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Saturday, 26 April 2014

Subhaditya News Channel Presents Science,Movie, Political,Sports And Book News This Week (92)

Science News This week:

1) Microbes provide insights into evolution of human language:

Research into Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a type of bacteria common in water and soil, shows that they can communicate in a way that was previously thought to be unique to humans and perhaps some other primates. The bacteria used combinatorial communication, in which two signals are used together to achieve an effect that is different to the sum of the effects of the component parts.

Big brains do not explain why only humans use sophisticated language, according to researchers who have discovered that even a species of pond life communicates by similar methods.Dr Thom Scott-Phillips of Durham University's Department of Anthropology, led research into Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a type of bacteria common in water and soil, which showed that they communicated in a way that was previously thought to be unique to humans and perhaps some other primates.
The bacteria used combinatorial communication, in which two signals are used together to achieve an effect that is different to the sum of the effects of the component parts. This is common in human language. For example, when we hear 'boathouse', we do not think of boats and houses independently, but of something different -- a boathouse.

This type of communication had never been observed in species other than humans and some other primates, until colonies of Pseudomonas aeruginosa were shown to be using the same technique -- not, of course, with spoken words but with chemical messengers sent to each other that signalled when to produce certain proteins necessary for the bacteria's survival.
By blocking one signal, then the other, the researchers showed if both signals were sent separately, the effect on protein production was different from both signals being sent together.Dr Scott-Phillips, a research fellow in evolutionary anthropology at Durham University, conducted the research in collaboration with a team of experts in bacteriology from the universities of Nottingham and Edinburgh.He commented: "We conducted an experiment on bacterial communication, and found that they communicate in a way that was previously thought to be unique to humans and perhaps some other primates.
"This has serious implications for our understanding of the origins of human communication and language. In particular, it shows that we can not assume that combining signals together is unique to the primate lineage."
The research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and the Leverhulme Trust. The findings are published today in the scientific journal PLOS ONE

2) Superconducting qubit array points the way to quantum computers:

A fully functional quantum computer is one of the holy grails of physics. Physicists have moved one step closer to making a quantum computer a reality by demonstrating a new level of reliability in a five-qubit array. Quantum computing is anything but simple. It relies on aspects of quantum mechanics such as superposition. This notion holds that any physical object, such as an atom or electron -- what quantum computers use to store information -- can exist in all of its theoretical states simultaneously. This could take parallel computing to new heights.

Fully functional quantum computer is one of the holy grails of physics. Unlike conventional computers, the quantum version uses qubits (quantum bits), which make direct use of the multiple states of quantum phenomena. When realized, a quantum computer will be millions of times more powerful at certain computations than today's supercomputers.A group of UC Santa Barbara physicists has moved one step closer to making a quantum computer a reality by demonstrating a new level of reliability in a five-qubit array. Their findings appear Thursday in the journal Nature.

Quantum computing is anything but simple. It relies on aspects of quantum mechanics such as superposition. This notion holds that any physical object, such as an atom or electron -- what quantum computers use to store information -- can exist in all of its theoretical states simultaneously. This could take parallel computing to new heights."Quantum hardware is very, very unreliable compared to classical hardware," says Austin Fowler, a staff scientist in the physics department, whose theoretical work inspired the experiments of the Martinis Group. "Even the best state-of-the-art hardware is unreliable. Our paper shows that for the first time reliability has been reached."While the Martinis Group has shown logic operations at the threshold, the array must operate below the threshold to provide an acceptable margin of error. "Qubits are faulty, so error correction is necessary," said graduate student and co-lead author Julian Kelly who worked on the five-qubit array."We need to improve and we would like to scale up to larger systems," said lead author Rami Barends, a postdoctoral fellow with the group. "The intrinsic physics of control and coupling won't have to change but the engineering around it is going to be a big challenge."The unique configuration of the group's array results from the flexibility of geometry at the superconductive level, which allowed the scientists to create cross-shaped qubits they named Xmons. Superconductivity results when certain materials are cooled to a critical level that removes electrical resistance and eliminates magnetic fields. The team chose to place five Xmons in a single row, with each qubit talking to its nearest neighbor, a simple but effective arrangement."Motivated by theoretical work, we started really thinking seriously about what we had to do to move forward," said John Martinis, a professor in UCSB's Department of Physics. "It took us a while to figure out how simple it was, and simple, in the end, was really the best."
"If you want to build a quantum computer, you need a two-dimensional array of such qubits, and the error rate should be below 1 percent," said Fowler. "If we can get one order of magnitude lower -- in the area of 10-3 or 1 in 1,000 for all our gates -- our qubits could become commercially viable. But there are more issues that need to be solved. There are more frequencies to worry about and it's certainly true that it's more complex. However, the physics is no different."According to Martinis, it was Fowler's surface code that pointed the way, providing an architecture to put the qubits together in a certain way. "All of a sudden, we knew exactly what it was we wanted to build because of the surface code," Martinis said. "It took a lot of hard work to figure out how to piece the qubits together and control them properly. The amazing thing is that all of our hopes of how well it would work came true."

3) Gene therapy comes of age: We can now edit entire genomes to cure diseases:

For a long time, people thought HIV was incurable. The main reason was that HIV is a retrovirus, meaning that it inserts its own viral DNA into the genome of its host — perhaps we could treat the symptoms of HIV, but many doubted it was possible to actually correct the genes themselves. Our techniques for slicing up DNA are very advanced when that DNA sits suspended in a test solution, but nearly useless when we need to accurately edit millions of copies of a gene spread throughout a complex, living animal. Technologies aimed at addressing that problem have been the topic of intense study in recent years, and this week MIT announced that one of the most promising lines of research has achieved its first major goal: researchers have permanently cured a genetic disease in an adult animal.

