Science News This Week:
1) Ancient crustacean had elaborate heart:
The early ancestors of insects, centipedes and crustaceans had big hearts.
A fossil from 520 million years ago shows that the now-extinct Fuxianhuia protensa had a broad spindly heart that extended into a complex system of arteries, which sent blood to the creature’s limbs and organs, including its brain, eyes and antennae. The new 7.6-centimeter-long fossil from Kunming, in southwest China, represents the earliest complete cardiovascular system found in an arthropod, Xiaoya Ma of London's Natural History Museumand colleagues report April 7 in Nature Communications. The discovery adds to F. protensa’srecord-breaking status: It also has one of the oldest brains identified to date (SN: 11/17/12, p. 11).
The structure of F. protensa’sblood vessels was similar to, and in some cases more complex than, what’s seen in modern crustaceans, suggesting that the ancient creature’s cardiovascular system may have provided the evolutionary basis for ones that developed in later crustaceans. The complex cardiovascular system may also have supported F. protensa’s sophisticated brain, giving the animal reasonably good senses of sight and smell to forage the oceans for food, the scientists write.
2) Speed of early universe’s expansion determined:
Rate known as Hubble constant now known with great precision for ancient universe. Ask an astronomer how fast the universe is currently expanding and you’ll get a fuzzy answer (SN: 4/5/14, p. 18). But thanks to a measurement with unprecedented precision, astronomers can now confidently cite the speed of cosmic expansion that was occurring nearly 11 billion years ago.
Physicists with the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey reported April 7 at a meeting of the American Physical Society that they had improved on their 2012 measurement (SN: 12/29/12, p. 9). They did so by tracking the distances to, and recession speeds of, gas clouds backlit by more than 140,000 distant ultrabright galaxies called quasars. BOSS pinned down a figure — the universe was stretching by 1 percent every 44 million years — with more precision than estimates of the universe’s current expansion rate have.Due to quasars’ extreme brightness, BOSS is the only expansion-rate survey able to probe the early universe, when gravity was slowing down the stretching of space-time triggered by the Big Bang. Scientists want to explore how, over time, gravity’s influence waned and dark energy took over, causing cosmic expansion to accelerate. Adding another layer of intrigue, BOSS’s measurement is slightly at odds with theoretical predictions, team physicist Andreu Font-Ribera of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory says.
10.8 billion years ago, universe was expanding by 1% every 44m years
Universe has expanded faster in the last 5 billion years due to dark energy
Scientists claim they can measure expansion of universe with 2% accuracy
Team used technique that made use of intergalactic hydrogen gas clouds
Intergalactic gas can be seen because it absorbs light from distant quasars
When spectrum of a quasar is studied, astronomers see the light emitted by the quasar and what happened to that light during its journey to Earth
3) Scalable, universal quantum computer? Quantum information processed with system comprising optical photon and trapped atom:
When it comes to recognizing complex patterns or to decoding encrypted messages, conventional computers reach their limits. A whole new quality in the communication and processing of data is expected from a technology that exploits the special properties of quantum particles such as superposition and entanglement. Scientists are pursuing a variety of different concepts towards the development of such a quantum computer. One professor follows the strategy of combining two rather dissimilar techniques: quantum communication using photons, and information processing using stationary atoms. His team has now for the first time realized a quantum logic gate between a single photon and a single atom.
When it comes to recognizing complex patterns or to decoding encrypted messages, conventional computers reach their limits. A whole new quality in the communication and processing of data is expected from a technology that exploits the special properties of quantum particles such as superposition and entanglement. Scientists around the world pursue a variety of different concepts towards the development of such a quantum computer. Prof. Gerhard Rempe, Director at the MPQ and head of the Quantum Dynamics Division, follows the strategy of combining two rather dissimilar techniques: quantum communication using photons, and information processing using stationary atoms. His team has now for the first time realized a quantum logic gate between a single photon and a single atom. The development of this hybrid device could be a milestone on the path to a scalable and universal quantum computer.Any modern computer operates according to a mathematical principle that was developed by German polymath Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz more than 300 years ago: information can be encoded in the binary system and processed via the application of logic operators. Logic gates are based on this principle. They deterministically generate output signals for any combination of input signals according to a so-called truth table. Nowadays, computers contain many millions of logic gates in the form of electronic circuits.
In the experiment described here, the binary states 0 and 1 are represented by the two spin orientations of an atom (upwards or downwards), and by two polarization states of an optical photon (left or right circular), respectively. In contrast to classical bits, these "quantum bits" can be in a coherent superposition of both states. In order to realize a quantum gate, the atom is trapped inside a cavity which is made of two high-finesse mirrors. The properties of the cavity are chosen in such a way that atom and cavity form a strongly coupled system. The light quanta are prepared as faint laser pulses containing less than one photon on average.
In a former experiment it has been shown that -- by a proper choice of parameters -- the light quanta are always reflected. What matters is the fact that for certain combinations of atomic and photonic input states the photons are reflected at the first mirror. For other combinations, however, they first enter the cavity, subsequently leaving it on the same path. Thereby, they experience a phase shift of 180 degrees. "This conditional phase shift is the prerequisite for the implementation of a truth table assigning output signals to any combination of input bits in a deterministic way, similar to a classical logic gate.," Dr. Stephan Ritter explains."In our experiment we measure both the polarization of the reflected photons and the spin orientation of the atom after the gate operation. At present, we achieve an efficiency of about 70%. By further improving the mirror parameters this value could be significantly improved," Andreas Reiserer says.
