Science News This Week:
1) Big space rock makes an impact on Mars:
Orbiting spacecraft snaps image of huge crater and blast marks. Sometime between July 2010 and May 2012, a really big space rock slammed into Mars. An image of the resulting crater, released February 5 by NASA, shows a scar about 30 meters across.
Impacts aren’t uncommon on the Red Planet, which gets hit by more than 200 asteroids or comets each year. But few crashes leave such visible scars as the one shown above.
The photograph was taken November 19, 2013, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Based on the blue and black blast zone that appears to explode from the crater, astronomers estimate that the impact threw material as far as 15 kilometers.
2) Vitamin C could give chemo a boost:
Injected into mice, the supplement helped anticancer drugs shrink tumors .Vitamin C might complement chemotherapy as a cancer treatment. Very high doses of the vitamin injected into mice attacked tumors and showed signs of working in synergy with chemotherapy drugs. Separately, in an early-stage safety trial, 13 women with ovarian cancer given chemotherapy plus high-dose infusions of vitamin C experienced less toxicity from chemo than did women not getting the vitamin.
The idea dates back at least to 1976, when chemist Linus Pauling reported that high doses of intravenous vitamin C given in addition to standard treatment to patients with advanced cancer seemed to increase their survival time. But three years later, Pauling’s findings were countered by a Mayo Clinic study showing that vitamin C, taken orally and at lower doses, had no effect on cancer patients. While some doctors have continued to use it against cancer, vitamin C fell out of favor and evidence of its effectiveness against cancer is still lacking.
3) Rivers of rock and gas froze ancient animals in time:
Well-preserved Cretaceous fossils buried in Chinese formations by pyroclastic flows.The Yixian and Jiufotang fossil beds of northeastern China have yielded such treasures as the first beaked bird skeleton and impressions of soft tissues, hair and feathers from prehistoric mammals and reptiles. Now, evidence suggests that pyroclastic flows — high-speed rivers of rock and gas —buried these ancient creatures and left them well preserved for 120 million years.
How the early Cretaceous creatures settled on ancient lake bottoms and became mixed with volcanic debris has been a mystery. Scientists had speculated that the animals’ corpses were flushed into lakes by rivers and then covered with ash, or that a massive volcanic eruption suffocated birds mid-flight.
But tiny mineral grains mixed among the fossils suggest pyroclastic flows, a team led by Baoyu Jiang of Nanjing University in China writes February 4 in Nature Communications. In addition, many skeletons assume a bent-limb posture typical for creatures entombed by sudden volcanic outpourings. The bones also show cracks that resemble those on human skeletons at Pompeii, which were buried after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
4) Monkeys born with edited genes:
DNA-snipping technique inspired by bacteria shows therapeutic promise The birth of two monkeys in China provides hope that a new type of gene therapy may one day help correct genetic defects in people.The two cynomolgus monkeys, also known as crab-eating macaques, are the first primates to have their genes precisely edited using a gene-snipping tool borrowed from bacteria, a team of Chinese scientists reports January 30 in Cell. The work is part of an effort to genetically engineer monkeys to produce mutations like those seen in human diseases, especially ones involving the brain.Other researchers have inserted foreign genes into primates (SN: 6/20/09, p. 13), but until now, no one has succeeded in altering the animals’ own genes, says Guoping Feng, a neurobiologist at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT who was not involved in the work.
To alter the monkeys’ genes, Jiahao Sha of Nanjing Medical University and his colleagues wielded molecular scissors first discovered in bacteria. The scissors are a DNA-cutting enzyme called Cas9. In bacteria, Cas9 is part of a primitive “immune system” — known as CRISPRs — that defends against viruses by chopping up ones that the bacteria have encountered before and recognize as threats.The technique has been used to edit the genes of human cells growing in laboratory dishes and in rats, mice and other laboratory organisms, but never before in a living primate.Sha, along with Xingxu Huang of Nanjing University and Weizhi Ji of the Yunnan Key Laboratory of Primate Biomedical Research and Kunming Biomed International, injected mRNA used to produce Cas9 into single-celled monkey embryos. At the same time, the researchers inserted other small RNA molecules that would guide the enzyme to three genes the scientists wanted to disrupt. Once the enzyme reached the genes, it would snip the DNA, leaving the cell to attempt a repair. In some cases, the cell would be unable to repair the break correctly, leading to disruption of the gene’s activity.