This is a proof of concept for something medicine has been teasing for decades: useful, whole-body genome editing in fully developed adults. Until recently, most such manipulation was possible only during early development — and many genetic diseases don’t make themselves known until after birth, or even much later in life. While breakthroughs in whole-genome sequencing are bringing genetic early-warning to a whole new level for parents, there are still plenty of ways to acquire problem DNA later in  life — most notably, through viruses like HIV. Whether we’re talking about a hereditary genetic disease like Alzheimer’s or an acquired one like radiation damage, MIT’s newest breakthrough has the potential to help. In this study [doi:10.1038/nbt.2884], researchers attacked a disease called hereditary tyrosinemia, which stops liver cells from being able to process the amino acid tyrosine. It is caused by a mutation in just a single base of a single gene on the mouse (and human) genome, and prior research has confirmed that fixing that mutation cures the disease. The problem is that, until now, such a correction was only possible during early development, or even before fertilization of the egg. An adult body was thought to be simply too complex a target.

The gene editing technology used here is called the CRISPR system, which refers to the “Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats” that allow its action. As the name suggests, the system inserts short palindromic DNA sequences called CRISPRs that are a defining characteristic of viral DNA. Bacteria have an evolved defense that finds these CRISPRs, treating them (correctly, until now) as evidence of unwanted viral DNA. Scientists insert DNA sequences that code for this bacterial cutting enzyme, along with the healthy version of our gene of interest and some extra RNA for targeting. All scientists need do is design their sequences so CRISPRs are inserted into the genome around the diseased gene, tricking the cell into identifying it as viral — from there, the cell handles the excision all on its own, replacing the newly “viral” gene with the study’s healthy version. The whole process plays out using the cell’s own machinery. The experimental material actually enters the body via injection, targeted to a specific cell type. In this study, researchers observed an initial infection rate of roughly 1 in every 250 target cells. Those healthy cells out-competed their unmodified brothers, and within a month the corrected cells made up more than a third of the target cell type. This effectively cured the disease; when the mice were taken off of previously life-saving medication, they survived with little ill effect.

There are other possible solutions to the problem of adult gene editing, but they can be much more difficult to use, less accurate and reliable, and are generally useful in a narrower array of circumstances. CRISPRs offer a very high level of fidelity in targeting, both to specific cells in the body and to very specific genetic loci within each cell.

Tyrosinemia affects only about 1 in every 100,000 people, but the science on display here is very generalizable. While many diseases will require a more nuanced approach than was used here, many will not; wholly replacing genes in adult animals is a powerful tool, capable of curing many, many diseases. Not every cell type will lend itself as well to the CRISPR system, nor every disease; particularly, this study relies on the fact that corrected cells will naturally replace disease cells, improving their initial infection rate. That won’t always be possible, unfortunately. There’s also very little standing between this technique and non-medical applications — can you drug test an athlete or academic for the contents of their own genome? These questions and more will become relevant over the next few decades, though their effects should be minuscule when weighed against the positive impacts of the medical applications.

Gene therapy is one area of science that has consistently failed to achieve its therapeutic potential. Now, our abilities may finally be able to unlock some of the promise of real-world DNA manipulation, making hereditary and acquired genetic disease much more treatable. This study marks the beginning of a new era of usability in genetic manipulation, and everyone with DNA stands to benefit.

4) Enzymes that help fix cancer-causing DNA defects disovered:

An important enzyme pathway that helps prevent new cells from receiving too many or too few chromosomes, a condition that has been directly linked to cancer and other diseases, has been discovered by researchers. Near the end of cell division, the enzyme Cdc14 activates Yen1, an enzyme that ensures any breaks in DNA are fully repaired before the parent cell distributes copies of the genome to daughter cells, the researchers found. This process helps safeguard against some of the most devastating genome errors, including the loss of chromosomes or chromosome segments.

Purdue University researchers have identified an important enzyme pathway that helps prevent new cells from receiving too many or too few chromosomes, a condition that has been directly linked to cancer and other diseases.Mark Hall, associate professor of biochemistry, found that near the end of cell division, the enzyme Cdc14 activates Yen1, an enzyme that ensures any breaks in DNA are fully repaired before the parent cell distributes copies of the genome to daughter cells. This process helps safeguard against some of the most devastating genome errors, including the loss of chromosomes or chromosome segments.
"It only takes one cell to start a tumor," Hall said. "This study gives us a platform for figuring out exactly what these enzymes are doing in human cells and how they impact genome stability and the avoidance of cancer."

Cdc14 has been linked to DNA damage repair in humans, but exactly how the enzyme helps preserve the genome and which proteins it regulates in this process have not been known.Hall and his fellow researchers developed a novel method of identifying the protein substrates upon which Cdc14 acts. Cdc14 regulates the function of other proteins by removing phosphate, a small chemical group, from them. Using Cdc14 in baker's yeast -- which is very similar to human Cdc14 -- the team studied the activity of the enzyme on a wide variety of synthetic substrate molecules, looking for similar features among the molecules most preferred by Cdc14."We were basically trying different keys in the lock to see which would fit the best," Hall said.
The team identified the most common structural features on molecules targeted by Cdc14 and used bioinformatics tools to pinpoint matching features in yeast proteins. Yen1 proved to be the best match, and further tests confirmed its role as a substrate of Cdc14. Yen1 is the first Cdc14 substrate involved in DNA repair to be identified.Hall said the remarkable similarity of these enzymes in yeast and humans makes it likely that this method could be used to identify targets of Cdc14 in humans as well.
"Despite belonging to extremely different species, the 'lock' in yeast and human Cdc14 enzymes is exactly the same," he said. "That gives us confidence that we can use this strategy to identify substrates of human CDC14 and how they work to control DNA repair processes and prevent cancer."Hall said understanding Cdc14's role in DNA repair and how the enzyme binds to its substrates could be used to develop more effective chemotherapeutic weapons against cancer. Many chemotherapeutic drugs work by producing such extensive DNA damage in cancer cells that they kill themselves. Designing a chemical that mimics the features of a Cdc14 substrate would help block Cdc14 from repairing damaged DNA in cancer cells, speeding their death.
"Developing Cdc14 inhibitory compounds could make certain cancer treatments more specific and potent," Hall said. "You could think of Cdc14 inhibitors as kryptonite to cancer cells, potentially weakening their ability to heal themselves and making them more vulnerable to chemotherapy treatment."Hall also is exploring the possibility of using Cdc14 inhibitors to combat deadly fungal diseases in crops.