These measurements demonstrate that the hybrid atom-photon system can act as a classical logic gate. However, the true advantage of a quantum gate compared to a classical one is its ability to generate entangled states from separable input states. In order to test this specific behaviour, the scientists chose a combination of input bits that -- according to the rules of quantum mechanics -- must lead to an entangled state of atom and photon after the gate operation. Also in this case the gate mechanism worked as expected.By successively sending two laser pulses onto the system the physicists could even achieve entanglement between the atom and two photons. By clever manipulation of the atom in a second step it was disentangled, leaving a pair of two entangled photons. "These measurements demonstrate the versatility of the gate mechanism that even provides an interaction between two photons," Norbert Kalb says. "The mechanism should also allow generating entangled cluster states that consist of the atom and several photons."The development of this hybrid quantum logic gate could be a big step towards a universal quantum computer. "Quantum communication, using flying photons, and data processing with atoms or ions have been regarded as separate research fields so far," Prof. Gerhard Rempe says. "In our experiment we merge both techniques. In particular, our quantum gate could be easily implemented in a network in which atoms serve as stationary nodes for the storage of information, whereas photons transmit the information between these nodes, even over large distances. In this way we hope to contribute to the realization of a scalable quantum computer."
4) Genetic circuits: Bacterial 'FM radio' created:
Programming living cells offers the prospect of harnessing sophisticated biological machinery for transformative applications in energy, agriculture, water remediation and medicine. Inspired by engineering, researchers in the emerging field of synthetic biology have designed a tool box of small genetic components that act as intracellular switches, logic gates, counters and oscillators.But scientists have found it difficult to wire the components together to form larger circuits that can function as "genetic programs." One of the biggest obstacles? Dealing with a small number of available wires.A team of biologists and engineers at UC San Diego has taken a large step toward overcoming this obstacle. Their advance, detailed in a paper which appears in this week's advance online publication of the journal Nature, describes their development of a rapid and tunable post-translational coupling for genetic circuits. This advance builds on their development of "biopixel" sensor arrays reported in Nature by the same group of scientists two years ago.The problem the researchers solved arises from the noisy cellular environment that tends to lead to highly variable circuit performance. The components of a cell are intermixed, crowded and constantly bumping into each other. This makes it difficult to reuse parts in different parts of a program, limiting the total number of available parts and wires. These difficulties hindered the creation of genetic programs that can read the cellular environment and react with the execution of a sequence of instructions.The team's breakthrough involves a form of "frequency multiplexing" inspired by FM radio."This circuit lets us encode multiple independent environmental inputs into a single time series," said Arthur Prindle, a bioengineering graduate student at UC San Diego and the first author of the study. "Multiple pieces of information are transferred using the same part. It works by using distinct frequencies to transmit different signals on a common channel."The key that enabled this breakthrough is the use of frequency, rather than amplitude, to convey information. "Combining two biological signals using amplitude is difficult because measurements of amplitude involve fluorescence and are usually relative. It's not easy to separate out the contribution of each signal," said Prindle. "When we use frequency, these relative measurements are made with respect to time, and can be readily extracted by measuring the time between peaks using any one of several analytical methods."
While their application may be inspired by electronics, the UC San Diego scientists caution in their paper against what they see as increasing "metaphorization" of engineering biology.
"We explicitly make the point that since biology is often too intertwined to engineer in the way we are accustomed in electronics, we must deal directly with bidirectional coupling and quantitatively understand its effects using computational models," explained Prindle. "It's important to find the right dose of inspiration from engineering concepts while making sure you aren't being too reliant on your engineering metaphors."Enabling this breakthrough is the development of an intracellular wiring mechanism that enables rapid transmission of protein signals between the individual modules. The new wiring mechanism was inspired by a previous study in the lab on the bacterial stress response. It reduces the time lags that develop as a consequence of using proteins to activate or repress genes."The new coupling method is capable of reducing the signaling time delay between individual genetic circuits by more than an order of magnitude," said Jeff Hasty, a professor of biology and bioengineering at UC San Diego who headed the team of researchers and co-directs the university's BioCircuits Institute. "The state of the art has been about 20 to 40 minutes, but we can now do it in less than one minute.""This study is an outstanding example of the power of interdisciplinary systems biology approaches, which treat our cells like integrated pathways and networks instead of a collection of individual components," said Sarah Dunsmore, a program manager at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which finances a National Center for Systems Biology at UC San Diego that supported the research. "By combining the complexity of naturally occurring biological processes with engineering principles, Dr. Hasty and colleagues have produced a model that will provide the basis for creating genetic circuits that can be used to study human health and disease."
"What's really exciting about this coupling method is the particular way we did it," said Prindle. "Rather than trying to build from scratch, we made use of the enzyme machinery that the cell uses for rapid and precise signaling during times of stress. This is an appealing strategy because it lets us take advantage of the advanced machinery that nature has already evolved."Hasty credited Prindle for coming up with the idea for the study and carrying it through. "Beyond his modeling and bench skills, I've been extremely impressed by Arthur's ingenuity and drive," said Hasty. "This project arose from his creativity at the outset and he had the raw energy and excitement to carry it to the end."
5) Diamond ring shape formed by dead and living stars:
Unusually round, planetary nebula Abell 33 aligns with foreground star A chance alignment of stars has created a diamond ring–like image.
Abell 33 is the ghostly remnant of a dead star, a planetary nebula about 3 light-years across and 2,500 light-years from Earth in the Hydra constellation. Like other old stars, Abell 33 inflated to many times its original size. As powerful stellar winds overtook gravity’s inward pull, the bulk of the star blew gently into space and formed the nebula. The star’s core stayed behind to become a white dwarf, a hot, compact ball about the size of Earth.
