Science News This Week:
1) Extensive cataloging of human proteins uncovers 193 never known to exist:
Striving for the protein equivalent of the Human Genome Project, an international team of researchers has created an initial catalog of the human "proteome," or all of the proteins in the human body. In total, using 30 different human tissues, the team identified proteins encoded by 17,294 genes, which is about 84 percent of all of the genes in the human genome predicted to encode proteins. In a summary of the effort, to be published May 29 in the journal Nature, the team also reports the identification of 193 novel proteins that came from regions of the genome not predicted to code for proteins, suggesting that the human genome is more complex than previously thought. The cataloging project, led by researchers at The Johns Hopkins University and the Institute of Bioinformatics in Bangalore, India, should prove an important resource for biological research and medical diagnostics, according to the team's leaders.
"You can think of the human body as a huge library where each protein is a book," says Akhilesh Pandey, M.D., Ph.D., a professor at the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine and of biological chemistry, pathology and oncology at The Johns Hopkins University and the founder and director of the Institute of Bioinformatics. "The difficulty is that we don't have a comprehensive catalog that gives us the titles of the available books and where to find them. We think we now have a good first draft of that comprehensive catalog."While genes determine many of the characteristics of an organism, they do so by providing instructions for making proteins, the building blocks and workhorses of cells, and therefore of tissues and organs. For this reason, many investigators consider a catalog of human proteins -- and their location within the body -- to be even more instructive and useful than the catalog of genes in the human genome.Studying proteins is far more technically challenging than studying genes, Pandey notes, because the structures and functions of proteins are complex and diverse. And a mere list of existing proteins would not be very helpful without accompanying information about where in the body those proteins are found. Therefore, most protein studies to date have focused on individual tissues, often in the context of specific diseases, he adds.
To achieve a more comprehensive survey of the proteome, the research team began by taking samples of 30 tissues, extracting their proteins and using enzymes like chemical scissors to cut them into smaller pieces, called peptides. They then ran the peptides through a series of instruments designed to deduce their identity and measure their relative abundance."By generating a comprehensive human protein dataset, we have made it easier for other researchers to identify the proteins in their experiments," says Pandey. "We believe our data will become the gold standard in the field, especially because they were all generated using uniform methods and analysis, and state-of-the-art machines."Among the proteins whose data patterns have been characterized for the first time are many that were never predicted to exist. (Within the genome, in addition to the DNA sequences that encode proteins, there are stretches of DNA whose sequences do not follow a conventional protein-coding gene pattern and have therefore been labeled "noncoding.") The team's most unexpected finding was that 193 of the proteins they identified could be traced back to these supposedly noncoding regions of DNA."This was the most exciting part of this study, finding further complexities in the genome," says Pandey. "The fact that 193 of the proteins came from DNA sequences predicted to be noncoding means that we don't fully understand how cells read DNA, because clearly those sequences do code for proteins."Pandey believes that the human proteome is so extensive and complex that researchers' catalog of it will never be fully complete, but this work provides a solid foundation that others can reliably build upon.
2) Violent storms may shatter sea ice:
Tall waves’ impact on frozen ocean hints at trouble in tempestuous future. Towering waves that rise from cyclones can pummel the frigid waters around Antarctica, potentially wrecking sea ice critical to maintaining global climate. Because researchers predict climate change will bring more and stronger storms in the future, the thrashing swells could help ferry in an ice-free future.
Around Antarctica, sea ice is forming in some places and disappearing in others, says sea ice researcher Alison Kohout of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in Christchurch, New Zealand. Because the ice reflects the sun’s rays, thereby shielding Earth from solar heat, and because the ice also insulates the ocean below, the frozen rafts influence global temperatures, storms and ocean circulation. But, Kohout says, scientists don’t know enough about sea ice to predict its changes.
3) New salamander stays young at heart:
Species was overlooked because of youthful looks.Like a 35-year-old man living in his parents’ basement, a recently discovered salamander species never leaves its childhood home. Many salamanders start out life in the water, then switch to land-based living as they mature. But the newly named Eurycea subfluvicola, found dwelling in streams in Lake Catherine State Park in Arkansas, enjoys the aquatic life even as an adult. It also retains some physical features of young salamanders, like feathery external gills. Called paedomorphosis, this developmental phenomenon can keep new species hidden in plain sight: E. subfluvicola escaped notice because it looks like the juvenile form of a related salamander species, researchers at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma report April 11 in Zootaxa.