5) Halving hydrogen: First view of nature-inspired catalyst after ripping hydrogen apart provides insights for better fuel cells

Like a hungry diner ripping open a dinner roll, a fuel cell catalyst that converts hydrogen into electricity must tear open a hydrogen molecule. Now researchers have captured a view of such a catalyst holding onto the two halves of its hydrogen feast. The view confirms previous hypotheses and provides insight into how to make the catalyst work better for alternative energy uses.This study is the first time scientists have shown precisely where the hydrogen halves end up in the structure of a molecular catalyst that breaks down hydrogen, the team reported online April 22 in Angewandte Chemie International Edition. The design of this catalyst was inspired by the innards of a natural protein called a hydrogenase enzyme.
"The catalyst shows us what likely happens in the natural hydrogenase system," said Morris Bullock of the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "The catalyst is where the action is, but the natural enzyme has a huge protein surrounding the catalytic site. It would be hard to see what we have seen with our catalyst because of the complexity of the protein."

Ironing Out Expense
Hydrogen-powered fuel cells offer an alternative to burning fossil fuels, which generates greenhouse gases. Molecular hydrogen -- two hydrogen atoms linked by an energy-rich chemical bond -- feeds a fuel cell. Generating electricity through chemical reactions, the fuel cell spits out water and power.If renewable power is used to store energy in molecular hydrogen, these fuel cells can be carbon-neutral. But fuel cells aren't cheap enough for everyday use.To make fuel cells less expensive, researchers turned to natural hydrogenase enzymes for inspiration. These enzymes break hydrogen for energy in the same way a fuel cell would. But while conventional fuel cell catalysts require expensive platinum, natural enzymes use cheap iron or nickel at their core.Researchers have been designing catalysts inspired by hydrogenase cores and testing them. In this work, an important step in breaking a hydrogen molecule so the bond's energy can be captured as electricity is to break the bond unevenly. Instead of producing two equal hydrogen atoms, this catalyst must produce a positively charged proton and a negatively charged hydride.The physical shape of a catalyst -- along with electrochemical information -- can reveal how it does that. So far, scientists have determined the overall structure of catalysts with cheap metals using X-ray crystallography, but hydrogen atoms can't be located accurately using X-rays. Based on chemistry and X-ray methods, researchers have a best guess for the position of hydrogen atoms, but imagination is no substitute for reality.Bullock, Tianbiao "Leo" Liu and their colleagues at the Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis at PNNL, one of DOE's Energy Frontier Research Centers, collaborated with scientists at the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee to find the lurking proton and hydride. Using a beam of neutrons like a flashlight allows researchers to pinpoint the nucleus of atoms that form the backbone architecture of their iron-based catalyst.

Bonding Jamboree
To use their iron-based catalyst in neutron crystallography, the team had to modify it chemically so it would react with the hydrogen molecule in just the right way. Neutron crystallography also requires larger crystals as starting material compared to X-ray crystallography."We were designing a molecule that represented an intermediate in the chemical reaction, and it required special experimental techniques," Liu said. "It took more than six months to find the right conditions to grow large single crystals suitable for neutron diffraction. And another six months to pinpoint the position of the split H2 molecule."
Crystallizing their catalyst of interest into a nugget almost 40 times the size needed for X-rays, the team succeeded in determining the structure of the iron-based catalyst.The structure, they found, confirmed theories based on chemical analyses. For example, the barbell-shaped hydrogen molecule snuggles into the catalyst core. On being split, the negatively charged hydride attaches to the iron at the center of the catalyst; meanwhile, the positively charged proton attaches to a nitrogen atom across the catalytic core. The researchers expected this set-up, but no one had accurately characterized it in an actual structure before.In this form, the hydride and proton form a type of bond uncommonly seen by scientists -- a dihydrogen bond. The energy-rich chemical bond between two hydrogen atoms in a molecule is called a covalent bond and is very strong. Another bond called a "hydrogen bond" is a weak one formed between a slightly positive hydrogen and another, slightly negative atom.
Hydrogen bonds stabilize the structure of molecules by tacking down chains as they fold over within a molecule or between two independent molecules. Hydrogen bonds are also key to water surface tension, ice's ability to float and even a snowflake's shape.The dihydrogen bond seen in the structure is much stronger than a single hydrogen bond. Measuring the distance between atoms reveals how tight the bond is. The team found that the dihydrogen bond was much shorter than typical hydrogen bonds but longer than typical covalent bonds. In fact, the dihydrogen bond is the shortest of its type so far identified, the researchers report.This unusually strong dihydrogen bond likely plays into how well the catalyst balances tearing the hydrogen molecule apart and putting it back together. This balance allows the catalyst to work efficiently.

6) Extinct Tiger Roars in a Mouse:

For the first time, DNA from an extinct animal has been resurrected inside a living creature.

The donors in this were four 100-year-old Tasmanian tiger specimens preserved in ethanol at the Museum Victoria. The large, doglike marsupial last made history in 1936, when the only remaining tiger died in captivity.

Receiving the DNA were mice in the laboratory of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center geneticist Richard Behringer, who partnered with researchers from the University of Melbourne. The study describing their paleogenetic wizardry appeared yesterday in Public Library of Science ONE.

Behringer’s mice don’t look unusual. The inserted DNA doesn’t actually code for Tasmanian tiger characteristics, but is needed to switch on genes controlling bone formation. But hybrid Tasmanian tiger-mice could someday be created, said the researchers, and DNA from creatures like woolly mammoths and neanderthals revived. Why would scientists want to do this? Of all the DNA that’s ever existed, only one percent is presently in circulation. The rest is lost to history, along with the insights it might provide. By bringing back lost genes, scientists can see what they do.

 Could scientists actually bring back entire animals? It’s highly unlikely. The Tasmanian tiger DNA was painstakingly cobbled together with fragments taken from each of the specimens; creating an entire organism would require patching together tens of thousands of genes, then packaging them in the correct order. Modern-extinct hybrids are all we’re going to get, though study co-author Andrew Pask told the Herald Sun that putting pterodactyl wings on a mouse might be possible.

