Science News This Week:
1) Ancient oceans’ top predator was gentle filter feeder:
Fossils suggest distant lobster relative used bristled limbs to net prey, not spike it. Some of the largest early animals may have used spiny limbs to filter their food rather than impale it.
Fossils found in northern Greenland suggest that, like other predators 520 million years ago, Tamisiocaris borealis, a distant lobster relative, had two long, spiny limbs that jutted out from its face. But unlike other predators, T. borealis’ limbs also had bristles: The appendages’ long, equally spaced, slender spines were covered in much finer, denser ones.
This mesh is similar to the hairy fringes found in modern filter-feeding whales, Jakob Vinther of England’s University of Bristol and colleagues say. With its bristled limbs, the up to 70-centimeter-long T. borealis could have swept through the water, netting small crustacean-like creatures and other prey. The animal could then have curled the appendages inward one at a time to suck the food into its mouth, the researchers argue in the March 27 Nature.
The fossils may be the earliest evidence for filter feeding in large, free-swimming animals, the scientists say.
2) First chromosome made synthetically from yeast:
Work is major step toward lab-created eukaryotic life-form. Designer organisms have crept closer to reality. Scientists have stitched together a version of a yeast chromosome. It is the first synthetic chromosome ever assembled from a eukaryotic organism, the type in which cells store DNA in nuclei.Other groups have previously synthesized chromosomes from bacteria, but this is the first step in designing synthetic eukaryotes.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University, including a small army of undergraduate students, and colleagues report the achievement March 27 in Science. The synthetic chromosome is based on chromosome III from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but it is not an exact replica.'Build-a-genome'The scientists decided to omit certain DNA sequences from their synthetic chromosome, such as elements with the ability to move around the genome, known as transposons, and sections within genes that do not encode proteins, called introns. They also inserted a 'scrambling' system — which shuffles and removes genes — to provide a way of testing whether a given gene is essential to survival.The initial plan was to contract commercial DNA-synthesis companies to create large chunks of the yeast genome to Boeke’s specifications. But the first order, a 90,000-base-pair chunk of DNA corresponding to a portion of the S. cerevisiae chromosome IX3, cost roughly US$50,000 and took a year to arrive.“I’ll be dead long before this project will ever be finished,” Boeke remembers thinking. So he turned his mind to thinking up other ways of assembling chromosome-length stretches of DNA.
He realized that university campuses were full of undergraduate students interested in dabbling in research. In the summer of 2007, he taught the first “build-a-genome” course at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and the classes have been offered most terms since.Each student makes their own stretch of the yeast genome, which involves stitching together very short lengths of DNA created by a DNA-synthesis machine into ever-larger chunks. These chunks are then incorporated into the yeast chromosome, a few at a time, through a process called homologous recombination. Eventually, this results in an entirely synthetic chromosome. Many of the students are co-authors on Boeke's Science paper, which details the synthesis of S. cerevisiae's chromosome III.
A breakthrough in research could signal new treatments for women at high risk of breast and ovarian cancer. The new discovery may mean women affected with BRCA1 could use drugs, which are already available, to reduce their risk of developing the disease, rather than undergo irreversible surgery.Cancer researchers at Queen's University Belfast have made a breakthrough which could signal new treatments for women at high risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Currently around one in 1,000 women in the UK carry what is known as a BRCA1 mutation -- the same condition that prompted well-known actress Angelina Jolie to undergo a double mastectomy. They have up to an 85 per cent risk of developing breast cancer, and up to 40 per cent risk of developing ovarian cancer, in their lifetimes.
Until now, preventive surgery -- mastectomy (breasts) and oophorectomy (ovaries) -- has been the only way of reducing the risk of developing both types of cancers.
The new discovery by researchers in Queen's Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) may mean women affected with BRCA1 could use drugs, which are already available, to reduce their risk of developing the disease, rather than undergo irreversible surgery.In turn, such treatments would open up the possibility of some of these women, who might otherwise have an oophorectomy, still being able to have children.
The new research by Dr Kienan Savage and Professor Paul Harkin at CCRCB proves there is a direct link between high levels of estrogen and DNA damage, which causes cancer, in the breasts and ovaries.Specifically, the scientists discovered that the cells of women with the BRCA1 mutation cannot effectively fight the very high levels of estrogen that exist in all women's breasts and ovaries, leaving them vulnerable to DNA damage.While this link between estrogen, breast/ovarian cancer and BRCA1 mutation has been suspected by the scientific community for years, it has not been proven until now.Dr Kienan Savage, from the CCRCB, and who led the research, said: "This discovery is very significant in the management of women with the BRCA1 gene mutation. It's the first really credible evidence that estrogen is driving cancer in women with a BRCA1 gene mutation. Because of this discovery, we now have the opportunity to propose an alternative treatment to surgery. It also opens up the possibility of pausing treatment for a period in order for women to have children, if desired."What also makes this exciting is that there are drugs already on the market which turn off estrogen production. In theory, we could use these drugs to chemically reduce estrogen production in women which could negate the need for irreversible surgery."
The Queen's-led research, which has been ongoing for four years, was carried out with funding from Cancer Focus NI and Cancer Research UK. It is carried in the latest edition of the USA-based journal Cancer Research.
Professor David Waugh, Director of the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen's, said: "This breakthrough by researchers at CCRCB is great news for women with the BRCA1 gene and the cancer research community as a whole. It is pivotal in that it reveals more about the mechanisms behind breast and ovarian cancer.
"This work of Dr Kienan Savage and Professor Paul Harkin is further example of the world-leading research being undertaken at Queen's which continues to advance knowledge and change lives."Roisin Foster, Chief Executive, Cancer Focus Northern Ireland, said: "Cancer Focus is delighted to fund this ground-breaking research into breast cancer, which has the potential in the forseeable future to benefit women all over the world. We are only able to support this vital work because of the generosity of our local community."The researchers are currently seeking funding to launch clinical trials and hope to do so within 12 months. It is envisaged that, in the first instance, a small control trial will be carried out using a combination of two drugs on 12 women for a period of three months, using biopsy, blood and urine samples to track DNA damage.