Researchers hope to use the technique to disrupt genes linked to human diseases so they can study how the disease develops and test treatments. For this study, the researchers chose three genes to disrupt: NrOb1, which is involved in keeping embryonic stem cells flexible and for determining sex; Ppar-gamma, which helps regulate metabolism; and Rag1, an immune system gene.The researchers found that two of the three targeted genes had been simultaneously altered in eight of 15 injected embryos. Those eight embryos were transplanted into surrogate mothers. The researchers delivered the first two female babies, named Mingming and Ningning, from one of the surrogate moms on November 11, 2013. Both infants carry disrupted Ppar-gamma and Rag1 genes. Two of the other surrogates miscarried, and the researchers said in an e-mail that they are awaiting the birth of the remaining baby monkeys.Only the targeted genes were disrupted, the researchers reported. That fact is encouraging, says Jennifer Doudna, a biochemist and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the University of California, Berkeley who is a pioneer of CRISPR techniques. It suggests that CRISPRs could be used to repair some human genes without inadvertently damaging others.Feng agrees that the work suggests gene editing might one day fix some genetic defects in people by snipping out and replacing mutated DNA. “If you can put a mutation in, this suggests you can take a mutation out,” he said.There are still problems to solve before the technology could ever be used in people, and even hurdles to using gene-edited monkeys as stand-ins for humans, he said. The technique was not as efficient as the researchers had hoped; they failed to disrupt one of the three targeted genes.Another pitfall: Even though the researchers injected embryos at the single cell stage, the enzyme didn’t start snipping until the cells had divided, making the monkeys into mishmashes of cells with different mutations, and leaving some cells unaltered. Such mixed-up monkeys would confuse studies of any diseases they might be designed to mimic, so the researchers would need to wait years until the monkeys could breed and produce offspring with just one type of mutation in all their cells.
5) Early universe 'warmed up' later than previously believed: Research suggests a way to detect the earliest black holes:
A new study reveals that black holes, formed from the first stars in our universe, heated the gas throughout space later than previously thought. They also imprinted a clear signature in radio waves which astronomers can now search for. The study is a major new finding about the origins of the universe. new study from Tel Aviv University reveals that black holes, formed from the first stars in our universe, heated the gas throughout space later than previously thought. They also imprinted a clear signature in radio waves which astronomers can now search for. The work is a major new finding about the origins of the universe."One of the exciting frontiers in astronomy is the era of the formation of the first stars," explains Prof. Rennan Barkana of TAU's School of Physics and Astronomy, an author of the study. "Since the universe was filled with hydrogen atoms at that time, the most promising method for observing the epoch of the first stars is by measuring the emission of hydrogen using radio waves."The study, just published in the journal Nature, was co-authored by Dr. Anastasia Fialkov of TAU and the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and Dr. Eli Visbal of Columbia and Harvard Universities.
Astronomers explore our distant past, billions of years back in time. Unlike Earth-bound archaeologists, however, who can only study remnants of the past, astronomers can see the past directly. The light from distant objects takes a long time to reach Earth, and astronomers can see these objects as they were back when that light was emitted. This means that if astronomers look out far enough, they can see the first stars as they actually were in the early universe. Thus, the new finding that cosmic heating occurred later than previously thought means that observers do not have to search as far, and it will be easier to see this cosmic milestone.
Cosmic heating may offer a way to directly investigate the earliest black holes, since it was likely driven by star systems called "black-hole binaries." These are pairs of stars in which the larger star ended its life with a supernova explosion that left a black-hole remnant in its place. Gas from the companion star is pulled in towards the black hole, gets ripped apart in the strong gravity, and emits high-energy X-ray radiation. This radiation reaches large distances, and is believed to have re-heated the cosmic gas, after it had cooled down as a result of the original cosmic expansion. The discovery in the new research is the delay of this heating.
The cosmic radio show
"It was previously believed that the heating occurred very early," says Prof. Barkana, "but we discovered that this standard picture delicately depends on the precise energy with which the X-rays come out. Taking into account up-to-date observations of nearby black-hole binaries changes the expectations for the history of cosmic heating. It results in a new prediction of an early time (when the universe was only 400 million years old) at which the sky was uniformly filled with radio waves emitted by the hydrogen gas."In order to detect the expected radio waves from hydrogen in the early universe, several large international groups have built and begun operating new arrays of radio telescopes. These arrays were designed under the assumption that cosmic heating occurred too early to see, so instead the arrays can only search for a later cosmic event, in which radiation from stars broke up the hydrogen atoms out in the space in-between galaxies. The new discovery overturns the common view and implies that these radio telescopes may also detect the tell-tale signs of cosmic heating by the earliest black holes.