Movie releases of this week:

After discovering her boyfriend is married, a woman (Cameron Diaz) tries to get her ruined life back on track. But when she accidentally meets the wife he’s been cheating on (Leslie Mann), she realizes they have much in common, and her sworn enemy becomes her greatest friend. When yet another affair is discovered (Kate Upton), all three women team up to plot mutual revenge on their cheating, lying, three-timing SOB.

In a dystopian Detroit, abandoned brick mansions left from better times now house only the most dangerous criminals. Unable to control the crime, the police constructed a colossal containment wall around this area to protect the rest of the city. For undercover cop Damien Collier (Paul Walker) every day is a battle against corruption. For Lino (David Belle), every day is a fight to live an honest life. Their paths never should have crossed, but when drug kingpin, Tremaine (RZA) kidnaps Lino’s girlfriend, Damien reluctantly accepts the help of the fearless ex-convict, and together they must stop a sinister plot to devastate the entire city. With stylized action featuring thrilling Parkour stunts (David Belle is the co-founder of this physical training discipline), Brick Mansions puts an entertaining twist on the action genre.

Set in the near-future Britain, two computer programmers fall in love as they create the first-ever piece of self-aware artificial intelligence, designed to help humanity. But things go terribly wrong when the British Government steals their breakthrough and teaches it to become a robotic weapon. The film is written and directed by new filmmaker Caradog W. James and stars Caity Lotz (Arrow) in a breakthrough role as "Ava" the machine alongside Toby Stephens (Black Sails) as the other computer programmer.

A film about Ralph Steadman. Johnny Depp guides the visually stunning journey, smashing narrative conventions, moving seamlessly from interview to animation and in the finest Gonzo tradition questions of witness and authenticity are challenged. Steadman's art is for the first time animated, including illustrations from Hunter S Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vagas. Featuring Richard E Grant, Terry Gilliam, Bruce Robinson and with music from Slash, The All American Rejects, Jason Mraz, Crystal Castles, Ed Hardcourt and Beth Orton. A touching and at times funny film about honesty, friendship and the ambition driving an artist. This is a true record of the demise of the 20th Century counterculture and hipster dream with Ralph Steadman the last of the Gonzo visionaries.

Inspired by true events and tells the story of an unorthodox, but charismatic professor who uses controversial methods and leads his best students off the grid to take part in a dangerous experiment: to create a poltergeist from negative human energy.

Political News this Week:

1) Voting today: 10-point cheat-sheet to what's at stake:

Today is the sixth of nine phases of voting in the general election. Voters are making their choice in 11 states and the union territory of Puducherry. Eleven states and one Union Territory will go to the election in the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha election 2014 on Thursday. A total number of 117 constituencies will go to the election in this phase, making it the second biggest after April 17. One hundred and eighty million voters will cast their ballots in this phase while 2,076 candidates are in fray. A number of political heavyweights are in the fray in this phase.

The BJP hopes today to make gains in two big states - Tamil Nadu and West Bengal - that could make it less dependent on the women chief ministers who govern them, and who are often seen as fickle coalition partners.

A little over 18 crore people are registered to vote today in cities that include Chennai and Mumbai.
117 parliamentary seats will be decided today.

All 39 parliamentary seats in Tamil Nadu will be decided today. Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's AIADMK is forecast by opinion polls to significantly improve upon the nine seats it currently holds.

"This election we are expecting a significant contribution from the south," said former BJP president Venkaiah Naidu, adding that the party wanted to lift its southern tally to 50 seats from 19 in the last election in 2009.

In West Bengal, chief minister Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress is expected to win the most seats - she currently holds 19 of Bengal's 42 seats.

"We are trying to get a majority of our own. Otherwise, we will have to take the support of the regional parties and the day-to-day running of government will not be trouble-free," said BJP general secretary JP Nadda.

But earlier this week, the party's prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, said he is sure that Ms Banerjee will not join his coalition after the results are counted on May 16. "We are sure that Mamataji won't join us (NDA), we have no confusion about it nor have we any apprehension about it," Mr Modi had said.

Among the heavyweights whose future will be determined today are Sushma Swaraj, the senior BJP leader who is running from Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh, former union ministers A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran who are contesting elections in Tamil Nadu, and Dimple Yadav, whose husband Akhilesh is the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.

Mr Modi is filing his nomination today in Varanasi where thousands of supporters poured into the streets to cheer an open truck that he used for a massive road-show. He is also running for Parliament from Vadodara in Gujarat.

 Mumbai finally got out and voted. The city registered a turnout of 53 per cent, that is 12 per cent higher than 2009.With three hours of polling to go, only one of the six Mumbai seats had touched 40 per cent in voter turnout - Mumbai North. Mumbai South, Union minister Milind Deora's constituency, was the lowest at 29 per cent. The 19 Maharashtra seats averaged 35.92 per cent voter turnout, as compared to, say, Tamil Nadu at 60 per cent.

Sixth phase polling: 55.3% turnout in Maha, 59.2% in Raj, 82% in WB.

Turnout in Chhattisgarh - 62.5 per cent, an increase from 55.29% in 2009 Rajasthan sees turnout of 59.2 per cent, up from 49.8 per cent in 2009 Uttar Pradesh turnout - 58.5 per cent, up from 46.63 per cent in 2009 Maharashtra sees turnout of 55.33 per cent, an increase from 44.87 per cent in 2009 Puducherry recorded a turnout of 82 per cent, higher than 2009 figure of 79.85 per cent

West Bengal total average voter - 82 per cent Raigunj 79.24%; Balurghat: 83.36%; Malda Uttar: 80.73%; Malda Dakshin; 80.23%; Jangipur: 80.18; Murshidabad: 84.78%

Madhya Pradesh records turnout of 65 per cent till 6 pm, Assam records 70.6%, Bihar records 60%, 63.4 % in Jharkhand

Turnout in Jammu and Kashmir till 5 pm: Anantnag 36.76%; Kulgam 36.68%; Pulwama 6.32 %; Shopian 20.43% Bihar voter turnout reaches 55.11 per cent by 5 pm

2) Ma Ganga has called me to Varanasi, says Modi filing nomination:

Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Thursday filed his nomination papers from Varanasi Lok Sabha seat, saying he had been called by "mother Ganga" to contest from this holy city.