In a new image from the Very Large Telescope in Chile, Abell 33 appears as an expanding blue bubble. Ultraviolet radiation from the white dwarf, the point of light near the nebula’s center, causes ionized oxygen to glow blue. Abell 33’s nearly perfect symmetry is rare for planetary nebulae: Usually, something distorts the gas. The brilliant star perched on the edge of the nebula is a lucky accident, a chance alignment with a star sitting roughly one-third of the way between Earth and Abell 33.
6) Squirting moons face off in race to find alien life:
Ice-bound seas just keep getting hotter – at least as candidates for life beyond Earth. Fresh discoveries have put two moons in our solar system neck and neck in the race.
In December, astronomers announced hints of watery plumes spurting from Jupiter's large moon Europa, potentially giving us a peek into a vast ocean likely to exist beneath its ice. Saturn's moon Enceladus stole back the limelight last week, when NASA reported firm evidence of an ocean linked to geysers at its south pole (see diagram, below).NASA's Cassini spacecraft flew through the geysers and detected water, salts and carbon-based molecules. These are encouraging signs for habitability, but it was unclear whether the geysers were erupting from an ocean or from water pockets that wouldn't last long enough for life to get a toehold.
Cassini scientist Luciano Iess at the Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, and colleagues have now mapped Enceladus's gravity and shown that it has a crescent-shaped ocean, holding about as much water as Lake Superior in North America.The constantly gushing geysers would let us easily sample those seas, making Enceladus a prime target for a life-seeking mission, says Cassini scientist Carolyn Porco. Cassini can't look for signs of life directly, but all a future mission would need to do is fly past and scoop up some of the plume for analysis, avoiding a tricky landing on the moon's surface."The habitable zone of Enceladus remains the most well studied, well understood and accessible of all the destinations for finding life or studying precursor chemistry," says Porco. "Some of us are already conjuring up ways to get back there and do just that."
Europa, meanwhile, appears to be entirely covered by an ocean, sandwiched between a rocky core and a thin ice crust. Models suggest that the moon can host geothermal vents, which would be hotspots for marine life, and now we have hints that Europa spurts plumes of water intermittently.Data from NASA's Galileo probe, which orbited Jupiter from 1995 to 2003, show clay-like minerals on Europa's surface – probably debris from meteor impacts, and that may contain life-building organic compounds. Galileo also hints that Europa's ice crust has active plate tectonics, which would let nutrients from the surface make their way into the liquid ocean.
It looks promising, but as a target for future missions, Europa has some drawbacks. Sampling the ocean may require a probe to land and drill through the ice, since we don't know for sure if the plumes are fed by it. And Jupiter's strong magnetic field means that intense radiation surrounds the moon, which makes it difficult for spacecraft to operate.
One more fly-by
For now Europa is slightly ahead – in terms of funding. NASA's budget for next year includes $15 million to design possible missions there, and the agency is inviting proposals for instruments a probe could carry.Could Cassini yet yield insights that would swing things in favour of Enceladus? The craft is in its twilight years and will end its mission in 2017. But first it will fly by Enceladus one more time, and the team will be watching for any molecular hydrogen in the plumes. Hydrogen is very short-lived, so seeing molecules would suggest something is replenishing them – hinting at possible biological activity."Europa is a good-sized moon, but Enceladus is tiny. That thing should be frozen solid and dead as a doorbell," says NASA program scientist Curt Niebur, who heads the committee that will evaluate science instruments for a Europa mission. "Instead it's incredibly lively. That's amazing."They're both unbelievably good candidates, which is the shocking thing: that we have not just one but two candidates for seeking life beyond Earth."
Movie Release This Week:
The entire cast of the animated smash RIO returns in RIO 2, and they are joined by a new flock of top actors and musical talents. Rich with grandeur, character, color and music, RIO 2 finds Jewel (Anne Hathaway), Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and their three kids leaving their domesticated life in that magical city for a journey to the Amazon. They encounter a menagerie of characters who are born to be wild, voiced by Oscar nominee Andy Garcia, Oscar/Emmy/Tony-winner Rita Moreno, Grammy winner Bruno Mars, and Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth.
On January 18, 2003, police, alerted by a frantic 911 call from a distraught pair of teenage girls, arrived at the girls Toronto area town house to find their mother dead. It appeared the 44-year-old alcoholic, having slipped into a booze-and-pill stupor, drowned in her own bathwater. The death was ruled accidental by the authorities. In the months that followed, however, police were alerted to rumours and reports that the teenagers had been gossiping to friends about the accident. Police began piecing together rumours that suggested the teens might have had a hand in their mother's death. In fact, rather than an accident, the story that emerged portrayed the two teens as cold-blooded, premeditated killers.
An NFL general manager (Kevin Costner) faces tough decisions on draft day in this sports drama from director Ivan Reitman.
Ten years ago, tragedy struck the Russell family, leaving the lives of teenage siblings Tim and Kaylie forever changed when Tim was convicted of the brutal murder of their parents. Now in his 20s, Tim is newly released from protective custody and only wants to move on with his life; but Kaylie, still haunted by that fateful night, is convinced her parents’ deaths were caused by something else altogether: a malevolent supernatural force unleashed through the Lasser Glass, an antique mirror in their childhood home. Determined to prove Tim's innocence, Kaylie tracks down the mirror, only to learn similar deaths have befallen previous owners over the past century. With the mysterious entity now back in their hands, Tim and Kaylie soon find their hold on reality shattered by terrifying hallucinations, and realize, too late, that their childhood nightmare is beginning again…
A strike team of mercenaries hunt for a missing naval vessel. Upon finding the ship, they find out that the crew has been infected and are members of the walking dead.
Political News Of This Week:
1) Deserted wife fasts and prays for Modi to become PM:
inadvertently been drawn in the political slugfest by Narendra Modi's rivals to target him, but decades of separation from Gujarat chief minister has not embittered Jashodaben, who fasts and prays for her husband to become the prime minister.