A new understanding of proteins at the nexus of a cell's decision to survive or die has implications for researchers who study cancer and age-related diseases. Experiments and computer analysis of two key proteins revealed a previously unknown binding interface that could be addressed by medication.
A New understanding of proteins at the nexus of a cell's decision to survive or die has implications for researchers who study cancer and age-related diseases, according to biophysicists at the Rice University-based Center for Theoretical Biological Physics (CTBP).Experiments and computer analysis of two key proteins revealed a previously unknown binding interface that could be addressed by medication. Results of the research appear this week in an open-source paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.The proteins are Bcl-2, well-known for its role in programmed cell death, and NAF-1, a member of the NEET family that binds toxic clusters of iron and sulfur. How the two interact is now known as a major determinant in the cell processes of autophagy and apoptosis -- literally, life and death. An ability to uncover binding sites on the proteins that send the cell one way or the other opens a path toward the regulation of those processes, according to José Onuchic, Rice's the Harry C. and Olga K. Wiess Chair of Physics and professor of physics and astronomy.Pockets and folds in proteins exist to bind to other molecules and catalyze actions in a cell in signaling pathways. The ability to block a specific binding site or to enhance a desired interaction is critical to drug design, Onuchic said."In our early work we have shown the link between NEET proteins and cancer. Now we can understand the molecular details of how these interactions are governed," Onuchic said. "Others have shown that NAF-1 is up-regulated in cancer cells, which leads us to believe that cancer may hijack control over the expression of this protein. This affects the cell's system of checks and balances. Understanding NAF-1 gives us a better idea of how to approach treatment."The researchers found that NAF-1 binds to two specific regions of the protein Bcl-2 and that Bcl-2 binds to the NAF-1 groove formed between the beta cap and iron-sulfur cluster binding domains; the strongest coupling is at the cluster binding domain and some contacts of interest are at the top of the beta-cap domain. Since the iron-sulfur cluster is the functional entity involved in NAF-1 activity, these findings clearly indicate that Bcl-2 interaction with NAF-1 affects its activity, Onuchic said.The research team used a unique combination of experimental and theoretical methods, including peptide array binding studies with fragments of Bcl-2 to NAF-1; the researchers performed functional studies of cluster transfer and other full-length protein interactions with a spectrometer sensitive to hydrogen/deuterium exchange. They combined their results with a computer-based process created at CTBP called direct coupling analysis (DCA), through which interactions between proteins can be predicted by their genomic roots."Each of the three techniques not only confirmed the results of the other methods but also provided unique insights in their own right," said Patricia Jennings, a lead author and CTBP affiliate based at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), where she is a professor of chemistry and biochemistry.Jennings said the combined techniques are applicable to biomolecular interactions in general. "DCA helps us efficiently filter through massive amounts of data and does not require high-resolution structural studies, although those are desirable," she said. "Peptide array is powerful for localizing fragments that bind with high affinity, and hydrogen/deuterium exchange studies allow us to monitor parts of the intact protein that are not seen in structural studies and are not amenable to DCA analysis.
"Together, the techniques provide an exquisite synergy," she said.Jennings is a co-lead author of the study with Onuchic; Rachel Nechushtai, a professor at the Alexander Siberman Life Science Institute of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Assaf Friedler, a professor at the Hebrew University Institute of Chemistry; and Ron Mittler, a professor of biological sciences at the University of North Texas, Denton (UNT). Previous research by the team identified NAF-1 as one of two prime suspects in the proliferation of breast cancer."Once again, our international team of experts from different disciplines has shown that combined complementary efforts leads to innovative knowledge imperative for coping with cancer," Nechushtai said.
5) New way to filter light: May provide first directional selectivity for light waves:
Light waves can be defined by three fundamental characteristics: their color (or wavelength), polarization, and direction. While it has long been possible to selectively filter light according to its color or polarization, selectivity based on the direction of propagation has remained elusive. But now, for the first time, researchers have produced a system that allows light of any color to pass through only if it is coming from one specific angle; the technique reflects all light coming from other directions.Light waves can be defined by three fundamental characteristics: their color (or wavelength), polarization, and direction. While it has long been possible to selectively filter light according to its color or polarization, selectivity based on the direction of propagation has remained elusive.But now, for the first time, MIT researchers have produced a system that allows light of any color to pass through only if it is coming from one specific angle; the technique reflects all light coming from other directions. This new approach could ultimately lead to advances in solar photovoltaics, detectors for telescopes and microscopes, and privacy filters for display screens.The work is described in a paper appearing this week in the journal Science, written by MIT graduate student Yichen Shen, professor of physics Marin Soljačić, and four others. "We are excited about this," Soljačić says, "because it is a very fundamental building block in our ability to control light."The new structure consists of a stack of ultrathin layers of two alternating materials where the thickness of each layer is precisely controlled. "When you have two materials, then generally at the interface between them you will have some reflections," Soljačić explains. But at these interfaces, "there is this magical angle called the Brewster angle, and when you come in at exactly that angle and the appropriate polarization, there is no reflection at all."While the amount of light reflected at each of these interfaces is small, by combining many layers with the same properties, most of the light can be reflected away -- except for that coming in at precisely the right angle and polarization.Using a stack of about 80 alternating layers of precise thickness, Shen says, "We are able to reflect light at most of the angles, over a very broad band [of colors]: the entire visible range of frequencies."Previous work had demonstrated ways of selectively reflecting light except for one precise angle, but those approaches were limited to a narrow range of colors of light. The new system's breadth could open up many potential applications, the team says.