He filed the papers after conducting a road show in the city.Among those who proposed his nomination were Madan Mohan Malaviya's grandson Giridhar Malaviya, Padma Vibhushan awardee Chhandu Lal Mishra, boatman Virbhadra Nishad and Ashok, from the dominant weaver community.

Talking to reporters before filing his papers, Modi said he felt "Mother Ganga" has called him to contest from this constituency.

"...Earlier I used to think that the BJP has sent me here, sometimes I felt that I am going to Kashi. But after coming here, I feel neither has anybody sent me nor have I come on my own. It is mother Ganga who has called me

"And the way a child feels when he is back in his mother's lap, the same way I feel here," said the Gujarat chief minister who is also contesting from Vadodara in his home state.He vowed to make Kashi a spiritual capital of the world.God... give me strength, so that I can work for the city, for my poor weaver that Kashi can become a spiritual capital of the world," Modi said.The BJP leader sought to project common links between his birthplace in Vadnagar in Gujarat and Varanasi, saying both were pilgrim centres for worshippers of Lord Shiva.

Modi also sought to reach out to the weaver community of Varanasi (also called Banaras), which makes up a sizeable section of the population in this constituency and many of them are Muslims.He said if he becomes the prime minister, he would provide encouragement to them in various ways so that their business could grow and expand.

"I can say about the weavers here. This is a valuable 'amanat' (legacy). Technological upgradation, marketing, branding, designing will be provided...If we create all these support bases, I don't see any reason why Kashi weavers would not be able to take on Chinese competition," he said.To buttress his point, he said after he became the Chief Minister of Gujarat, he had provided encouragement to poor Muslims engaged in kite business and their commerce had grown manifold.

"I did some research. Though no state government would pat attention to kites, I studied and found kites used to travel to 24 places before it could be produced," Modi said.After taking certain steps, the kite industry, which was worth Rs 35 crore in 2002, has now grown to Rs 700 crore."And all the poor Muslim brothers-sisters sit in their huts and produce kites," he added.

3) Kejriwal beats Modi; tops TIME's most influential list:

Aam Aadmi Party founder Arvind Kejriwal has won Time magazine's readers' poll of most influential people in the world, beating heavyweights including Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, a survey that turned out to be a "competition" between the two.

Kejriwal, 45, took the first place in the readers' poll for the '2014 TIME 100', the annual list of people who influenced the world this past year for better or worse.He received a total of 261,114 "yes" votes from readers, followed by Modi, 63, who got 164,572 votes in his favour.Congress party vice president Rahul Gandhi, 43, got 96,070 votes of which 16.5 per cent said he should be included in the list while 83.5 per cent said no.Time said celebrities like Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Rihanna ranked high as reader favorites, but the poll turned into a "competition between two men competing in India's ongoing elections".

"Kejriwal, a candidate for a parliamentary seat, came to prominence as the leader of an anti-corruption movement in India," Time said. The publication said there were attempts to "inflate" the voting numbers, but only legitimate votes were tabulated for the final results.Readers voted on who should and should not be included in the TIME 100 list.Modi received 166,260 "no" votes from readers who did not want him to be included in the annual Time list.

4) Fearing arrest, Giriraj Singh files bail petition:

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Giriraj Singh on Thursday filed a bail petition in the Patna high court after a joint team of Bihar and Jharkhand police raided his house to arrest him for his alleged hate statements but could not find him.

A BJP leader close to Singh said that he has filed a bail petition in the court in view of a non-bailable arrest warrant issued against him by the Bokaro court. “The court will hear his bail petition on Friday,” BJP leader said.

Singh on Wednesday said that he will surrender before the court today but later changed his plan. Efforts to contact Singh failed. His cell phone was found switched off and his landline was not operational.

Three FIRs — two at Deogarh and Bokaro in Jharkhand and one in Patna — were lodged against him at the behest of the Election Commission. He has also been barred from campaigning in the two states in the wake of his April 18 controversial remarks. He had said that those opposing Narendra Modi should go to Pakistan and that the Centre was giving subsidies to export beef while taxing those who reared cows.

The third FIR was lodged at the Airport police station three days ago for repeating the same remarks publicly on April 20. Singh is contesting from the Nawada Lok Sabha seat on a BJP ticket. Voting was held in Nawada on April 10.

5) 12 lakh poll funds were hidden in the car's air filter:

A Ganesh Nadar spent Wednesday night -- the night before the Lok Sabha election in Tamil Nadu -- roaming the streets of a village, to discover the role money plays in getting the vote out in rural Tamil Nadu.Akka (elder sister), how many votes in this house?" asks the party worker. "Thambi, (younger brother) you know I live in Chennai, just came for the holidays," the housewife replies.

"Thambi, how many votes in your home?" the party worker asks at the next house. "Anna, only two," the voter replies. Four crisp notes are counted out with a flourish and given. "You know who to vote for?" the party worker says with a smile and leaves.

The process is repeated at every home in the village; Rs 200 is given to every voter. The distribution of money occurs from 8 pm to midnight."Nobody is going to vote for them," one young man tells me. "Last time they gave Rs 1,000 for a vote and this time they expect us to vote for Rs 200. The party must be really scared that it is distributing money at the last minute."A party worker boasts that he brought Rs 12 lakh (Rs 1.2 million) in an SUV. He says he was stopped four times and the SUV searched each time, but the police never discovered the money which had been hidden in the vehicle's air filter.

A journalist in Tiruchi confirms that the leaders of a party told its cadres to distribute Rs 200 per voter. Their argument: Since their rival party was not distributing money, even Rs 200 was good enough to buy votes.

One businessman candidate in the state offers Rs 300 a vote which a political heavyweight in another constituency also does.

The voters I spoke to are upset. "Even our panchayat elections were better," one village elder complains. "One candidate gave Rs 500 and the other Rs 800, so we got Rs 1,300 per vote."A senior party worker says he is not distributing money this election, adding that he is too old for this kind of tiring work. He is just keeping an eye on the polling booths in his area.Another party worker is heading to the district headquarters where the candidate is based. "The food is always better there and in the evening he will give us money for the hard work we have done in the last two weeks."Outside the village school, a polling booth, two young men ask voters to vote for their party. One old woman asks, "I have got Rs 200 to vote. Are you giving me Rs 300?" The men smile at her.