The reclusive 62-year-old retired school teacher has vowed not to eat rice and remain bare-footed until she has seen her husband ensconced in the prime minister's chair, says Jashodaben's brother Kamlesh."Jashodaben wishes from her heart that from being a chief minister, he (Modi) rises to become the prime minister of the country. She prays for that," he said.Jashodaben, has now proceeded on a 'char dhaam yatra' to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri for fulfilment of the wish.
Living in a small village Ishwarwada in Mehasana district of North Gujarat with her two brothers, Jashodaben, according to her family, is a devout person and leads a simple life."She wakes up early in the morning, prays and visits temple....after that she is busy with her daily routine. She also watches news and reads all newspaper reports about him," Kamlesh said."Also, if someone speaks ill of him (Modi), she does not tolerate it. Otherwise, she is very mild-natured and never raises her voice against anybody," he said.Eldest of our four siblings, Jashodaben got married to Modi in 1968 aged barely 17 years.
In an interview published in a Gujarati weekly magazine, Jashodaben had said their stay together was very brief.Modi, who soon after their marriage left his home to become a RSS pracharak, had inspired her to study further after which she pursued her Primary Teachers Training course and got a job.Modi's elder brother Somabhai on Thursday said the BJP leader's marriage to Jashodaben had "turned out" to be a "social formality"."Our parents had not studied much and we were a poor family. To them, Narendra was like any other child. In such context, our parents conducted his marriage at a tender age with Jashodaben, but it turned out to be just a social formality for the sake of it," Somabhai had said.
2) Mulayam stands by Ladkon se galti ho jati hai comment on rape:
Seeking to wriggle out of his controversial remarks on rape, Mulayam Singh Yadav on Friday said "no one respects women more than Samajwadi Party" but stuck to his stand that the "wrong" anti-rape law should be amended."Today there is nobody in the country who respects women more than Samajwadi Party," the SP supremo said at elections meetings.At the same time, he said, "We will not let the wrong (anti-rape) law to continue..."
Yadav had on Thursday questioned the death penalty for rape, saying "mistakes" by boys happen sometimes, sparking outrage among rival parties and women's groups.
Unfazed by the criticism, the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister maintained that there was a need to change the new anti-rape law so that those misusing it are punished.
At his poll meetings on Friday, he said there was a debate going on the world over on the issue of capital punishment and several countries have banned it. "There should be debate on the same in India also," he said."We will not let the wrong law to continue...all those lodging fake cases and who are behind them should get punishment," he said, adding that there are several people facing life sentences.Advocating that those who file fake rape reports needed to be "severely punished", Yadav said "sternest of actions" should be taken in rape cases, but innocents should not be framed.Questioning the death sentence to three men who were convicted of two gang-rapes in Mumbai recently, he had on Thursday asked, "Should rape cases be punished with hanging?” "Ladke, ladke hain. Galti ho jati hai (Boys are boys. Mistakes happen sometimes)," he had told an election rally in Moradabad."What have I said (is it) wrong? Whosoever lodges fake report should be punished. Today there is a debate going on in the country on my remarks and it is good as results would come out of such debates in democracy... people have started talking in my favour on this issue," he said on Friday while clarifying his rape remarks.
3) Kerala and Madurai, nurseries for terror in India:
If the words of Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative Abdul Karim Tunda are to be believed, then Bharatiya Janata Party’s assessment of Kerala, the God’s own country, turning into a nursery for terrorism may well be true.The discarded Lashkar bomber, who was recently arrested after a 27 year hunt, has reportedly told investigators that there are roughly around 130 operatives of the outfit in India; at least 80 of them are based in parts of Kerala and Madurai in Tamil Nadu.
He added that none of these trained operatives has been actively involved in any attack, but could be summoned at any given time.Another aspect that came to light during Tunda’s interrogation is that none of these operative works under the Lashkar’s banner. Instead, they rely on small-time political outfits.
Currently, the Al-Ummah, which is directly connected to the Lashkar, is the deadliest of all the groups operating in southern India.According to Tunda, the Lashkar first realised the potential of home-grown terrorists when in December 2007 it started a camp in Vagamon, a hill station located in Kottayam-Idukki border of Kottayam district of Kerala.
Tunda revealed that the mindset of these operatives of the Students Islamic Movement of India under their chief Safdar Nagori was completely different; their aggression impressed the Lashkar leadership.It was at this camp that the Indian Mujahideen was born.
Tunda claimed that for the Lashkar, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are fertile grounds. Investigators said quoting Tunda, ‘The impetus is not so much on carrying blasts, but rather on changing the people’s mindset. These operatives indulge in rioting, polarising Muslim votes and small-time political activities. So far they have managed to create a major divide between communities in few parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This has only led to more recruitment.’ According to intelligence agencies, nearly 50 to 100 youth are enrolled into terror camps being organised across Kerala. A camp at Aluva in Kerala is under the radar of the Intelligence Bureau.
Such camps are very often conducted right under the nose of the district administration. With Bihar high on the radar of intelligence agencies, several operatives have taken shelter in Kerala in the recent months. IM terrorists like Yasin Bhatkal, Tehsin Akhtar and Waqas Ahmed were reportedly spotted in parts of Kerala after carrying out major attacks. Tehsin and Waqas had in fact taken shelter in Munnar for a long time and the state administration had no clue about this.