Shen says, "This could have great applications in energy, and especially in solar thermophotovoltaics" -- harnessing solar energy by using it to heat a material, which in turn radiates light of a particular color. That light emission can then be harnessed using a photovoltaic cell tuned to make maximum use of that color of light. But for this approach to work, it is essential to limit the heat and light lost to reflections, and re-emission, so the ability to selectively control those reflections could improve efficiency.
The findings could also prove useful in optical systems, such as microscopes and telescopes, for viewing faint objects that are close to brighter objects -- for example, a faint planet next to a bright star. By using a system that receives light only from a certain angle, such devices could have an improved ability to detect faint targets. The filtering could also be applied to display screens on phones or computers, so only those viewing from directly in front could see them.In principle, the angular selectivity can be made narrower simply by adding more layers to the stack, the researchers say. For the experiments performed so far, the angle of selectivity was about 10 degrees; roughly 90 percent of the light coming in within that angle was allowed to pass through.While these experiments were done using layers of glass and tantalum oxide, Shen says that in principle any two materials with different refractive indices could be used.John Pendry, a professor at Imperial College London who was not connected to this research, calls this an "ingenious application.""On a macroscopic scale this is equivalent to observing the world through a set of louvers … that allow light to enter from one direction only," Pendry says. "However, the new device is infinitely more refined, operating as it does on the length scale of a wavelength."
6) Icy rings found around tiny space rock:
Surprise discovery reveals belt around planetoid orbiting between Saturn and Uranus. All of the giant planets in our solar system — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — are adorned with rings. Now a much smaller planetoid can take its place on the list of ringed objects. It is the first time rings have been found around such a small object.
Astronomers have discovered a pair of thin rings encircling 10199 Chariklo, a rock-and-ice asteroid-comet hybrid known as a centaur. Chariklo is about 250 kilometers across and orbits the sun between Saturn and Uranus. The rings are probably the result of a collision, astronomers think.
Movies Release This Week:
A man is chosen by God to undertake a momentous mission of rescue before an apocalyptic flood destroys the world.
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in this action thriller as the head of an elite DEA task force assigned to take on some of the most vicious drug cartels in the world. The group raids a cartel safe house with seemingly successful results, but then the agents begin to mysteriously die off, one-by-one - and seemingly anyone could be responsible.
From the Producers of “Blood Diamond” and “The Last Samurai,” this dramatic war thriller follows soldier Jack Farmer (Luke Moran) from small town America to Iraq’s most infamous prison, Abu Ghraib, where he’s tasked with guarding the Army’s highest priority detainees. Pressured by his superior (Sean Astin) into using harsh techniques on a seemingly innocent detainee (Omid Abtahi), the seductive allure of war quickly turns to a haunting reality that threatens to break him. Based on the true events that shocked the world in 2004.
After a neighborhood tragedy, two young brothers -- nine-year-old Tommy (Ryan Jones) and 14-year-old Eric (Nathan Varnson) -- confront changing relationships, the mystery of nature, and their own mortality. A dreamlike portrait of adolescence unfolding over one hot, hazy summer, Hide Your Smiling Faces is a startling debut, exploring rural American life through the distorted lens of youth
When Shaggy and Scooby win tickets to WrestleMania, the entire gang travels in the Mystery Machine to WWE City to attend the epic event. However, when a mysterious ghostly bear appears and threatens to ruin the show, Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne and Fred work with WWE Superstars to solve the case. WWE Superstars and Divas including Triple H, John Cena, Kane, The Miz, Brodus Clay, Santino Marella, Sin Cara and AJ Lee will appear in animated form and lend their voices to the project. WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon will also lend his voice and appear in animated form.
Political News This Week:
1) Terrorists go on bloody rampage near Jammu:
daring twin attacks, suspected Lashkar-e-Tayiba militants in combat uniform struck terror on the outskirts of Jammu in Kathua district and killed a civilian and a soldier guarding an army camp gate, leaving three others injured.In the first attack, three heavily-armed terrorists killed one civilian and injured three others and the same group which was later intercepted by army personnel killed one army jawan.Two terrorists were also killed in the encounter while hunt has been launched for to trace the third militant.
According to information being collected by various security agencies, a 'Bolero' SUV was intercepted by three men near a bridge in Hiranagar area and all the occupants were asked to line up. After separating driver of the vehicle, Taraseem Singh, the terrorists sprayed bullets on other passengers and fled in the vehicle. This left one person Ajit Ram, a resident of Vijaypur in Jammu, dead and three others injured.One of the injured told the police that the only word uttered by the terrorists was "utro" (get down) and after which the driver was separated from the passengers who were fired upon.The three -- Kamaljeet Singh, Gurpreet Singh and Santokh Singh -- were being treated in hospital. They were on their way to Gurdaspur in Punjab from Jammu after attending a religious camp. The terrorists were later intercepted near an army camp and engaged in gun fight. In the ensuing encounter, Lance Naik V Anthony, who was guarding the rear gate of 111 Rocket regiment, was killed while another jawan was injured.
Two terrorists were also killed in the encounter while efforts were on to find the third, who had taken shelter in an under construction building.The fate of the driver was still not known and the police believe that he too could have been killed by the terrorists.Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police Ashok Prasad told PTI that immediately after the police control room was informed at 4:47 am, all check posts and security establishments were alerted.
Despite bad weather, helicopters were pressed into service to locate the vehicle which was finally spotted in a nallah (seasonal canal) outside 111 Rocket division in Kathua, he said. The higher ups of the army formation had been already informed and that's why the terrorists could not even approach the main gate of the army camp as an alert guard had engaged them in fire fighting.The terrorists may have entered through Tarlah Nallah to carry out a suicide attack ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, police said.The same route was used by terrorists to enter the state on September 26 last year in which 12 people including Lt Col Bikramjeet Singh was killed.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, while condemning the attack, said he would comment on it only after the operation was over. "I'd like to unequivocally condemn today's militant attack in Kathua area of Jammu. "As this is very much still an ongoing operation. I will not be commenting or reacting to today's events until the security forces have declared the operation as concluded," he said in his tweets.The gunmen were intercepted after a two hour chase near an army camp and a private college in Kalibari-Janglote belt of Kathua district, triggering a heavy exchange of fire between the two sides.