6) EC issues notices to Beni, Katiyar for violating poll code:

Taking cognisance of their alleged controversial remarks against Narendra Modi and Azam Khan respectively in election speeches, the Election Commission on Thursday issued show cause notices to Union minister Beni Prasad Verma and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vinay Katiyar for prima facie violating the Model Code of Conduct.

They have been asked to put forth their stands by Saturday morning failing which the EC will take action without further referring the matter to them. The show cause notices were issued following complaints and reports by poll authorities in Uttar Pradesh. The EC has already expressed displeasure at Verma’s ‘biggest goon’ remark against Modi.

Referring to Katiyar’s speech made in Sant Kabir Nagar in UP on April 15, the EC notice quoted him as saying that the Muzaffarnagar riots were bigger than Gujarat riots. He had reportedly said that ‘no attempt’ was made by the UP government to check the riots and senior Samajwadi Party leader and UP minister Azam Khan was given a ‘free hand’ to issue directions to administration officials.

Katiyar had said that once Modi became prime minister, the riots would be probed and it would be ‘ensured’ that Khan is sent to jail as he had planned the violence last year in west UP.

7) YSR Congress MLA dies after car crash:

Senior YSR Congress party leader Shobha Nagi Reddy succumbed to multiple injuries after she met with an accident in the wee hours in Kurnool district. The 45-year-old was shifted to Care Hospital in Hyderabad after the crash but breathed her last at 11 am on Thursday.Reddy, who was contesting from the Allagadda assembly constituency in Kurnool district, was returning to her hometown after campaigning when her car turned turtle at Gubagundametta village near Allagadda.

The police said that the accident occurred when the driver applied sudden brakes to avoid colliding with a heap of paddy that had been placed on the road by a few farmers. The car overturned at least seven times, causing Reddy to fall out of the car and sustain serious injuries to her head and neck.

Reddy is survived by her husband, former member of Lok Sabha Bhuma Nagi Reddy and three children. Bhuma Nagi Reddy is also in the fray from the Nandyal Lok Sabha constituency in Kurnool district.Reddy, daughter of former minister SV Subba Reddy, had quite an eventful political career. Starting in the Telugu Desam Party, she became a member of legislative assembly and even climbed to the position of party general secretary. She then went on to the Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party in 2009 and was even elected to the assembly on the PRP ticket. Later, she quit the party and joined the YSR Congress.

While, several top political leaders have expressed shock over her sudden demise, YSR Congress president Jaganmohan Reddy has cut short his election campaign to rush to Hyderabad.

On the other hand, while addressing a public meeting in Kanpur on April 20, Verma had reportedly said that once Rahul Gandhi became the PM, Modi and his close aide Amit Shah would be jailed for life for the Godhra riots. He had reportedly said that as a 20-year-old Modi had committed a major crime and fled home. He had said the Modi will never reach the PM’s post and instead go to the graveyard. The two have also been provided with copies of CDs carrying their remarks.

Sports News This Week:

1) IPL 2014: Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Kolkata Knight Riders match preview:

Royal Challengers Bangalore could not have asked for a better start to IPL 2014. With two consecutive wins, Bangalore will be eager to obtain a hat-trick of wins when they face Kolkata Knight Riders in their 3rd match in Sharjah on Thursday.
RCB is looking strong in all departments of the game. They have won matches under two strikingly different conditions. Virat Kohli is a captain who leads from the front. He is terrific with the bat and active on the ground. RCB’s top order looks settled with Parthiv Patel .

showing some promising performance in the last match against Mumbai. With players like AB De Villiers and Yuvraj Singh, RCB only looks stronger.On the bowling front, RCB is lucky to have bowlers like Yuzvendra Chahal, Mitchell Starc and Varun Aaron. All of them have proved helpful to RCB.Kolkata on the other hand has a few things to worry about. Thier captain, Gautam Gambhir has not played up to his potential. However, they have players like Manish Pandey and Robin Uthappa (who were a part of Bangalore initially) perform well for them. With all-rounder Jacques Kallis, it will not be difficult for KKR to win their second match of the tournament.“I am playing less cricket, so I can put my body on the line. I do not have too many years left, I just want to have some fun,” Kallis said.The bowling department may be an issue of concern for KKR as their bowlers like Vinay Kumar, Shakib-Al-Hassan and Morne Morkel have not delivered as expected.KKR will hope that they can put together their batting, bowling and fielding in order to outplay RCB.However, the bigger question on everyone’s mind will be, “Is Chris Gayle going to play the match tonight?’

2) Sherpas leave Everest; some expeditions nix climbs:

Dozens of Sherpa guides packed up their tents and left Mount Everest's base camp Wednesday, after the deaths of 16 of their colleagues in an avalanche exposed an undercurrent of resentment by Sherpas over their pay, treatment and benefits.

With the entire climbing season increasingly thrown into doubt, the government quickly announced that top tourism officials would fly to base camp Thursday to negotiate with the Sherpas and encourage them to return to work.
But while Nepal's government has been heavily criticized for not doing enough for the Sherpas in the wake of last week's disaster, the deadliest ever on the mountain, one top official blamed the walkout on "hooligans."
"It was crowd behavior — some hooligans were creating problems, but things are getting back to normal," said Sushil Ghimire, secretary of Nepal's Tourism Ministry.While it was unclear just how many of the 400 or so Sherpas on the mountain had joined the walkout, a number of expedition companies have already canceled their climbs, and the lucrative climbing season is in disarray. Most attempts to reach Everest's summit are made in mid-May, when a brief window normally offers better weather.
The Sherpas have no one leader, and those at basecamp said their walkout was for a variety of reasons, including to honor their dead friends. It was unclear whether they would return to work if the government accepts all their demands.
Immediately after the avalanche, the government said it would pay the families of each Sherpa who died 40,000 rupees, or about $415. But the Sherpas said they deserved far more — including more insurance money, more financial aid for the victims' families and new regulations to ensure climbers' rights.