4) LS poll 2014: Record turnout in phase 3 :
April 10: The third phase of the Lok Sabha election 2014 will be held in 11 states and three Union Territories (UTs) on Thursday. Delhi (7 seats), Odisha (10 seats), Jharkhand (4 seats), Andamans, Chandigarh, Lakshadweep, Jammu and Kashmir and Chhattisgarh (1 seat each), Madhya Pradesh (9 seats), Maharashtra (10 seats), Uttar Pradesh (10 seats), Kerala (20 seats), Haryana (10 seats) and Bihar (6 seats) will go the elections today. Election in the Hazaribagh seat in Jharkhand was postponed owing to the Ram Navami celebrations.
In UP (voter turnout): Aligarh 60.04%,Baghpat 65.6%, Bijnor 65.38%, Bulandshahr 29.36%, Gautam Buddh Nagar 58.83%, Ghaziabad 60.2%, Hapur 63%, Meerut 62.68%, Muzaffarnagar 62.68%, Kairana 70.85%, Saharanpur 70.64% In Delhi (voter turnout): Chandni Chowk 65.1%, North East Delhi 66.6%, East Delhi 64%, New Delhi 65.9%, North West Delhi 61.2%, West Delhi 64.4%, South Delhi 63% 7.17 pm: Maharashtra saw 56% polling. In 2009, it saw 55.7% polling. Kerala saw 75% polling. Last time, it was 73.52% in the southern state. Jharkhand saw 58% polling. Last time, it was 50.9%. MP saw 66% polling. Last time, it was 53.66%. Jammu and Kashmir saw 65% polling. In 2009, the figure was 49%.
5) Indians vote in first phase of giant general election:
Indians have voted in the first phase of a general election which pits the governing Congress party against the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.The nine-phase vote got under way in the north-eastern states of Assam and Tripura and will conclude on 12 May. Votes will be counted on 16 May.More than 814 million Indians are eligible to vote in a poll dominated by corruption and high inflation.An anti-corruption party the AAP offers another challenge to the main parties.The Aam Aadmi (Common Man's) Party) secured a spectacular result in local polls in Delhi last autumn and is fielding candidates in all of parliament's 543 elected seats. Several smaller regional parties are also in the fray and if no single party wins a clear majority, they could play a crucial role in government formation.
India's marathon vote is being staggered over more than a month for security and logistical reasons.On the first day of voting, polling took place in six constituencies in two states in the north-east - five in Assam and one in Tripura.Voters began queuing up outside the polling centres even before voting began in the morning, the BBC's Sanjoy Majumder in Assam says.
A large number of the voters who turned up were women, dressed in colourful saris and some draped in Assamese shawls.Many smiled happily after they had voted, holding up their fingers stained with indelible ink, a sign that they had exercised their right, our correspondent adds."We need good people in government," said one of them. Assam is a Congress party stronghold but the BJP is hoping to make inroads there.
The state is dotted with plantations growing the world-famous Assam tea and has more than six million eligible voters.Brisk polling was registered in the state. Officials put turnout at about 75%.The strong turnout is a sign, many believe, that voters are frustrated and want a change, our correspondent adds.The main contest in the elections is between the Congress, led by Rahul Gandhi, the latest member of India's influential Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, and the BJP, led by the charismatic and controversial Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi.Mr Modi, who is ahead in all the pre-election surveys, is the leader of Gujarat state, which witnessed one of India's worst anti-Muslim riots in 2002.The BJP has promised to improve the economy and infrastructure and curb corruption if it wins in the general elections.The party launched its manifesto hours after polling began for the first phase. "Today the country has become stagnant. It is drowned in pessimism. It needs momentum to move forward," Mr Modi said at the launch of the manifesto.
The Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) has 543 elected seats and any party or a coalition needs a minimum of 272 MPs to form a government.Some 814 million voters - 100 million more than at the last elections in 2009 - are eligible to vote at 930,000 polling stations, up from 830,000 polling stations in 2009.Electronic voting machines will be used and will, for the first time, contain a None of the Above (Nota) button - an option for voters who do not want to cast their ballot for any of the candidates.The Congress party has promised "inclusive growth" if it returns to power.In its election manifesto, the party promised a raft of welfare schemes, including a right to healthcare for all and pensions for the aged and disabled.
6) Bijapur: Two CRPF jawans injured in Naxal blast:
polling in Chattisgarh's Bastar Lok Sabha seat, two security personnel were on Friday injured in a pressure bomb blast carried out by Naxals in the insurgency-hit Bijapur district of the region, police said.
"The blast occurred when a joint Road Opening Party of the Central Reserve Police Force and district force was on an operation for sanitising the area for the movement of polling party returning to their fold after voting, in Dubaiguda forest of Awapalli region”, Bijapur Additional Superintendent of Police Abhishek Meena told PTI."During operation, a Central Reserve Police Force jawan and a state police personnel came in contact with the pressure bomb that exploded, injuring both of them," he said.
Reinforcement was rushed to the spot soon after news of the incident was received. The injured personnel were being airlifted and referred to Raipur for treatment, Meena said.Amid tight security, the Maoist-hit Bastar constituency of Chhattisgarh went to the polls in the first phase of parliamentary election in the state on Thursday where 52 per cent voter turnout was recorded.
7) In 2004, Rahul Gandhi told the press that he had a girlfriend, Veronique Cartelli, a Spanish architect who lives in Venezuela:
Rahul Gandhi girlfriend Veronique Cartelli is actually of Spanish origin but living and working in Venezuela. In addition, we also have an information on what kind of a work she does and we can tell you that she is an architect. Before getting involved with Veronique Cartelli, Rahul Ghandi was in a relationship with a Colombian and many people across India are not approving that he is dating girls that have no Indian origins. But he obviously doesn’t care about what other people say.