4) Zeroing in on the proton's magnetic moment:
As part of a series of experiments designed to resolve one of the deepest mysteries of physics today, researchers have made the most precise ever direct measurement of the magnetic moment of a proton. The work seeks to answer the fundamental question of why we exist at all. It is believed that the Big Bang some 13 billion years ago generated equal amounts of matter and antimatter -- which annihilate when they collide -- and yet the universe today seems to contain only matter.
As a part of a series of experiments designed to resolve one of the deepest mysteries of physics today, researchers from RIKEN, in collaboration with the University of Mainz, GSI Darmstadt and the Max Planck Institute for Physics at Heidelberg, have made the most precise ever direct measurement of the magnetic moment of a proton.The work, published in Nature today, seeks to answer the fundamental question of why we exist at all. It is believed that the Big Bang some 13 billion years ago generated equal amounts of matter and antimatter-which annihilate when they collide-and yet the universe today seems to contain only matter. Work is being carried out from many fronts to detect differences that would explain this, and one promising route is to compare the magnetic moments of particles and their antimatter conjugates, as even a tiny difference could explain the matter-antimatter asymmetry. The research collaboration is working to measure the magnetic moment of the proton and antiproton to unprecedented precision, and determine if there is any difference.
In the study published today, the researchers reached an important milestone by directly measuring the moment of a single proton to enormous precision, based on spectroscopy of a single particle in a Penning trap. Andreas Mooser, first author of the paper, explains that "this important quantity has never been measured directly and is so far only known at a relative precision of about 10 parts per billion, based on hyperfine spectroscopy of a MASER in a magnetic field. However, this required significant theoretical corrections to extract the proton's magnetic moment from the measurement." In the new paper the researchers report the first direct high precision measurement of the proton magnetic moment at a fractional precision of 3 parts per billion, improving the 42-year-old "fundamental constant" by a factor of three.The new method using a single particle in a Penning trap can now be directly applied to measure the magnetic moment of the antiproton, which is currently known at a relative precision of only 4 parts per million.According to RIKEN researcher Stefan Ulmer, second author of the paper and spokesperson of the BASE collaboration at CERN which aims at the high precision measurement of the antiproton moment, "Using the new method will allow this value to be improved by at least a factor of thousand, providing a stringent test of matter -antimatter symmetry."
5) Uncovering Clues to the Genetic Cause of Schizophrenia:
The overall number and nature of mutations -- rather than the presence of any single mutation -- influences an individual's risk of developing schizophrenia, as well as its severity, according to a discovery by Columbia University Medical Center researchers published in the latest issue of Neuron. The findings could have important implications for the early detection and treatment of schizophrenia.Maria Karayiorgou, MD, professor of psychiatry and Joseph Gogos, MD, PhD, professor of physiology and cellular biophysics and of neuroscience, and their team sequenced the "exome" -- the region of the human genome that codes for proteins -- of 231 schizophrenia patients and their unaffected parents. Using this data, they demonstrated that schizophrenia arises from collective damage across several genes.
"This study helps define a specific genetic mechanism that explains some of schizophrenia's heritability and clinical manifestation," said Dr. Karayiorgou, who is acting chief of the Division of Psychiatric and Medical Genetics at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. "Accumulation of damaged genes inherited from healthy parents leads to higher risk not only to develop schizophrenia but also to develop more severe forms of the disease."Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder in which patients experience hallucination, delusion, apathy and cognitive difficulties. The disorder is relatively common, affecting around 1 in every 100 people, and the risk of developing schizophrenia is strongly increased if a family member has the disease. Previous research has focused on the search for individual genes that might trigger schizophrenia. The availability of new high-throughput DNA sequencing technology has contributed to a more holistic approach to the disease.