Without the help of the Sherpas, who are key guides and also haul tons of gear up the mountain, it would be nearly impossible for climbers to scale Everest. Many climbers will have to forfeit most or all of the money they have spent to go up the mountain — $75,000 or more.Thirteen bodies were recovered after Friday's avalanche. Three Sherpas were still missing in the ice and snow, and are presumed dead."It is just impossible for many of us to continue climbing while there are three of our friends buried in the snow," said Dorje Sherpa, an experienced Everest guide from the tiny Himalayan community that has become famous for its high-altitude skills and endurance. "I can't imagine stepping over them."American climber Ed Marzec said by phone from the base camp that Sherpas were loading their equipment onto a helicopter."There are a lot of Sherpas leaving this morning, and in the next two days there will be a huge number that will follow," said Marzec, 67, who is from California. He said he had already decided to abandon his climb.But Marzec said some smaller companies were hoping to go ahead with their summit attempts.
Tusli Gurung, a guide who was at base camp Wednesday, estimated that nearly half the Sherpas had left.
Seattle-based Alpine Ascents International announced it was calling off its expedition. "We have all agreed the best thing is to not continue this season's climb, so that all can mourn the loss of family, friends and comrades in this unprecedented tragedy," the company said on its website.New Zealand-based Adventure Consultants also said it was canceling its expedition.
Family members of the dead Sherpas said they are angry at the government and worried about their future.
Ang Kaji left behind three sons, three daughters and elderly parents."Our father was the only one who earned in our family. We live in a rented apartment, our grandparents need regular medication, and all of us are still in school. We have no idea how we are going to support the family," said 17-year-old Phinjum, Kaji's second daughter.Dali, 28, lost her husband Pen Tenji, 27, in the avalanche. His body is yet to be recovered.She has a 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter and no other source of income to support them.Friday's avalanche was triggered when a massive piece of glacier sheared away from the mountain along a section of constantly shifting ice and crevasses known as the Khumbu Icefall — a treacherous area where overhanging ice can be the size of office buildings.The disaster has reignited a debate over the disproportionate risks the Sherpas take on Everest, where most climbers are well-heeled amateurs with little or no experience at high altitudes. That means Sherpas are needed to create miles (kilometers) of lines of fixed ropes, carve steps in the ice and snow and carry nearly all the equipment. At times, they are also "short-roped" directly to weak climbers to help them get up the mountain.Because of their additional work, many have to pass through the Khumbu Icefall dozens of times, each time exposing themselves to the treacherous conditions there.
Nepal's government appeared to agree Tuesday to some of the Sherpas' demands, such as setting up a relief fund for those who are killed or injured in climbing accidents, but the proposed funding fell far short of the demands.
The government said it would stock the fund annually with 5 percent of its earnings from Everest climbing fees — well below the 30 percent the Sherpas are demanding. Nepal earns about $3.5 million annually in Everest climbing fees.
The insurance payout for those killed in the avalanche, which now stands at $10,400, will also be increased to $15,620, or 2 million rupees, the Ministry of Tourism said — far less than the Sherpas' demand for $20,800.
Nearly 30 climbers have died on the Icefall since 1963, most killed in avalanches or when they were crushed by huge chunks of ice.More than 4,000 climbers have reached the top of the world's highest mountain since 1953, when it was first conquered by New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. Hundreds of people have died trying.

3) Benzema gives Real Madrid 1-0 win over Bayern:

Real Madrid hopes a narrow home win put it in position to reach the Champions League final for the first time since 2002.
In a matchup of teams acclaimed to be the best in Europe this season, Karim Benzema scored in the 19th minute to give the Los Blancos a 1-0 victory over defending champion Bayern Munich on Wednesday night in the first leg of their semifinal.
"We have a nice advantage and if we score, we can complicate things for them," Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo said.
The second leg is Tuesday in Munich. Chelsea hosts the other semifinal next Wednesday following a 0-0 tie at Atletico Madrid this week.

"If you want to do damage, you have to go for the victory — because 1-0 is not definitive," Madrid defender Sergio Ramos said. "But it's a good result to take to Munich."Madrid, which beat Bayer Leverkusen in 2002 for the last of its record nine European titles, has been knocked out of the semifinals for three straight years. The visitors dominated before a crowd of 79,283, outshooting Real 16-9 and maintaining 64 percent possession."They had chances to score more goals, definitely," Bayern coach Pep Guardiola. "We probably should have created a few more scoring chances. (But) they have a very good defense."
Benzema scored on a counterattack when Cristiano Ronaldo found Fabio Coentrao speeding down a flank. Coentrao crossed for Benzema, who tapped the ball past goalkeeper Manuel Neuer from 4 yards.

Ronaldo returned from a left leg injury that had sidelined him from April 2 and missed a number of scoring opportunities. Ronaldo was replaced in the 73rd by Gareth Bale."It's been 20 days Cristiano hasn't been 100 percent, so it was a sacrifice for him," Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said. "It couldn't have been easy for Cristiano tonight."
Guardiola, seeking to guide Bayern to its third straight final, had been unbeaten at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in seven visits when he coached Barcelona."Madrid thrives off the counterattack. Madrid is the best team in the world on the counter," Guardiola said. "They get back as fast as they go forward. They're athletes."Mario Goetze, who entered in the 72nd, had one of Bayern's best chances in the 84th, but his volley was saved by goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

4) A decade without a league title, Kolkata clubs continue to go backwards:

East Bengal were the last Kolkata club to win the title in 2004One of the longest streaks in Indian football is the wait of Kolkata clubs to land a league title and it got extended to a decade as Bengaluru FC clinched the I-League title in their debut campaign on Monday.For eight of the previous nine years Kolkata clubs have been undone by Goan opposition while on one occasion it was Mumbai’s Mahindra United. This time around Kolkata’s East Bengal could finish the highest among teams from Kolkata and Goa but they will still be second best behind Bengaluru FC.