2) Kejriwal attacked while campaigning in Haryana:
Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal was attacked on Friday by an unidentified man, who was assaulted by his party activists, while campaigning in Haryana’s Charkhi DadriKejriwal, who is on a campaign trail in Haryana, said he was "hit hard" on his neck."Someone hit me hard on my neck just now. This kind of violent reaction is expected of them. It only shows their true character and desperation," the former Delhi chief minister tweeted.AAP volunteers then hit back and assaulted the attacker. "Our supporters beat him up in retaliation. That is very wrong. That is not expected of us," Kejriwal said in a tweet.
"I am deeply hurt by the reaction of our supporters. If we also react violently, then what is the difference between them and us?"Asking his supporters not to indulge in violence, Kejriwal said AAP's movement will be "finished" if his supporters retaliate to such attacks.
"If we ever become violent, the movement wud be finished. So, please please please, in future, if anyone hits us, including me, we shud be nice to him," he said in a tweet in an appeal to AAP supporters.Kejriwal kicked off a three-day roadshow in Haryana from Dhansa earlier in the day.
3) IAF's new C-130 J crashes near Gwalior; 5 dead:
A US-made C-130J military transport plane, one of the most modern aircraft acquired recently by the Indian Air Force, crashed on Friday near Gwalior, killing all the five crew members, including four officers.The aircraft, procured at an estimated cost of Rs 965 crore a piece along with five others, crashed an hour after taking off from Agra airbase for an exercise, officials said.
The IAF ordered a court of inquiry to ascertain the cause of the mishap.Those killed in the crash are the aircraft's Captain Wing Commander Prashant Joshi, Wing Commander Raji Nair, Squadron Leader Kaushik Mishra, Squadron Leader Ashish Yadav (Navigator) and Warrant Officer Krishnapal Singh (Flight Engineer), IAF officials said.
"One C-130J aircraft crashed 72 miles (115 km) west of Gwalior air base. The aircraft was airborne from Agra at 1000 hours for a routine flying training mission," an IAF spokesperson said in New Delhi.Senior IAF officials said two C-130J Super Hercules aircraft had taken off together while taking part in a tactical exercise, which involved flying at very low heights, at 10 am but one of them crashed at around 11 am.IAF sources said the aircraft, fitted with four Rolls Royce engines, could not even communicate about the emergency before it lost contact with ground control.The 'Black Box' of the aircraft has been recovered and is being analysed to assess the reason for the crash.
The bodies were recovered from the debris by a rescue team of Airforce's Medical unit and taken back to airforce base by a flight, Karauli District Collector B L Jatawat told PTI over phone from the spot.Quoting villagers, Jatawat said the plane probably hit some hillock and caught fire on the bank of Chambal river and ravine areas at Gotaghat.
The home base of the 77 squadron 'Veiled Vipers' operating the aircraft is Hindon in Ghaziabad and the families of all the victims of the fatal crash are also based there.The aircraft, with the load carrying capacity of upto 20 tonnes, is fitted with emergency landing system equipment and can land and take-off from short runways.India had recently inducted six C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, which were bought from the US at the cost of around Rs 5,781 crore three years ago. The per unit cost of the aircraft comes to around Rs 965 crore.IAF had recently landed the aircraft at the high-altitude Daulat Beg Oldie air field near China border. The planes have augmented IAF's capability to airlift troops closer to the borders in times of emergency, air force officials said.One of these multi-role special operations aircraft was recently deployed by India for the search operation of the missing Malaysian airliner MH 370.
Air Force chief Arup Raha, while noting that it was a modern aircraft inducted in 2010, promised a thorough inquiry into the mishap."It is very unfortunate that we have lost five of our brave warriors in a tragic accident today. It is a sad moment for all of us and we share the grief with the family members," he said in a statement."Events like these are painful reminders of the inherent risks which our brave airwarriors face in the execution of our daily mission," he added.The IAF remains committed to provide the best possible equipment and training to its personnel so that they can execute their assigned missions professionally, said the chief who briefed Defence Minister A K Antony on the crash.The defence ministry had recently signed a contract with the US government for procurement of six additional C-130J planes which are to be deployed in Panagarh in West Bengal.
4) Opinion poll: BJP likely get 19 seats in Bihar; JD-U to be reduced to 6:
According to the ABP News-Nielsen opinion poll, the National Democratic Alliance will emerge as the gainer with 21 seats in the Lok Sabha polls, the Janata Dal-United will face the heat of break-up; will get 6 seats
In Bihar, the Bharatiya Janata Party likely to emerge as the largest party with 33 per cent vote share and 19 seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the poll says. The BJP had got a vote share of 13.98 per cent and 11 seats in Bihar in the 2009 elections. Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal will bounce back, and will get around 10 seats in Bihar, according to the poll. According to the poll, the RJD will likely gain from the loss of the JD-U, and is predicted to get 10 seats with a vote share of 17 per cent. The RJD had gotten 4 seats in the 2009 general elections.
The JD-U will face the heat of the break-up from the BJP, and may shrink to 6 seats in 2014 compared with 20 seats in 2009. As per the poll, the JDU’s vote share may reduce to 12 per cent compared with 23.8 per cent and 20 seats in the 2009 general elections.
The poll says that the Congress is likely to get only 2 seats in the 40-seat house of Bihar. Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party likely to get 2 seats. As per the poll, the BJP in alliance with the LJP is likely to hit 38 per cent vote share and 21 seats in Bihar. Congress-RJD predicted to get a vote share of 26 per cent with 12 seats.
5) Why Naxals delight in blowing up mobile towers:
Vicky Nanjappa explains why destroying mobile towers just before a political rally is a big headache for security agencies.