6) What makes us human? Unique brain area linked to higher cognitive powers:
Researchers have identified an area of the human brain that appears unlike anything in the brains of some of our closest relatives. Oxford University researchers have identified an area of the human brain that appears unlike anything in the brains of some of our closest relatives.
The brain area pinpointed is known to be intimately involved in some of the most advanced planning and decision-making processes that we think of as being especially human.'We tend to think that being able to plan into the future, be flexible in our approach and learn from others are things that are particularly impressive about humans. We've identified an area of the brain that appears to be uniquely human and is likely to have something to do with these cognitive powers,' says senior researcher Professor Matthew Rushworth of Oxford University's Department of Experimental Psychology.MRI imaging of 25 adult volunteers was used to identify key components in the ventrolateral frontal cortex area of the human brain, and how these components were connected up with other brain areas. The results were then compared to equivalent MRI data from 25 macaque monkeys.This ventrolateral frontal cortex area of the brain is involved in many of the highest aspects of cognition and language, and is only present in humans and other primates. Some parts are implicated in psychiatric conditions like ADHD, drug addiction or compulsive behaviour disorders. Language is affected when other parts are damaged after stroke or neurodegenerative disease. A better understanding of the neural connections and networks involved should help the understanding of changes in the brain that go along with these conditions.
The Oxford University researchers report their findings in the science journal Neuron.Professor Rushworth explains: 'The brain is a mosaic of interlinked areas. We wanted to look at this very important region of the frontal part of the brain and see how many tiles there are and where they are placed.'We also looked at the connections of each tile -- how they are wired up to the rest of the brain -- as it is these connections that determine the information that can reach that component part and the influence that part can have on other brain regions.'From the MRI data, the researchers were able to divide the human ventrolateral frontal cortex into 12 areas that were consistent across all the individuals.'Each of these 12 areas has its own pattern of connections with the rest of the brain, a sort of "neural fingerprint," telling us it is doing something unique,' says Professor Rushworth.The researchers were then able to compare the 12 areas in the human brain region with the organisation of the monkey prefrontal cortex.
Overall, they were very similar with 11 of the 12 areas being found in both species and being connected up to other brain areas in very similar ways.
However, one area of the human ventrolateral frontal cortex had no equivalent in the macaque -- an area called the lateral frontal pole prefrontal cortex.
'We have established an area in human frontal cortex which does not seem to have an equivalent in the monkey at all,' says first author Franz-Xaver Neubert of Oxford University. 'This area has been identified with strategic planning and decision making as well as "multi-tasking." 'The Oxford research group also found that the auditory parts of the brain were very well connected with the human prefrontal cortex, but much less so in the macaque. The researchers suggest this may be critical for our ability to understand and generate speech.
Movies Release This Week:
The original 3D computer animated story follows Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared.
Chris Pratt (“Moneyball”) stars as the voice of Emmet. Will Ferrell (“The Campaign”) stars as the voice of his primary adversary, President Business, an erudite, anal-retentive CEO who has a hard time balancing world domination with micro-managing his own life; while Liam Neeson (“Taken” and “Taken 2,” Oscar nominee for “Schindler’s List”) voices the president’s powerful henchman, known as Bad Cop, who will stop at nothing to catch Emmet.
Starring as Emmet’s fellow travelers are Oscar® winner Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby”), as Vitruvius, an old mystic; Elizabeth Banks (“The Hunger Games,” Emmy nominee for “30 Rock”), as tough-as-nails Lucy, who mistakes Emmet for the savior of the world and guides him on his quest; Will Arnett (Emmy nominee, “30 Rock”), as the mysterious Batman, a LEGO minifigure with whom Lucy shares a history; Nick Offerman (NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”) as a craggy, swaggering pirate obsessed with revenge on President Business; and Alison Brie (NBC’s “Community”) as a sweet, loveable member of the team, with a powerful secret.