The success of Bengaluru is actually a big lesson for the Kolkata clubs because the JSW-owned club have achieved it by being professional, a quality which teams from Kolkata continue to lack and are actually going backwards in that respect.
While Bengaluru have set an example for others to follow despite only being formed in July 2013, the same old problems of unprofessionalism, unnecessary interference from club officials in football matters, lack of stability, participation in too many tournaments and lack of balance in squad have been responsible for Kolkata’s failure.Just like the last three seasons, East Bengal have come the closest again this term but they have actually underachieved as they failed to win the I-League trophy despite having the best squad in the country. Last summer East Bengal got rid of the stability which they had in the previous three consistent seasons as they parted ways with English coach Trevor Morgan and that unnecessary change has turned out to be the main reason for them falling short again.

Parting ways with Trevor Morgan proved to be the wrong decisionBrazilian Marcos Falopa, who had very little idea about Indian football, was appointed as the replacement and even before the Brazilian got used to the players and environment in India, he was removed. During his tenure, Falopa did guide East Bengal to the semi-finals of the AFC Cup but pre-season training methods raised question marks as key players were getting constantly injured. The main reason for hiring Falopa was because he was a cheaper option compared to other candidates like Armand Colaco and the club even allowed the Brazilian to have his son Americo to bizarrely function as both the physical trainer and goalkeeping coach.The four-month tenure turned out to be a disaster and realising their mistake, East Bengal finally hired their original choice Armando

5) Stanislas Wawrinka emerges from the shadows to claim his rightful place at the helm of tennis:

The first half of 2014 most certainly belongs to Stan Wawrinka taking into account his meteoric rise to the top in an era dominated by the ‘Big Four’ of men’s tennis. Between themselves, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have won 19 of the last 20 Grand Slams and they have pretty much reduced the rest of the contenders to mere bystanders. And no one knows this better than Wawrinka, who has spent a major part of his career being sidelined by his more successful countryman, Federer.

Bestowed with one of the best single-handed backhands on the tour, Stan has, in the recent years added powerful weapons to his arsenal to evolve into an all-round player. With an effective forehand and a powerful serve that helps him come to the net more often, he has strengthened his chances against the top players in the draw.Despite turning pro as early as 2002, Stan tasted little success until 2010, with just one career title to his name up to that point. Bouts of impressive performances helped him break into the top 10 in 2008 but the Swiss lacked the consistency and the ability to play the big points to cause any serious threat in the Grand Slams.Wawrinka’s resurgence in 2011 was very impressive. This writer had interviewed him in late 2011 right before the Chennai Open, and Wawrinka spoke at length of his goal to break into the top echelon of the game in 2012 and the long hours of preparation that he had put in in Lausanne. All of that work and determination seems to finally be paying off handsomely.It goes without saying that the Swiss must be very pleased with his rise in the rankings to No. 3 in the world since claiming the Australian Open. He was in tremendous form at the start of this year, winning the Chennai Open for the second time and defeating both the top seeds Rafa and Djokovic en route to the title. The 2014 Australian Open was not only his first Grand Slam title but it also helped him break the psychological barrier of beating the top players on the tour.

Considering the tremendous competition in men’s tennis today, it’s very important for dark horses such as Wawrinka to make the most of the opportunities that come their way. And the Swiss has done just that. With his fine form and impressive skills on clay, he will most certainly look to extend his triumphant run to Roland Garros.It remains to be seen if the Swiss can indeed stand tall against the formidable Rafael Nadal, who has pretty much regarded the French Open as his backyard for a good part of the last decade. But if he does, it will make for a spectacle worth remembering.

Book Of This Week:

The Paleoart of Julius Csotonyi:

Dinosaurs, Saber-Tooths & Beyond.Csotonyi won the Lazendorf PaleoArt prize for his dinosaur artwork in 2010. An artist and scientist, he has produced work for numerous publications, including National Geographic, and museum exhibits. He works largely in the digital medium. This is the first book to celebrate his art. With progressives and pieces exclusive to the book, this is a must for dinosaur and art fans alike. Every year, millions of people visit the American Museum of Natural History to gaze at the amazing displays of dinosaur fossils. Now, with this interactive sticker book, kids can enjoy a little bit of that experience right at home. Featuring eight richly detailed prehistoric scenes, 100 dinosaur stickers, and fun facts, this is a must-have for every dinosaur fan!

Julius T. Csotonyi:

Julius Thomas Csotonyi (born October 11, 1973) is a Canadian paleoartist and natural history illustrator living in Winnipeg, Canada. He specialises in photo-realistic restorations of dinosaurs, paleo-environments and extant animals. His techniques encompass both traditional and digital media. He has worked with several magazines and book publishing companies (including Science magazine, National Geographic and Scholastic Inc.) and museums (for example the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Manitoba Museum), based in Canada, the US, Europe, Russia, Mexico and Australia.

Csotonyi was born in Hungary but his family moved to Canada in 1978. He completed a B.Sc. in Ecology and Environmental Biology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, followed by a M.Sc. in Ecology in the same university. He is currently finishing a PhD in microbiology at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. He has published research papers on pollination mutualisms in Utah, on the effects of trampling on moss in Jasper National Park in Alberta and on bacteria living in exotic deep ocean hydrothermal vent ecosystems  and in terrestrial salt springs.

Some beautiful Pictures From Paleoart Book

Depicts the extremely long-necked plesiosaur, Albertonectes, hunting fish in the Bearpaw Sea

The events leading to the creation of a large block of highly fossiliferous sandstone (containing Utahraptor over a range of ontogenetic stages and Hippodraco) from the Cretaceous in what is now Utah

On a beach in Laramidia during the Cretaceous, in what is now Utah, a pair of Lythronax argestes moves in to investigate the stranded carcass of a large Squalicoraxshark, which is already being picked at by a pair of enantiornithine birds

This image depicts the probably rare but plausible encounter between the giant shark Carcharocles (jaw diameter estimated at 11 feet) and a medium-sized proboscidean, Platybelodon.

This scene shows the newly described dome-headed dinosaur, Acrotholus, exiting a stand of giant Gunnera leaves and coming across a Neurankylus turtle soaking in a footprint of a hadrosaur that had passed by earlier.

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