Late on Wednesday night around 100 naxals blew up two mobile towers at Manjhauli and Dumaria Bazaar 40 kilometres from Gaya where Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will address a rally on Thursday afternoon.
Blowing up mobile towers is considered symbolic, as it seriously hampers communication during a massive rally.
Intelligence Bureau reports point to enhanced naxal activity during the elections, say sources. The threat perception is not just from Islamic groups like the Indian Mujahideen and the Students Islamic Movement of India.IB intercepts suggest that the naxals are planning an attack to avenge the killing of 10 of their cadres at Chatra in Jharkhand. They have a strong support base in the southern central parts of the state.Blowing up mobile towers may not claim lives, but does hamper communication. Security agencies rely on these mobile towers for intercepts and destroying them affects planning. Restoring these towers take time, which makes networking and tracking difficult for security agencies, sources point out.When a blast of this nature takes place just before a major rally, the work of all the security forces becomes two fold, as they have to find alternative means to track and communicate.Naxals have blown up 260 mobile towers so far. The local police was asked to enhance security around mobile towers in naxal strongholds in February 2012. However, the recent incident in Gaya shows that the local police have not followed the advisory.“An officer is in constant touch with his source of the ground. When a tower in the area is blown up all communication is cut off,” says an officer.
Naxals too use mobiles to communicate and they are very often seen coming out of the jungles into areas where there is network to make phone calls. These signals are used to pick up their location. In some cases the mobile tower is blasted immediately after the naxal has made his call.
6) Thai satellite spots possible debris of crashed Malaysian jet:
A Thai satellite has spotted hundreds of floating objects in southern Indian Ocean that could possibly be the debris of the crashed Malaysian plane, even as bad weather on Thursday grounded multination aerial search for the aircraft's wreckage.The image of 300 floating objects was taken by the Thaichote satellite on Monday, a day after images from a French satellite purported to show 122 such objects.
The site was about 2,700 kilometres from Perth and about 200 kilometres from the international search area where the flight is thought to have come down. Some objects were more than two-metres long, Anond Snidvongs, executive director of Thailand's Geo Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, said.The Thai agency said it was confident that the images showed floating objects but cautioned that it could not describe them in detail because the images were of a relatively low resolution.The missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 with 239 people on board, including 5 Indians, crashed in remote southern Indian Ocean with no survivors and their families have been informed, Malaysia had announced on Monday.
After 19 days of searches, there have been multiple sightings of possible debris, but no wreckage has been retrieved. The flight took off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8 and veered southward into the Indian Ocean for unknown reasons.Malaysia believes the plane was deliberately redirected by someone on board but there was still confusion over what had transpired.The images of 300 floating objects have already been submitted to the Thai government and were relayed to Malaysian authorities, officials said.Thaichote or Thailand Earth Observation Satellite is a remote sensing satellite for natural resources observation.Earlier, Australian and Chinese satellites had also detected unidentified debris.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority on Thursday called off the air search because of thunderstorms and gale-force winds. Ships will try to continue the search, Australian officials said.AMSA tweeted: "Update: Ships staying in search area & will attempt to continue searching but all planes returning. Bad weather expected for next 24 hours."Planes from Australia, China, Japan and New Zealand took part in today's aborted search, the Malaysian transport ministry said. They reached the zone but faced zero visibility and returned to base.Five Chinese ships and an Australian warship also took part in Thursday's search.Time was fast running out on the signal emitted by the plane's "black box" of flight data.AMSA spokesman Sam Cardwell said eight of the 11 planes had reached the search zone and looked for about two hours before the suspension."They got a bit of time in, but it was not useful because there was no visibility," he said.Lt Commander Adam Schantz, in charge of the US Navy's Poseidon P8 plane, said: "The forecast in the area was calling for severe icing, severe turbulence and near-zero visibility.Anybody who's out there is coming home and all additional sorties from here are cancelled."The search area is known as the "roaring forties" -- a reference to the latitude and notoriously fierce weather conditions.
It is the second time this week the operation has been hampered by poor conditions.The Australian Navy ship HMAS Success is in the search area and has been joined by five Chinese ships. China said it was sending another three vessels.A total of six countries are now involved in the search -- Australia, New Zealand, the US, Japan, China and South Korea.
In a bid to nab naxals, the government had sanctioned setting up 500 mobile towers in Odisha, Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh. It was with the same technology that the security agencies closed in on top naxal leader Kishenji who was killed in an encounter.In 2006 and 2007, the reliance on human intelligence was more and the number of towers blasted was just four. In 2008, 37 towers were destroyed and in the following year 66 were blown up.In 2010 and 2011, there were 90 towers that were blasted and between 2012 and 2014, 61 mobile towers have been targeted by the naxals.The government may have sanctioned additional towers in naxal hit areas, but the local police do not do enough to guard these towers defeating the purpose, IB officials point out.
1) Cricket: Court installs Gavaskar as interim BCCI chief:
The Supreme Court installed batting legend Sunil Gavaskar as the interim head of India's troubled cricket board Friday in place of the scandal-tainted incumbent N. Srinivasan.
Gavaskar would be made "interim working president" of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the court said, adding that the appointment would place him in overall charge of the upcoming edition of the annual Indian Premier League which begins next month.The court said that Gavaskar would have to cease his work as a television commentator to avoid any conflict of interest, adding that the BCCI must "adequately compensate" Gavaskar for loss of earnings as a result.
The court also said that the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals -- two teams at the centre of investigations into illegal betting and spot-fixing -- would be allowed to take part in this year's IPL.Judges had said on Thursday that both sides should be barred from the eight-team tournament which is to start in Abu Dhabi on April 16.
2) Gavaskar to head IPL, BCCI chief Srinivasan stood down:
Batting great Sunil Gavaskar was installed as interim head of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Friday after the Supreme Court temporarily relieved N. Srinivasan of his duties as BCCI president.