Rose Hathaway (Deutch) is a Dhampir: half human/vampire, guardians of the Moroi, peaceful, mortal vampires living discretely within our world. Her legacy is to protect the Moroi from bloodthirsty, immortal Vampires, the Strigoi. This is her story.
In a race against time, a crew of art historians and museum curators unite to recover renown works of art stolen by Nazis before Hitler destroys it.
Featuring an exceptional cast of comedic talent including legendary action hero Jean-Claude Van Damme (The Expendables 2), Adam Brody (“Burning Love,” “The O.C.”), Megan Boone (“The Blacklist”), Kristen Schaal (“30 Rock,” “Bob’s Burgers”), Rob Huebel (The Descendants, “Children’s Hospital”), and Dennis Haysbert (“24,” “The Unit,” Major League), the laugh-out-loud comedy follows a group of unsuspecting office workers who find themselves stranded on a desert island when a corporate retreat led by unhinged former Marine Storm Rothchild (Van Damme) goes horribly wrong. Now Chris (Brody) and his co-workers must battle nature -- and each other -- to survive!
England : 1648 AD. A small group of deserters flee from a raging battle through an overgrown field. They are captured by two men: O'Neil and Cutler. O'Neil (Michael Smiley), an alchemist, forces the group to aid him in his search to find a hidden treasure that he believes is buried in the field. Crossing a vast mushroom circle, which provides their first meal, the group quickly descend into a chaos of arguments, fighting and paranoia, and, as it becomes clear that the treasure might be something other than gold, they slowly become victim to the terrifying energies trapped inside the field. A Field In England is a psychedelic trip into magic and madness from Ben Wheatley - award-winning director of Down Terrace, Kill List and Sightseers
In the early 1980s, South Korea is torn by student protests over the lack of representation in the government. Song Woo-Seok is a successful attorney in Busan specializing in tax law. His views regarding civil liberties are changed by student activist Park Jin-woo. When Jin-Woo is brutally tortured and put on trial for his activism, Woo-seok decides to defend Jin-woo as his client.
1) In 1964, CIA thought Subhash Chandra Bose was alive, says document:
American intelligence agency Central Intelligence Agency had cast doubt on the reported death of Subhas Chandra Bose in a plane crash in 1945 and was tipped off that Netaji would return from exile in 1964, according to declassified documents."A search of our files indicates that there is no information available regarding subject's death that would shed any light on the reliability of the reports," documents released by the CIA said.A document, dated February 1964, released by the CIA said, "There now exists a strong possibility that Bose is leading the rebellious group undermining the current Nehru government."
Four declassified CIA documents were given to researchers Abhishek Bose and Anuj Dhar, besides Netaji's grand-nephew Chandra Bose, who had sought details under the Freedom of Information Act.In a report dated January 1949, the agency had noted the rumour that Bose was 'still alive'. In a detailed analysis of the Indian political scenario in November 1950, a highly-placed source had informed the CIA that it was being said in New Delhi that Bose "is in Siberia, where he is waiting for a chance to make a big come back.Among the released documents, the oldest one goes back to May 1946, in which a confirmation of Netaji's death was sought from the secretary of state in WashingtonDC.
"The hold which Bose had over the Indian imagination was tremendous and that if he should return to this country trouble would result," wrote the then American consulate general in Mumbai.When under house arrest by the Britishers, Netaji had escaped from India in 1941 to seek international support for the freedom struggle. After organising the Indian National Army with Japanese help he went missing in 1945.
He was last seen at the BangkokAirport on August 17 1945. The Mukherjee Commission, probing Bose's disappearance, had rejected that he died in a plane crash in Taiwan on August 18, 1945.The Prime Minister's Office had earlier refused to furnish data on documents and records it held on Netaji's disappearance, saying the disclosure would harm India's relation with foreign countries.Family members and researchers on Netaji's life have said that it was time for the Indian government to release the files.
2) Cong suspends 2 MLAs for cross voting in WB RS polls:
The Congress on Friday suspended two of its legislators for voting for the Trinamool Congress in the Rajya Sabha biennial election for five seats in West Bengal.