Rahul Gandhi girlfriend Veronique Cartelli and the scandal
We are used to scandals when it comes to politicians and one did hit Rahul Ghandi career recently. Rahul Gandhi girlfriend Veronique Cartelli and he himself got arrested in the USA namely in Boston for caring way too much money in cash without stating it at the airport. However, the police soon let them go. We are now waiting for their safe marriage.
8) Shoe hurled at Hillary Clinton during speech in Vegas:
female protester has thrown a shoe at Hillary Clinton, the former US Secretary of State, while she was delivering a speech in Las Vegas, media reports said.The woman was immediately taken into federal custody by the Secret Service.
Clinton, who is widely expected to run for the 2015 presidential elections, had to dodge as the protester hurled her footwear at her during her keynote address to the annual convention of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries."Is that somebody throwing something at me?" Clinton asked, putting her right hand above her eyes to cut the glare of lights from the stage, Las Vegas Review Journal reported."Is that part of Cirque du Soleil?" she quipped amidst laughter from the audience.
"My goodness, I didn't know that solid waste management was so controversial...Thank goodness she didn't play softball like I did," she said.The Secret Service said the women, who wished not to be identified, sneaked in the auditorium with a capacity of some 1,000 people.
Sports News This Week:
1) Indian Cricket Team Fixed Every Team In T20 World Cup 2014 except Sri Lanka , which caused losses in Final:
India vs. Sri Lanka
130/4 (20) 134/4 (17.5)
Sri Lanka won by 6 wickets
Winning world events is an ugly business. Even aspiring to win is. Ask Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. Before tonight they had reached finals four times, wanting desperately to win, and ended up with broken hearts each time. On a night that these two champion players finally got that monkey off their backs - in their last Twenty20 international match - another champion player played a poignant, cagey innings that cost his side the final. Yuvraj Singh, India's limited-overs talisman for so long, came in at 64 for 2 in the 11th over, scored 11 off 21, denied the unstoppable Virat Kohli the strike, and that spell of play resulted in the lowest first-innings total in a World Twenty20 final and the second-lowest score for the loss of only four wickets.
Title matches consume the vanquished. This final may have put down one of the all-time limited-overs greats, but just ask Jayawardene and Sangakkara, the redemption didn't come easy. India defended the small total admirably, preying on the Sri Lankan nerves, fielding everything down, spinning a web around the batsmen, but the two champions somehow had enough in them to take their side over the line. Under palpable pressure, against a shrewd limited-overs captain, Jayawardene settled the early nerves with a run-a-ball 24, and Sangakkara saw the chase through with an ice-cool unbeaten 52 off 35.
Big finals are a cruel business, though, and history will remember Yuvraj's knock as much as it will Sangakkara's. He has won India matches from nowhere on innumerable occasions, he has buried sides with his cameos, he has turned around games in 10 balls, which is why he was still part of the team in the final. MS Dhoni trusted his match-winner, and sent him in ahead of Suresh Raina and himself. Kohli, now the leading run-scorer in any World Twenty20, had just begun to put behind him a slow start against disciplined Sri Lankan bowling. He had even been dropped by opposition captain Lasith Malinga on 11. He was in a mood to make them pay.
Sri Lanka, though, kept their wits, and gave Yuvraj nothing to score off. That too after Kohli had laced the otherwise frugal Nuwan Kulasekara for six, four and six in the 16th over to make it 111 for 2. That over featured another slip in the fielding when the fielder at cow corner was lobbed after misjudging a catch. Normally you would expect teams to fall apart at these times, but Sri Lanka produced four superb overs.
In the 17th, Yuvraj faced two dots from Sachithra Senanayake, who gave him no pace or room to work with. Malinga bowled the next over, and was happy with a single to Kohli first ball. Then came a yorker outside off. The dugout began to become edgy by now. They badly needed Yuvraj to come off now, and make up for the 9 off 17 he had made till now. You can't even begin to imagine what it would have been like being Kohli there, the best batsman of the tournament, but now without the strike to make the difference. When Kohli got the strike fourth ball, Malinga again produced a low wide one that he couldn't get under, and went on to bowl another dot to Yuvraj before the over ended. That dot was a yorker wide outside off, which went past and very near Yuvraj's outside edge, and that Sangakkara didn't appeal loudly for it said all you needed to know about Yuvraj's innings.
2) Armstrong provides names in written testimony:
Lance Armstrong has given sworn testimony naming several people he says knew about his performance-enhancing drug use, insisting he didn't pay anyone or any organization to keep his doping secret.The testimony came in written answers to questions in a lawsuit that was settled in late 2013. The previously undisclosed documents were filed this week as part of the federal whistle-blower lawsuit over his team's sponsorship by the U.S. Postal Service that could lead to fines in excess of $100 million.
Armstrong said those who provided him with performance-enhancing drugs included trainer Pepi Marti, Dr. Pedro Celaya, Dr. Luis Garcia del Moral and Dr. Michele Ferrari, all of whom were involved with Armstrong's teams or part of his entourage. He also said team manager Johan Bruyneel assisted his doping. Each of them has previously denied they aided Armstrong's doping.
Armstrong also said he believed former U.S. Postal Team financier Thomas Weisel knew of his doping, which Weisel has denied.After years of denials, Armstrong first admitted doping during his career in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January 2013.His testimony is part of a lawsuit filed by Acceptance Insurance, which wanted repayment of $3 million in performance bonuses paid to him. Armstrong settled the case for an undisclosed sum before he was scheduled to answer questions in person under oath.
His written answers are now part of the federal whistle-blower case initially filed by Armstrong's former teammate Floyd Landis. The federal government has joined the case.
Armstrong has so far refused to provide sworn testimony to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. It was USADA's detailed report in 2012 of drug use by Armstrong's U.S. Postal Service team that led to him being stripped of the seven Tour de France titles he won from 1999 to 2005.