Srinivasan's position was deemed untenable in the wake of his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan being indicted for illegal betting on last year's lucrative Twenty20 tournament with the court calling on the powerful cricket administrator to step aside to ensure a fair investigation into the scandal.Former India cricketer and board vice president Shivlal Yadav would oversee all other non-IPL affairs at the BCCI until any further order, the Supreme Court added.The court also decided to allow the seventh edition of the IPL to continue with all eight teams, including the two sides linked to the corruption scandal.
The United Arab Emirates will host the first leg of the Twenty20 league from April 16-30 as this year's tournament clashes with parliamentary elections in the world's biggest democracy.Voting in India will be held in nine stages to May 12 and results are due to be announced on May 16. With poll security being the Indian government's priority, UAE would host at least 16 IPL matches, the BCCI said earlier this month.The board has approached the home ministry for permission to host the May 1-12 matches in states where polling would be over, but has kept Bangladesh as a standby venue in case the government cannot provide security.Local media claimed Meiyappan was chief executive of the Chennai Super Kings but the company that owns the IPL franchise, India Cements, said he was merely a member of team management.
Srinivasan, set to take over as chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) board in July, is the head of India Cements.The scandal surfaced when former test bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and two other local cricketers, all playing for the Rajasthan Royals franchise, were arrested on suspicion of taking money to concede a fixed number of runs.Sreesanth, who had denied any wrongdoing, was subsequently banned for life by the BCCI.The Supreme Court has set April 16 as the next date for hearing in the case.Legal sports betting in India is confined to horse racing.
3) Dhoni guilty of corrupt conduct, claims lawyer in Mudgal case
Harish Salve, one of the senior lawyers arguing the Justice Mudgal Committee report case before the Supreme Court, has claimed that India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is guilty of corrupt conduct because he gave false statements to the Mudgal Committee about Gurunath Meiyappan's role with the Chennai Super Kings. Salve also said that: "Dhoni is an employee of India Cements and that leads to a conflict of interest."
The prosecution has also called for CSK to be suspended in the light of the allegations against Dhoni, which would be a huge blow for this season's IPL if that were to happen. While Srinivasan’s defense was that Meiyappan was not the team principal but just a cricket enthusiast, the Mudgal committee demolished that argument by finding found conclusive evidence to state Meiyappan was be the de facto head of CSK. “We found that most people associated with cricket did say he was a team official,” Justice Mukul Mudgal told Firstpost the day the report was released. “He was at the auction. We have concluded he was a team official and team officials are forbidden from betting.” What Salve is referring to is an implication in the report that Dhoni was economical with the truth as well. The report stated: "Mr. M.S. Dhoni, Mr. N. Srinivasan and officials of India Cements took the stand that Mr. Meiyappan had nothing to do with the cricketing affairs of Chennai Super Kings and was a mere cricket enthusiast supporting CSK.” It is worth remembering that in a 2011 interview with the Hindu Business Line, Meiyappan said the following: “Before every game, Dhoni, Fleming and I exchange our elevens at 5.45 p.m. (for the night matches).” And this: “Fleming and I spent countless hours in the lead-up to the auction. In the last three days, we conducted mock auctions, picked around 45 different combinations.” That certainly sounds like Meiyappan had a lot to do with the cricketing affairs of CSK. While the report draws no conclusions about the nature of the testimony, it suggests either Dhoni or Meiyappan was not telling the whole truth about the nature of the latter's association with the team. The facts would indicate it is Meiyappan who is telling the truth, not Dhoni. Now the prosecution has raised that issue with the Supreme Court, which if it is accepted as proved, is hugely damaging to Indian cricket, not just the BCCI. At the time the Mudgal Committee report came out, Firstpost wrote about Dhoni's false statements. You can read that story here. Also perhaps it needs to be noted that the investigation against Dhoni in his own conflict of interest case with Rhiti Sports simply was never conducted
4) Cricket: Skipper Sammy powers Windies past Australia:
West Indies captain Darren Sammy smashed an unbeaten 34 off 13 balls to virtually knock Australia out of the World Twenty20 with a dramatic last-over win in Dhaka on Friday.The West Indies, chasing Australia's challenging 178-8, appeared headed for defeat when they were 148-4 in 18 overs, still needing 31 runs from the last two overs.
But Sammy plundered 19 runs off paceman Mitchell Starc in the penultimate over and then hit two sixes in James Faulkner's final over to seal a six-wicket win with two balls to spare.It was the second win in three games for the defending champions in group two of the Super-10s. Australia's second successive loss meant they may not qualify for the semi-finals even if they beat India and Bangladesh in their remaining games.
Sammy and Dwayne Bravo (27 not out) put on a match-winning stand of 49 in 19 deliveries after opener Chris Gayle had hammered 53 off 35 balls at the start.
Gayle and Dwayne Smith put on 50 for the first wicket by the fifth over when Starc broke through by forcing Smith to edge a catch to wicket-keeper Brad Haddin.
Gayle, who began with four consecutive boundaries off Starc, was dropped by Haddin off Glenn Maxwell when he was on 26.
The left-hander hit six fours and two sixes when he fell in the 13th over, pulling 20-year-old leg-spinner James Muirhead to Maxwell on the deep mid-wicket fence.
Lendl Simmons and Marlon Samuels also fell in quick succession, but Sammy and Bravo counter-attacked to post a memorable win for the West Indies.
Earlier, Australia survived a spin assault to compile what appeared a commanding total after electing to take first strike.Six of the eight wickets fell to spinners, with Samuel Badree, Samuels and Sunil Narine claiming two wickets each.Maxwell hit 45 off 22 balls at the top of the order, while Brad Hodge chipped in with a 26-ball 35 during a sixth-wicket stand of 52 with Faulkner.Maxwell propelled the innings with a stunning knock that contained three sixes and five boundaries before he was fifth out in the 12th over with the total at 100.
