Robin van Persie, booed by the home fans every time he touched the ball, fired straight at goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny after Mikel Arteta gave the ball away.Laurent Koscielny’s bullet header was then cleared off the line by United’s Antonio Valencia in the second half while Arsenal should have had a penalty when Nemanja Vidic pushed Olivier Giroud off balance with an elbow in his back.
The home fans booed Arsenal, who face tough matches against Liverpool in the FA Cup and Bayern Munich in the Champions League in the next week, off at the end.
“It’s absolutely open for any of the leading teams now,” said manager Arsene Wenger.

Spurs are unlikely to win the title but they crushed a poor Newcastle team to record their sixth victory from their last seven away matches.The Londoners have also won seven of the 10 league games they have played since Tim Sherwood succeeded Andre Villas-Boas as manager in December.Emmanuel Adebayor, shunned by Villas-Boas, scored twice on Wednesday to take his tally to nine goals in 12 matches in all competitions since being recalled.Paulinho was also on target while Nacer Chadli’s 88th-minute strike that curled past Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul was a contender for goal of the season.

Book of This Week:

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History : Author: Elizabeth Kolbert:

A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes

Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In The Sixth Extinction, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.

Elizabeth Kolbert

Journalist ,Elizabeth Kolbert is an American journalist and author. She is best known for her 2006 book Field Notes from a Catastrophe, and as an observer and commentator on environmentalism for The New Yorker magazine.

Born: 1961, The Bronx, New York City, New York, United States
Education: Yale University
Books: Field Notes from a Catastrophe, The Prophet of Love

Awards: Lannan Literary Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship for Natural Sciences, US & Canada

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