The researchers compared sequencing data to look for genetic differences and identify new loss-of-function mutations -- which are rarer, but have a more severe effect on ordinary gene function -- in cases of schizophrenia that had not been inherited from the patients' parents. They found an excess of such mutations in a variety of genes across different chromosomes.Using the same sequencing data, the researchers also looked at what types of mutations are commonly passed on to schizophrenia patients from their parents. It turns out that many of these are "loss-of-function" types. These mutations were also found to occur more frequently in genes with a low tolerance for genetic variation."These mutations are important signposts toward identifying the genes involved in schizophrenia," said Dr. Karayiorgou.
The researchers then looked more deeply into the sequencing data to try to determine the biological functions of the disrupted genes involved in schizophrenia. They were able to verify two key damaging mutations in a gene called SETD1A, suggesting that this gene contributes significantly to the disease.SETD1A is involved in a process called chromatin modification. Chromatin is the molecular apparatus that packages DNA into a smaller volume so it can fit into the cell and physically regulates how genes are expressed. Chromatin modification is therefore a crucial cellular activity.The finding fits with accumulating evidence that damage to chromatin regulatory genes is a common feature of various psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. By combining the mutational data from this and related studies on schizophrenia, the authors found that "chromatin regulation" was the most common description for genes that had damaging mutations."A clinical implication of this finding is the possibility of using the number and severity of mutations involved in chromatin regulation as a way to identify children at risk of developing schizophrenia and other neurodevelopmental disorders," said Dr. Gogos. "Exploring ways to reverse alterations in chromatic modification and restore gene expression may be an effective path toward treatment."In further sequencing studies, the researchers hope to identify and characterize more genes that might play a role in schizophrenia and to elucidate common biological functions of the genes.
6) Relaxation helps pack DNA into a virus:
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have found that DNA packs more easily into the tight confines of a virus when given a chance to relax, they report in a pair of papers to be published in in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of May 26 and the May 30 issue of Physical Review Letters. DNA is a long, unwieldy molecule that tends to repel itself because it is negatively charged, yet it can spool tightly. Within the heads of viruses, DNA can be packed to near crystalline densities, crammed in by a molecular motor.
"These are among the most powerful molecular motors we know of," says Douglas Smith, a professor of physics whose group studies them.Within an infected cell, viruses assemble in a matter of minutes. Smith's group studies the process by isolating components of this system to watch single molecules in action.They attach the empty head of a single virus, along with the molecular motor, to a microscopic bead that can be moved about using a laser. To another bead, they tether a molecule of viral DNA."It's like fishing," Smith says. "We dangle a DNA molecule in front of the viral motor. If we're lucky, the motor grabs the DNA and starts pulling it in."Packaging proceeds in fits and starts, with slips and pauses along the way. These pauses increase, along with forces the motor counters, as the viral head becomes full.Scientists who model this process have had to make assumptions about the state of the DNA within. An open question is whether the DNA is in its lowest energy state, that is at equilibrium, or in a disordered configuration."In confinement, it could be forming all kinds of knots and tangles," said Zachary Berndsen, a graduate student in biochemistry who works with Smith and is the lead author of the PNAS paper.To figure this out, Berndsen stalled the motor by depriving it of chemical energy, and found that packaging rates picked up when the motor restarted. The longer the stall, the greater the acceleration.
DNA takes more than 10 minutes to fully relax inside the confines of a viral head where there's little wiggle room, the team found. That's 60,000 times as long as it takes unconfined DNA to relax."How fast this virus packages DNA is determined by physics more than chemistry," Smith said.DNA's tendency to repel itself due to its negative charge may actually facilitate the relaxation. In related experiments, the researchers added spermidine, a positively charged molecule that causes DNA in solution to spool up."You might think the stickiness would enhance packing, but we find that the opposite is true," said Nicholas Keller, the lead author of this second report, published in Physical Review Letters.Countering the negative charges, particularly to the point of making the DNA attractive to itself, actually hindered the packaging of DNA."The DNA can get trapped into conformations that just stop the motor," Keller said."We tend to think of DNA for its information content, but living systems must also accommodate the physical properties of such a long molecule," Berndsen said. "Viruses and cells have to deal with the forces involved."Beyond a clearer understanding of how viruses operate, the approach offers a natural system that is a model for understanding and studying the physics of long polymers like DNA in confined spaces. The insights could also inform biotechnologies that enclose long polymers within minuscule channels and spheres in nanscale devices.