The two suspended members of Legislative Assembly are Sushil Roy and Emani Biswas."We had been receiving complaints about these MLAs for a long time and an enquiry was going on. Both these MLAs were suspended on Friday for anti-party activities," West Bengal PCC chief Pradip Bhattacherjee told PTI.Biswas was an MLA from Suti in Murshidabad district, while Roy represented Gajol seat in Malda district. Bhattacherjee earlier told a local TV channel, "Chitfund money was used for purchasing the MLAs. There was no instance in West Bengal earlier of votes being purchased."Three Left MLAs Sunil Mondal of Forward Bloc, Ananta Deb Adhikary and Dasarath Tirkey both from RSP, and Congress MLAs Roy and Biswas also voted in favour of TMC nominee Ahmed Hasan.
In the poll for five seats, Trinamool has fielded candidates in four seats, the Left Front in one and the Congress along with the Left have nominated an Independent A S Malihabadi.Commenting on the developments, TMC General Secretary Mukul Roy said, "There are known Left leaders who have now voted for us for ideological reasons. We thank them."Expressing dismay over cross-voting, former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said, "This is deplorable. I don't respect people who violate party lines and vote."
3) UK involvement in Operation Bluestar minimal: Barker:
British minister Greg Barker on Friday said that Britain's involvement in Operation Bluestar in 1984 was minimal.
"I was a young boy then. But the United Kingdom’s involvement in Operation Bluestar was not substantial but minimal", Barker, minister for business engagement with India, energy and climate change, told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar in Kolkata.
"It is domestic matter for India and it remains that way," he said.
Then prime minister Indira Gandhi launched Operation Bluestar to flush out Khalistani terrorists from the GoldenTemple in Amritsar. On Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague had said in a statement before the House of Commons that the United Kingdom’s role in Operation Blue Star in June 1984 was limited to military advice as sought by the Indian government in February of that year on Indian contingency plans for an operation against militants who were occupying the Sri Harmandir Sahib.
4) J-K health minister booked on molestation charges, resigns:
Jammu and Kashmir Health Minister Shabir Khan, booked in a molestation case, on Friday resigned from the council of ministers.
"I have received the resignation of the Minister of State for Health Shabir Khan and am forwarding the same to the governor for acceptance," Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said on the micro-blogging Twitter.
The police registered a case against Khan on Thursday after a lady doctor alleged that the minister had called him to his office in Srinagar and attempted to molest her.
A case was registered under Sec 354 RPC (assault or criminal force on a woman with the intention to outrage her woman) and Section 509 RPC (word, gesture or act intended to outrage the modesty of a woman) against him.
According to the complaint lodged against him, Khan, who belongs to the Congress, allegedly tried to make advances towards the woman and molest her when she visited his office in the state secretariat here on January 28.
The woman said in her complaint that she felt uncomfortable and quickly left the room after the minister allegedly tried to molest her.
5) 'Coastal South India is the new target of Chinese hackers':
The recent alleged sabotage of BSNL’s network in coastal Andhra Pradesh by a major Chinese telecom equipment maker has once again reminded Indian intelligence agencies that when it comes to hacking, China is India’s biggest concern. Vicky Nanjappa explains why.
India’s intelligence agencies and the department of telecommunications have jointly begun an investigation into the alleged role of Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei hacking into Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited’s network and sabotaging its expansion plans in Rajahmundry district in coastal Andhra Pradesh.This is yet another indicator of how interested the Chinese are in India. Worse, it strengthens the claim by various agencies that China is looking to target India through the south Indian states.According to an Intelligence Bureau official, China continues to pose a threat in every quarter. The hacking into the BSNL networks is yet another reminder of how they have been focusing on operations in south India.The IB, which is also part of the BSNL hacking probe (conducted by the DoT), says this is a cause for concern since the areas in which the networks have been allegedly hacked are all coastal belts.“There is a two-pronged approach to this probe,” the IB official told rediff.com. “First; we are trying to find out if the Chinese company was trying to gather information, if there was a deliberate sabotage of the BSNL network along the Andhra Pradesh coast, and second, we are also looking into the angle of corporate rivalry,” he says.
“We are relying on the local networks along the coast and are trying to find out if information was being sought by the Chinese company,” he adds.The other sabotage angle to this probe would be whether the Chinese were trying to stop the expansion plans by the BSNL at Rajahumundry in Andhra Pradesh.This is a cause for concern since India does not want any war between two Chinese companies on Indian soil -- the tender for BSNL’s expansion plan was bagged by ZTE, a Huawei rival. According to the complaint lodged by BSNL, Huawei had sabotaged the Base Station Controller, which was part of the seventh phase of the expansion plan because of inter-corporate rivalry.