Bangladesh vs. India, 24th Match, Group 2
Ban 138/7(20) | Ind 141/2(18.3)
Ind won by 8 wkts. Man of the match: Ravichandran Ashwin
Last 2 Overs: 1 1 . 1 1 . | 1 1 6
Bangladesh vs. India, 24th Match, Group 2
Ban 138/7(20) | Ind 141/2(18.3)
Ind won by 8 wkts. Man of the match: Ravichandran Ashwin
Last 2 Overs: 1 1 . 1 1 . | 1 1 6
5) Williams beats Sharapova for 15th straight time:
Between points, Serena Williams stood motionless behind the baseline with her back to the net, as if trying to match — or mimic — the methodical ritual of her opponent, Maria Sharapova.They took turns waiting on each other, the pace of play plodding, which only delayed the inevitable. Williams beat Sharapova for the 15th consecutive time Thursday, rallying in both sets to win 6-4, 6-3 in the Sony Open semifinals."I have always felt when I'm playing at my best, then it's hard for people to beat me," Williams said.Rafael Nadal could say the same. He advanced to the semifinals by hitting a flurry of forehand winners down the stretch to beat Milos Raonic 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
On Saturday, the No. 1-ranked Williams will try for a record seventh Key Biscayne title against No. 2 Li Na, who overcame 40 unforced errors to beat Dominika Cibulkova 7-5, 2-6, 6-3. Williams is 10-1 against Li.Williams improved to 16-2 against Sharapova, whose most recent victory in their rivalry came in 2004."Despite my results against her, I still look forward to playing against her because you learn so much from that type of level which she produces," Sharapova said. "You finish the match, and you know where you need to improve and the things that you need to work on."
Williams can credit a superior serve and better returns for her latest win. She hit nine aces and broke five times, which helped her rebound from deficits of 4-1 in the first set and 2-0 in the second."I wasn't playing my best," Williams said. "I knew if I wanted to stay in the tournament and make another final, I just had to play better."
She did, earning her 14th consecutive victory against a top-10 player.The No. 1-ranked Nadal, who is 0-3 in Key Biscayne finals, needs one more win to get there again. His opponent Friday night will be No. 7-seeded Tomas Berdych, who advanced by beating No. 22 Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4, 7-6 (3).Nadal has beaten Berdych 16 times in a row over the past seven years."This tournament is a tournament where I really feel the love of the people so much," Nadal said, "so I'm going to try my best to keep playing well."
Three-time champion Novak Djokovic will play in the other semifinal Friday against No. 20-seeded Kei Nishikori, who eliminated Roger Federer on Wednesday.
Williams first won Key Biscayne in 2002 and is the defending champion. A minority owner in the Miami Dolphins, she has worn the team's orange and turquoise throughout the tournament she considers her home event because she lives 90 minutes up Interstate 95."When I grew up I always wanted to play here," she said. "I guess I just don't want to let go. It's my favorite stop on the tour. It's home. All my friends come. So it's perfect for me."There was no evidence of a home-court advantage at the start, when Williams failed to convert four early break-point chances and fell behind. Sharapova cracked a succession of winners from the baseline and earned applause from Williams after besting her in one exchange.While Sharapova is notorious for her deliberate routine between points, Williams doesn't usually play so slowly."I just made some errors, and when that happened, I was just trying to regroup and get my mind back together and just try to get back focused and just try to get things going again," she said. "It just helps me to be able to relax. Sometimes I do get a little uptight."The approach worked. Williams broke back when Sharapova committed three consecutive backhand errors, and gained momentum from there, sweeping the final five games of the first set.The story was similar in the second set, and after falling behind, Williams resorted to her dominating power. She quickly won one game with two aces and two service winners during a stretch when she swept 11 consecutive points."In key moments she served really well today," Sharapova said. "Big serves. I got a few of them, but not good enough to get myself back in the point."Williams' rhythm and pace improved as the match progressed. She peaked at 122 mph."I hadn't been serving great too much this tournament, and then I started serving a lot better today," she said. "I was hitting 120. I was like, 'Whoa. Is that me?'"Sharapova committed groundstroke errors on the final three points, and a victorious Williams trotted to the net, her left fist leading the way.
6) Valcke: 'Time is flying' for Brazil World Cup:
Top FIFA official Jerome Valcke says "time is flying" toward the World Cup and getting three stadiums finished at the last minute presents "risks" with insufficient time to test the venues.Valcke, responsible for ensuring Brazil is ready in 11 weeks, met this week in Rio de Janeiro with organizing committee officials. Wrapping up the visit on Thursday, he assured that stadiums in Curitiba, Cuiaba and Sao Paulo would be ready when the World Cup opens on June 12 in Sao Paulo."We are late and we will have challenges," Valcke said. "And we will have a lot of work, and potentially some risks coming at the last minute because we have not tried and tested all the facilities."Valcke, who two years ago said Brazilian officials needed a "kick in the backside" to speed up work, repeated that theme again, but in much softer tones. He also reminded that much of the work in Brazil had been slowed by disputes over who pays for what — FIFA, local clubs or various levels of government.
"You cannot move the opening game of the World Cup to another stadium," he said. "It has to take place in Sao Paulo. There is no other choice. You have thousands of people who have bought tickets. ... We have to work all together to make sure it will happen."One reporter asked about the possibility of FIFA-initiated lawsuits.
"Well, I mean we have enough legal action against FIFA and all of us in Brazil," Valcke said. "We don't need to initiate one ourselves."Valcke said a fourth stadium, already opened in Porto Alegre, could be the most worrisome. He said Brazilian club Internacional and the local government settled a longstanding dispute about how to pay for temporary facilities, though no work has begun for the television compound, security, media and hospitality areas."All is written, all is signed and all the responsibilities or duties for each party are very well known," Valcke said.He said FIFA hopes to avoid the confusion about who pays for what in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, which is also using 12 stadiums."It's a lesson and definitely we will act differently," Valcke said. "We will have to find a different way of working for Russia 2018."