USADA has questioned whether Armstrong paid officials at the International Cycling Union to keep his doping secret. Armstrong has said in interviews that former UCI president Hein Verbruggen helped him cover up doping at the 1999 Tour de France, a charge Verbruggen has denied.In his written answers, Armstrong insisted there was not payment for a cover-up."Armstrong has not paid or offered to pay someone to keep his or others' doping a secret," Armstrong said. "However, Armstrong has, on occasion, provided benefits or made contributions to many people and institutions, some of whom may have been aware of, or suspected Armstrong's use of performance-enhancing drugs and banned methods. Armstrong never provided any such benefits or contributions with the intent for it to be a payoff to keep doping a secret."
3) Pacquiao has lost his fire, says Bradley before rematch:
Timothy Bradley Jr. believes a lengthy and successful career has sapped Manny Pacquiao of his motivation, and that their WBO welterweight title bout on Saturday may be one fight too many for the Filipino legend."I think he may lack fire," the American told journalists in Las Vegas."His motivation is not there. He's been at the top for a very long time. He has over 60 fights in the ring with all the best. He's 36 years old. Maybe this is one fight too late for him."Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs) is defending the WBO belt he won from Pacquiao in a controversial fight in June 2012. Most ringside observers felt Pacquiao won comfortably, but after 12 rounds Bradley was awarded a split decision victory.In the aftermath, Bradley says, fans aimed their anger at him.
"I got letters from fans belittling me like crazy, telling me I'm not a true champion," he said, adding that he also received an anonymous death threat in the mail.
"It's really hard to swallow. That night, man, I did my job. I thought the fight was very close. I thought the decision could go either way. But the fact that they gave it to me - I thought it was fair."If the winner's experience in the aftermath was negative, the man who officially lost the fight seems to be at ease with what happened.
"In this sport, sometimes you're on the winner's side, sometimes you're on the loser's side, so you have to prepare for that," Pacquiao told reporters at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where the fight will take place.
"I never complain. In boxing, it's part of the sport. If you don't want to lose, then don't fight."But Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs) is facing questions as the rematch approaches. He has not scored a knockout since stopping Miguel Cotto in November 2009, and was himself knocked out at the end of the sixth round by Juan Manuel Marquez in his first outing after the Bradley fight.Pacquiao professes to be unconcerned by his recent knockout drought, asserting that he was on the verge of stopping Marquez until walking into a right hand from the Mexican."If he didn't get me in six rounds, by seven rounds I could have finished him," he said. "But by being careless, that's what happened."
Besides, he argued, "if the knockout comes, it comes, but my focus is to be aggressive and throw a lot of punches and make the fans happy."
Bradley, on the other hand, is confident that this time he is the one who will be making fans happy.
"I know this is my time," he said. "It's my time, it's my moment."
4) It must be hard to be Messi, Barca coach says:
Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino has defended Lionel Messi following sharp criticism of the four-times World Player of the Year's limp performance in Wednesday's Champions League defeat at Atletico Madrid.Messi, who has excelled in so many past appearances in Europe's elite club competition, was strangely subdued during the 1-0 reverse at the Calderon, which sent Atletico through to the last four 2-1 on aggregate."It is so hard to be Leo Messi in this life and playing football," Martino, who comes from Messi's home town of Rosario in Argentina, said at a news conference previewing Saturday's La Liga match at Granada."Basically because everything is so unfair. When he doesn't play as well as people expect him to he ends up being criticised very strongly," he added. "I think it must be very hard to be him."
Barca will need Messi to make a swift return to top form if they are to rescue their season following Wednesday's failure to reach the Champions League semi-finals for what would have been a record-extending seventh consecutive edition.They are a point behind La Liga leaders Atletico, who play at Getafe on Sunday, with six games left and play arch rivals Real Madrid in Wednesday's King's Cup final in Valencia.Martino, in his first season in charge of a European club, said Barca's Champions League exit had been a painful experience and even winning La Liga and the Cup would not dispel the sense of failure."I will be happy if we win any other tournament but for me being the new one playing in Europe and the expectations I had for the Champions League this was a failure and will remain a failure no matter what happens," he told reporters.
"After what we went through a team cannot be on top emotionally speaking, but we understand there is no time for grieving. What happened happened and now we must focus on what comes next."Martino will need to reshuffle his defence for the trip to Granada after Marc Bartra picked up an injury in training on Friday and joined fellow centre back Gerard Pique in the treatment room.Alex Song or Sergio Busquets may be drafted in to play alongside Javier Mascherano, who is also a converted midfielder, as captain Carles Puyol has yet to make his return after injury.
5) Mercedes driver duel has hidden depths:
The rivalry between Mercedes team mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg produced an epic battle under the floodlights in Bahrain last weekend but what Formula One fans saw was just the tip of the iceberg.Behind the scenes, on separate sides of the garage and with teams of engineers trawling through banks of data, another duel unfolded witnessed only by those privileged few on the inside."One of the new games you can play in Formula One is energy management," Mercedes executive technical director Paddy Lowe told reporters after his team's third win in three races this season and second one-two finish."There are opportunities to manage your energy flow, save it up perhaps and play it out in different places. The team are very well practised and trained in doing all that and how to use that with the drivers."And what we saw during that last 10 laps was not only the drivers competing but each side of the garage competing in terms of playing the game of energy deployment. A cat and mouse game, staying ahead of the other with the energy around the lap."Last season Formula One had just the KERS kinetic energy recovery system which provided a limited boost for overtaking and defending a position.The new rules have seen the old V8 engines replaced by a V6 turbo and ERS - energy recovery systems - harnessing exhaust gases and brake heat, which provide a much greater boost and more strategy options.Which is where the engineers play a bigger role, like a game of high speed chess.