“While this may be a case of rivalry, we are also concerned about the sabotage of the BSC. A lot of information goes through the BSC, and only a detailed probe will reveal as to how much information has leaked out,” the official informs.The BSC controls the mobile radio base stations and is used a lot by security agencies.American intelligence agencies have often warned India about Chinese telecom companies. Major Chinese telecom companies have often been accused of trying to snoop. The American intelligence committee has said in a report that it would be ‘foolish’ to let Huawei operate in foreign networks.Various reports have suggested that Huawei has always undercut other competitors, and this has pushed it as a major player in the telecommunications market.
There have been probes into illegal arms smuggling by the Chinese using the ports of Tamil Nadu and then offloading arms in northern Kerala.Take the Kodikkarai fishing port in Tamil Nadu, for instance. There are numerous Sri Lankan smugglers there, who have been involved in smuggling drugs for quite some time now, according to officials. Allegedly, the Chinese are transporting arms into India through these smugglers, that eventually end up in northern Kerala.The probe has revealed that the vessels offload arms and transport them later through ferry services, and a major chunk of these operations have been found near Nagapattinam district, around the Kodikkarai fishing port area.There have been allegations of Chinese ships wandering into the Indian coast and indulging in illegal smuggling of arms. Second, these areas also face a major Naxal insurgency and their movements are constantly monitored by security agencies.“We suspect that by hacking into the network, they could have been trying to gather information on the security strategy,” the official added.India ranks among the top five countries which face hacking risks. There have been instances where China has hacked into emails and phone calls of officials and politicians.
In addition there is also an ongoing probe into Chinese hackers allegedly hacking into our nuclear stations.There have also been two instances where Chinese hackers managed to pull out some data from nuclear stations in south India, allegedly because some employee carried their personal pen drive into the station. It was believed that the pen drive was planted by a Chinese agency, with the help of which some data was compromised.
6) Lashkar-e-Jhangvi co-founder Malik Ishaq branded a 'global terrorist':
The United States has designated Lashkar-e-Jhangvi co-founder Malik Ishaq, who is responsible for killing scores of members of Pakistan's Shia minority, as a global terrorist.
The consequences of this designation include a prohibition against American nationals engaging in transactions with Ishaq and the freezing of his property and interests in the United States or in the possession or control of US persons, the State Department said on Thursday.Ishaq is a founding member and current leader of the banned LeJ. In 1997, Ishaq admitted his involvement in terrorist activity that resulted in the deaths of over 100 Pakistanis.After spending 14 years in jail, Ishaq was freed in 2011 due to lack of evidence.In February last year, Pakistani police arrested Ishaq in connection with bomb attacks on January 10 and February 16, 2013 in southwestern Quetta city that killed over 250 Pakistanis, a majority of them Shias. The LeJ claimed responsibility for the bombings.
In addition to Ishaq's designation as a global terrorist, the State Department reviewed and maintained the Foreign Terrorist Organisation designation of the LeJ.The LeJ specialises in armed attacks and bombings and has claimed responsibility for numerous killings of Shia religious and civil society leaders in Pakistan.It claimed responsibility for a 2013 attack in a crowded billiards hall in Quetta that resulted in the death of 80 people, the State Department said.
As a result of maintaining the FTO designation, the legal consequences of the measure remain in place, including the prohibition against knowingly providing, or attempting or conspiring to provide, material support or resources to LeJ, and the freezing of all LeJ assets under the control or possession of US financial institutions.
Sports News This Week:
1) Post-lunch slack costs India:
Ishant Sharma protested vehemently to the contrary, but by the end of the first day's play it seemed clear that India had suffered a post-lunch dip in intensity that gave New Zealand the early running. Having reduced New Zealand to 30 for 3 after winning the toss under overcast skies, India watched on as Kane Williamson and Brendon McCullum first stabilised the innings and then gave it momentum.
Asked whether India's intensity had dipped after lunch, Ishant's reply was emphatic - though unconvincing. "I don't think so. You can see that we did not let their run-rate get high at any point," he said. "It was always under control. Even as the wicket got flat and the ball got old, we kept bowling in the right areas. What is in our hand is that when the wicket goes flat, you have to be patient and see how to create pressure."