Movie Release This week:
“Maleficent” explores the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the classic “Sleeping Beauty" and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever.
After a cowardly sheep farmer backs out of a gunfight, his fickle girlfriend leaves him for another man. When a mysterious and beautiful woman rides into town, she helps him find his courage and they begin to fall in love. But when her husband, a notorious outlaw, arrives seeking revenge, the farmer must put his newfound courage to the test.
Three couples head to the desert to help their friend (David Krumholtz) heal after the death of his mother. But when they learn that his idea of healing is asking to sleep with his best friends’ girlfriends — at the same time — his ludicrous request creates fallout amidst the entire group. A hilariously dark comedy about the things we do for friends in need, also starring Gillian Jacobs, Zachary Knighton, Melanie Lynskey, Ahna O’Reilly, and Jason Ritter.
Kelly Reichardt’s suspense-thriller Night Moves follows three environmentalists whose homegrown plot to blow up a controversial dam unravels into a journey of doubt, paranoia and unintended consequences. As organic farmer Josh (Jesse Eisenberg), high society dropout Dena (Dakota Fanning) and ex-Marine Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard) plan, carry out and then witness the fallout of an attention-grabbing act of sabotage, they find their own personal limits tested.
Michael, an ex-con and former martial arts wunderkind, gets sentenced to community service at a decrepit karate school, where he crosses paths with the very man that killed his family ten years before. Now, Michael must disobey the school's sensei and train to confront the killer, this time, in the MMA octagon. ~ Cammila Collar, Rovi
Political News This Week:
1) Narendra Modi’s Glamorous Swearing-In Ceremony:
Narendra Modi greets India’s President Pranab Mukherjee after the swearing-in ceremony at the president’s estate. As part of the ceremony, Mr. Mukherjee invited Mr. Modi to take an oath of office as well as an oath of secrecy — that he will not reveal any confidential information or state secrets.
Bollywood actor Salman Khan at the president’s residence or the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Film stars including Vivek Oberoi, Hrithik Roshan, Dharmendra and actress Hema Malini were among 4,000 guests in attendance on Monday evening.
Hira Ba, center, 95, the mother of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, watches the live broadcast of the swearing-in ceremony of her son with Narendra Modi’s brother Pankaj Modi, left, and other relatives from her residence in Gandhinagar, in the western Indian state of Guajarat, on May 26, 2014
actress Kirron Kher won elections from the Chandigarh constituency — in a contest that saw her pitted against Gul Panag, another Bollywood actress who represented the Aam Aadmi Party and Pawan Bansal, a veteran leader of the Congress party.
Leaders from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and a government representative from Bangladesh arrived at the nation’s capital over the weekend and Monday after Mr. Modi invited neighboring states to the event.
Mrs. Gandhi and Mr. Advani shared a light moment as guests waited in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
2) Narendra Modi announces list of Cabinet Ministers with portfolios:
BJP leader Arun Jailtey has been given the charge of Finance Ministry and additional charge of the Defence Ministry in the cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Apart from Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj has been given charge of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Rajnath Singh was given charge of the Home Ministry.