"Obviously you wouldn't be very aware of that although you may have heard a lot of strategy calls on the radio. That was a pretty exciting internal aspect to that competition," said Lowe."They (the driver's separate teams of engineers) can see each other's data so they immediately know ‘OK, he's done that, you do this'. You could hear all of this going on."
The drivers are also delving deep into the data, with Mercedes maintaining an open policy on sharing everything between the two.Both before and after the race Hamilton, victorious in Malaysia and Bahrain, and Australian GP winner Rosberg immersed themselves in their rivals' telemetry searching for anything that might tip the balance.
With the team still unlocking the potential of the new power units, the unseen engineers are playing a massive role."We're in a period of time where technology is everything," said Hamilton."You don't see what goes on in the (engineers') room. You can't predict anything, everything's changing all the time from session to session...the target's moving all the time still, for us, and we're trying to pinpoint the setup on that target."As a driver and engineer it's massively challenging. It's really good fun for us back in there but you don't get to see that stuff, what goes on behind closed doors."After Hamilton's dominant win from pole at Sepang, the team conducted an exhaustive analysis of the data to see where he had made the difference."Someone in the team did a huge study on my pace last week and, as I arrived (in Bahrain)...there was this big document with all the reasons why I was quick. And he (Rosberg) used that to his advantage," Hamilton revealed.In Bahrain, Rosberg showed how much the labours had paid off, even if it is a circuit he has always liked. He started on pole position and the two crossed the finish line barely a second apart."A lot of the advantages that I had in the last race Nico found them as we came here and applied them and did even better," said Hamilton."So I've got to go now and find out what he did better than me and see if I can improve for the next race."
Book Of This Week:
Sphere by Michael Crichton:
A group of scientists, including psychologist Norman Johnson, mathematician Harry Adams, biologist Beth Halpern, and astrophysicist Ted Fielding, along with U.S. Navy personnel, are dispatched to a deep sea habitat at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean to explore a crashed spacecraft.
To their surprise, they discover the spacecraft is not alien, but an American spacecraft constructed in the future and accidentally sent through time, "arriving" 350 years before its creation. On further exploration, the team discovers a mysterious spherical artifact, clearly of extraterrestrial origin, which quickly becomes the focus of their attention. Harry becomes quite certain that, because the ship's future builders didn't seem to learn that their ship had already been discovered, the members of the team aren't likely to survive. At this point, a storm traps the scientists on the ocean floor without contact or support from the surface for over a week.
The crew soon focuses on asking questions about the sphere and then on attempting to open it and learn about its nature, contents, and origin. Harry eventually succeeds in opening it and goes inside. Upon returning, he has a terrible headache and he remembers little about what happened inside or how he opened it. The scientists are eventually contacted by an intelligent, seemingly-friendly lifeform which calls itself Jerry, apparently from within the sphere. It first contacts them via a numeric code, which Harry translates. But while they struggle to communicate with Jerry, increasingly bizarre and deadly events occur, including the appearance of "impossible" sea creatures that Beth claims can not exist. Jerry tells them he is "manifesting" the creatures. Members of the team start to die in various attacks by sea life, and the dwindling survivors struggle to placate the unthinkably powerful, childlike, and temperamental Jerry.
Norman suddenly has an important role when he realizes he must use psychology to keep the surviving team (now only himself, Beth, and Harry) alive by placating Jerry. Translating the original code himself, though, Norman discovers that Jerry is actually Harry: by entering the sphere, Harry acquired the power to manifest his subconscious thoughts into reality. As Harry noted his childhood fears of squid and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, he has unconsciously created them as an enemy.
Beth and Norman tranquilize Harry with a powerful mixture of sedatives and wait for contact to be re-established with the surface. However, although Harry is sedated, the manifestations continue. Beth accuses Norman of having entered the sphere and gaining access to the power. Though unable to recall this incident, Norman is close to yielding until he watches a security video of Beth entering the sphere herself. Concluding that Norman is a threat to her, Beth irrationally plants potent explosives around the spacecraft and habitat and then attempts to suffocate Norman with the habitat's climate systems. Norman escapes to the spacecraft and, figuring out at last how to open it, enters the sphere. Norman begins to ascend by himself in the submarine, but realizes that he could never leave the others to die. Now with the same power of thought as Harry and Beth, Norman fights Beth and brings both her and Harry to the escape submarine before the explosives destroy the site.
Afterward, while in a surface decompression chamber, the three survivors ponder what to tell the Navy about what happened. Realizing they could not control the power, they decide to use the power to remove it from themselves and their memories simultaneously, replacing it with memories of a technical failure. Afterwards, as they mourn the colleagues lost to this scenario.
John Michael Crichton, MD (October 23, 1942 – November 4, 2008) was an American best-selling author, physician, producer, director, and screenwriter, best known for his work in the science fiction, medical fiction, and thriller genres. His books have sold over 200 million copies worldwide, and many have been adapted into films. In 1994 Crichton became the only creative artist ever to have works simultaneously charting at No. 1 in television, film, and book sales (with ER, Jurassic Park, and Disclosure, respectively).
His literary works are usually based on the action genre and heavily feature technology. His novels epitomize the techno-thriller genre of literature, often exploring technology and failures of human interaction with it, especially resulting in catastrophes with biotechnology. Many of his future history novels have medical or scientific underpinnings, reflecting his medical training and science background. He was the author of, among others, The Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park, Congo, Travels, Sphere, Rising Sun, Disclosure, The Lost World, Airframe, Timeline, Prey, State of Fear, Next (the final book published before his death), Pirate Latitudes (published November 24, 2009), and a final unfinished techno-thriller, Micro, which was published in November 2011