Williamson and McCullum put up 221 in 51 overs, a scoring-rate close to four-and-a-half an over. Most of those runs came after lunch, when both Williamson and Ishant said the pitch eased out. India probably think allowing two opposition batsmen to score at that rate on a flattening surface is acceptable.
The visitors also put down some catches, including that of Williamson's on 32. They kept bowling short and conceded boundaries to cuts, pulls and hooks, both top-edged and middled. All their three fast bowlers were down on their normal pace for most of the day. Their spinner, who was picked to keep a check on the run-rate, went for 81 runs in 20 overs. Their fielding suffered as well. Singles became doubles as the players ambled after strokes, expecting the ball to roll into the boundary. If all this does not point to a dip in intensity, nothing does.To say that India let the momentum slip away is an understatement. It was wrenched away from them by two batsmen in flow, and the disappointing part was, India went too flat too soon in face of that fightback. Yes, the pitch eased out considerably after lunch. And at the toss, it was indeed a no-brainer to bowl, given the green below and grey above. But unless New Zealand have bowled on the pitch as well, the verdict on exactly how much bite it has lost, has to wait.
MS Dhoni had said his fast bowlers would have to run in as hard in their fourth spell as they did in their first in these conditions. But Zaheer Khan, the long-time leader of the attack, was found wanting even in his first spell. Zaheer's speed was in the early-to-mid 120s at the start, and no matter how canny or experienced a bowler you are, you cannot hope to worry teams consistently with that pace.
2) Tendulkar receives Bharat Ratna:
Sachin Tendulkar was conferred the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, by the president Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday. Tendulkar, 40, is the first sportsperson, as well as the youngest person to receive the award. Speaking during the ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, Tendulkar said that though he had retired from the game, he would "continue to bat" for India in all spheres of life.
"It's the biggest honour for me and I am extremely delighted on receiving the Bharat Ratna," Tendulkar said. "I am extremely proud to be born in this beautiful nation and I would like to express my gratitude to all the love, affection and support I have received for number of years.
"My cricket has stopped, but I will continue to bat for India and try my best to give people of India a reason to smile," he said. "I would like to reiterate what I said a couple of months ago about this recognition and dedicate this to my mother and along with her, all the mothers in India who sacrifice their wishes, aspirations for their children so that their dreams come true."Tendulkar, who retired from cricket on November 16, 2013 as the game's highest run-scorer in both Tests and ODIs, also saved praise for Professor CNR Rao, the other recipient of this year's Bharat Ratna.
"I would like to congratulate Prof CNR Rao for the Bharat Ratna. He has been instrumental in motivating and inspiring youth of India to become scientists. I wish him all the happiness and good health."India captain MS Dhoni, speaking before the first Test against New Zealand in Auckland, said Tendulkar thoroughly "deserved" the honour. "As a civilian, you cannot get a bigger honour than this. Definitely he deserves it."The way he has handled himself, not only on the field, off the field as well... Whenever we talk about him, we keep saying the same thing: ideal role model. The kind of pressure there is in Indian cricket, he handled it very well. The kind of performance he has given since the time he debuted was fantastic. An honour well deserved."
3) Yuki downs Somdev to make final:
Yuki Bhambri, playing with rare fluency, outgunned his senior pro Somdev Devvarman 6-2, 6-4, in a clash of the Davis Cup stars to enter the final of the PL Reddy Memorial ATP Challenger tennis tournament here Friday.In Saturday's final, seventh seeded Bhambri, ranked 174 to Devvarman's 103, will take on Alexander Kudryavtsev who eliminated fellow-Russian and second seed Evgeny Donskoy 7-6(4), 6-3.
The maiden match between India's top two players Devvarman the top seed and Bhambri saw the latter putting up a sterling display to emerge a relatively comfortable winner.
Devvarman, who was broken twice in the first set and four times in the second, summed up his disappointment when he said: "Let's not talk about it, let's talk of the future."
Bhambri was in command with strong returns, especially with his forehand returns. For the best part of the match, Devvarman tried to only keep the ball away from Bhambri's forehand, but the tactic was not good enough.Bhambri served strongly in the first set to hold serve throughout and closed out the set 6-2. But the percentage dropped in the second as he conceded three service breaks after being ahead each time.It was in the 10th game that he pulled up his socks again and got his first serve in for four of the five points and win the match when Devvarman's return sailed wide on the first match point.