Jose Maria Marin, president of the Brazilian Football Confederation, told Sao Paulo newspaper Folha de S.Paulo this week "we'll all go to hell" if Brazil fails to win the World Cup at home.He offered the reminder again on Thursday."What (Brazilian) people really, really expect in the World Cup is to win the championship," Marin said, seated next to Valcke. "So we're still in purgatory. So either we all work together. ... or it's either to hell, or paradise or heaven. I'm confident we'll all go together to heaven."
7) Viswanathan Anand to meet Sergey Karjakin in the penultimate round of the Candidates Chess tournament:
As he approaches the big game against Russia's Sergey Karjakin, five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand would aim to carry forward his good from into the crucial 13th and penultimate round of the Candidates Chess tournament, here tomorrow.
The oldest competitor in the fray, Anand has thus far outlasted everyone else. The Indian's tryst with destiny to win the Candidates and earn the right to challenge tormentor Magnus Carlsen is well on track.And Karjakin is one last hurdle that Anand faces with black pieces before he has a white game against Peter Svidler of Russia in the final round.With 7.5 points in his bag from the first 12-rounds of this double round robin event, Anand has a full point lead over top seed Levon Aronian of Armenia who has 6.5 points.Karjakin and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan are the other two in contention with six points each while the other four players - Russian trio of Vladimir Kramnik, Dmitry Andreikin and Svidler and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria have an identical 5.5 points.
The one point lead for Anand is effectively 1.5 points lead as he beat Aronian 1.5-0.5 in their personal encounter.The tournament rules specify that in case of a tie for the top spot, the personal encounter between the tied players will be the first consideration to resolve the tie.And since Anand beat Aronian, it is clear that the Armenian will have to score half a point more than Anand if he has to win the tournament. Matching Anand on points is not an option for Aronian.
In the scenario, one point from the remaining two games will be enough for Anand to secure the tournament victory even if Aronian wins the last two rounds. The Armenian has a black game against Dmitry Andreikin before he plays his last game against Karjakin.The history here is in favour of Anand. The Indian ace has never lost to both Karjakin and Svidler in any Classical game ever and this would give Anand a lot of confidence. This fact could also be one of the reason Anand did not "tempt fate" in his own words in the previous round.
World Chess Championship 2014 Rematch Anand-Carlsen 0n 5Th N0v.
Bravo! Anand wins Candidatesfide in R12 with one round to go, draws Karjakin, to meet Carlsen for world chess match in Nov. Party-time for fans!
Book Of This Week:
To Kill a Mockingbird : By Harper Lee's :
The main story takes place during three years of the Great Depression in the fictional "tired old town" of Maycomb, Alabama, the seat of Maycomb County. It focuses on six-year-old Scout Finch, who lives with her older brother, Jem, and their widowed father, Atticus, a middle-aged lawyer. Jem and Scout befriend a boy named Dill, who visits Maycomb to stay with an aunt each summer. The three children are terrified of, and fascinated by, a neighbor, the reclusive "Boo" Radley. The adults of Maycomb are hesitant to talk about Boo, and few have seen him in many years. The children feed one another's imagination with rumors about his appearance and reasons for remaining hidden, and they fantasize about how to get him out of his house. After two summers of friendship with Dill, Scout and Jem find that someone leaves them small gifts in a tree outside the Radley place. Several times the mysterious Boo makes gestures of fondness to the children, but, to their disappointment, he never appears in person.
Atticus is appointed by the court to defend Tom Robinson, a black man who has been accused of raping a young white woman, Mayella Ewell. Although many of Maycomb's citizens disapprove, Atticus agrees to defend Tom. Other children taunt Jem and Scout for Atticus' actions, calling him a "nigger-lover". Scout is tempted to stand up for her father's honor by fighting, even though he has told her not to. For his part, Atticus faces a group of men intent on lynching Tom. This danger is averted when Scout, Jem, and Dill shame the mob into dispersing by forcing them to view the situation from Atticus' and Tom's points of view.
Because Atticus want them not to be present at the trial of Tom Robinson, Scout, Jem, and Dill watch from the colored balcony. Atticus establishes that the accusers – Mayella and her father, Bob Ewell, the town drunk – have continued to lie. It also becomes clear that the friendless Mayella made sexual advances toward Tom, and that her father caught her and beat her. Despite much credible evidence of Tom's innocence, the jury convicts him anyway. Jem's faith in justice becomes badly shaken, as is Atticus's, when the hapless Tom is shot to death while trying to escape from prison.
Despite the conviction of Tom, Bob Ewell's reputation is further ruined, and he vows revenge. He spits in Atticus's face, tries to break into the judge's house, and menaces Tom Robinson's widow. Finally he attacks the defenseless Jem and Scout while they walk home on a dark night after the school Halloween pageant. Jem's arm becomes broken during the struggle, but amid the confusion someone rescues the children. The mysterious man carries Jem home, where Scout realizes that he is Boo Radley.
Sheriff Tate arrives, checks the scene, and finds that Bob Ewell has died during the fight. The sheriff speaks with Atticus about the prudence and ethics of charging Jem (whom Atticus believes to be responsible) or Boo (whom Tate believes to be responsible). Atticus eventually accepts the sheriff's suggestion that Ewell simply fell on his own knife. Boo asks Scout to walk him home, so she does; after she says goodbye to him at his front door, he disappears again. While standing on the Radley porch, Scout imagines life from Boo's perspective, and she regrets that they've never repaid him for the gifts he gave them.
Nelle Harper Lee (born April 28, 1926) is an American novelist known for her 1961 Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird, which deals with the issues of racism that she observed as a child in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. Despite being Lee's only published book, it led to her being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature. Lee has received numerous honorary degrees but has always declined to make a speechOther significant contributions include assisting her close friend Truman Capote in his research for the book In Cold Blood.