The other semi-final between 238-ranked Kudrayatsev and Donskoy (130) started at a furious pace. Kudrayatsev ran away with a 3-0 lead winning 12 of the first 14 points. He served powerfully and stroked fluently on both flanks hitting winners at will.Donskoy then clawed his way back with a counter attack, eliciting unforced errors from Kudrayatsev and managed to level scores 3-all. Both players held till 6-all to take the set into a tie break.Kudrayatsev took the upper hand with a mini-break on the first point only to concede it a point later. He regained the initiative with a powerful winner and then held on to his serve to take the set 7-4.In the second set, Kudrayatsev was dominant and never looked backed after breaking Donskoy early in the set to win 6-3 for the match.Bhambri put himself in line as he reached the doubles final along with Kiwi Michael Venus. The duo beat Ruben Gonzales and Artem Sitak 6-2, 6-1 in the final to set up a title clash with Sriram Balaji and Blaza Rola.
The results -- (semi-finals):
Singles: 7-Yuki Bhambri bt 1-Somdev Devvarman 6-2, 6-4; Alexander Kudryavtsev (Rus) bt 2-Evgeny Donskoy (Rus) 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Doubles: N Sriram Balaji / Blaz Rola (Slo) bt Ti Chen (Tpe) / Marek Semjan (Svk) 6-3, 7-6 (5); 2-Yuki Bhambri / Michael Venus (Nzl) bt 3-Ruben Gonzales (Phi) / Artem Sitak (Nzl) 6-2, 6-1.
4) Cibulkova opens Fed Cup for Slovakia:
Australian Open finalist Dominika Cibulkova will open for Slovakia in the Fed Cup first-round tie against Andrea Petkovic of Germany.
Cibulkova lost to Li Na 7-6 (3), 6-0 in her first major final, which saw her jump to No. 13 in the WTA rankings.
Friday's draw also pitted Daniela Hantuchova for Slovakia against No. 9-ranked Angelique Kerber in the second singles on Saturday on an indoor hard-court at Bratislava's National Tennis Center.After Sunday's reverse singles, Hantuchova is expected to team up with Magdalena Rybarikova in doubles against Julia Goerges and Anna-Lena Groenefeld.The teams split their previous two encounters: Slovakia won the 2003 first-round clash, while Germany claimed victory in the second round in 1994.
Slovakia won the Fed Cup in 2002, while Germany's last triumph was back in 1992.
5) Milestone man Sangakkara matches Gooch feat in Chittagong:
Kumar Sangakkara became only the second cricketer to hit a triple century and a hundred in the same test as Sri Lanka set Bangladesh a huge target of 467 to win the second and final match in Chittagong on Friday.
Sangakkara, who struck his maiden triple century in the first innings, hit a six off Sohag Gazi to reach three figures in the second and emulate former England opener Graham Gooch's 1990 feat against India at Lord's.The 36-year-old left-hander was then bowled by the off-spinner's next delivery as he attempted to sweep on the fourth day.Sangakkara's fluent 144-ball knock included 11 fours and two sixes. His tally of 424 fell just short of Gooch's record of 456 for most runs in a single test.
His partner in a fourth-wicket stand of 145, Dinesh Chandimal, struck his third test century as Sri Lanka declared on 305 for four half an hour just before the close.Bangladesh openers Tamim Iqbal and Shamsur Rahman then survived eight overs to leave their side on 12 for no wicket.Earlier, the home team resumed on 409 for eight but folded for 426 with spinner Ajantha Mendis claiming the last two wickets to finish with six for 99.Mahmudullah then removed both openers and fellow spinner Shakib Al Hasan trapped Mahela Jayawardene lbw to reduce Sri Lanka to 78 for three before Sangakkara and Chandimal rallied.
Book of This Week:
Gone Girl Hardcover :by Gillian Flynn
Marriage can be a real killer.
One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.
Gillian Flynn : Author
Gillian Flynn is an American author and former television critic for Entertainment Weekly. As of 2012, she has published three novels: Sharp Objects, Dark Places, and Gone Girl.
Born: 1971, Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Movies: Gone Girl, Dark Places
Awards: CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, CWA New Blood Dagger, Black Quill for Dark Genre Novel Of The Year
Education: University of Kansas, Northwestern University