The list of Cabinet ministers includes:
Sushma Swaraj – Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)
Ananth Kumar – Parliamentary Affairs + additional charge
Nitin Gadkari – Surface Transport Ministry and Shipping Ministry
Sadanand Gowda – Railways Ministry
Venkaiah Naidu – Urban Development Ministry
Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati: Civil aviation
Harsimrat Kaur Badal – Food Processing Industries
Gopinathrao Munde: Rural development, panchayati raj, drinking water and sanitation
Ravi Shankar Prasad – Telecom Ministry, Law and Justice Ministry
Dr Harsh Vardhan - Health and Family Welfare
Kalraj Mishra: Micro, small and medium enterprises
Maneka Gandhi – Women and Child Development Ministry
Najma Heptullah – Ministry of Minorities
Thaawar Chand Gehlot: Social justice and empowerment
Smriti Irani – HRD Ministry
Radha Mohan Singh – Agriculture Ministry
Nirmala Sitharaman – MoS Commerce
Piyush Goel – MoS Power (Independent)
Prakash Javadekar – MoS Information & Broadcasting
Uma Bharti : Minister of Water Resources of India
Ram Vilas Paswan- Food and Civil Supplies Ministry
Jual Oram: Tribal affairs
Minister of states:
V K Singh: Development of northeastern region (independent charge), external affairs, overseas Indian affairs
Inderjit Singh Rao: Planning (independent charge), statistics and programme implementation (independent charge), defence
Santosh Kumar Gangwar: Textiles (independent charge), parliamentary affairs, water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation
Shripad Yesso Naik: Culture (independent charge), tourism (independent charge)
Dharmendra Pradhan: Petroleum and natural gas (independent charge)
Sarbananda Sonowal: Skill development, entrepreneurship, youth affairs and sports (independent charge)
Prakash Javadekar: Information and broadcasting (independent charge), environment, forest and climate change (independent charge), parliamentary affairs
Piyush Goyal: Power (independent charge), coal (independent charge), new and renewable energy (independent charge)
Jitendra Singh: Science and technology (independent charge), earth sciences (independent charge), Prime Minister office, personnel, public grievances and pensions, department of atomic energy, department of space
Nirmala Sitharaman: Commerce and industry (independent charge), finance, corporate affairs
G M Siddeshwara: Civil aviation
Manoj Sinha: Railways
Nihalchand: Chemicals and fertilizers
Upendra Kushwaha: Rural development, panchayati raj, drinking water and sanitation
P Radhakrishnan: Heavy industries and public enterprises
Kiren Rijiju: Home affairs
Krishan Pal: Road transport and highways, shipping
Sanjeev Kumar Balyan: Agriculture, food processing industries
Mansukhbhai Dhanjibhai Vasava: Tribal affairs
Raosaheb Dadarao Danve: Consumer affairs, food and public distribution
Vishnu Deo Sai: Mines, steel, labour and employment
Sudarshan Bhagat: Social justice and empowerment
3) Pinaka rockets successfully test-fired:
India's indigenously developed Pinaka rockets were on Thursday successfully test-fired thrice from a multi-barrel rocket launcher at an armament base in Chandipur-on-sea, about 15 km from Balasore in Odisha."Three rounds of Pinaka rockets were successfully tested from the proof and experimental establishment at Chandipur," defence sources said.
Pinaka, which has undergone several tough tests since 1995, has been inducted into the armed forces and the present trials were conducted with some improvements in the system, the sources said, adding some more tests are likely to be held.The unguided rocket system is meant to neutralise large areas with rapid salvos.The rockets with a range of 40 km and capable of acting as a force-multiplier, were developed to supplement artillery guns, the sources said.
The quick reaction time and high rate of fire of the system give an edge to the army during a low-intensity conflict situation, they said.The system's capability to incorporate several types of warheads make it deadly for the enemy as they could even destroy solid structures and bunkers.The Pinaka system with a battery of six launchers can fire a salvo of 12 rockets in 44 seconds and neutralise a target area of 3.9 sq km.In July last year, some advanced, second generation Pinaka Mark II Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher System had undergone successful trials at Chandhan area in Pokhran field firing ranges in western Rajasthan and are in development stage, the sources said.The development and trials of the advanced system would continue and the rocket was expected to enter service very soon, they said.
4) 'Omar making all the noises on Article 370 to earn brownie points':
The Narendra Modi-led government triggered its first controversy after Minister of State Jitendra Singh hinted at revocation of Article 370, which provides special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The remarks left both J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and opposition Peoples Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti fuming.
Even as the debate continues in the political circles, what is the aam Kashmiri thinking?
FAQ: Why is Article 370 so contentious?
Backroom talks between successive state and central government has diluted the provisions of Article 370 and today as it stands, it makes no difference to the people of Kashmir, say the locals.Delhi University Professor S A R Geelani, who hails from Kashmir, has been very vocal about the issue. “There is a big misconception about Article 370. While many say that there cannot be industrial development because land can’t be purchased by outsiders, I would like to clarify that this is not the case. There is a rule in place that the government can lease out land to industries for 99 years and provide insurance to the industries for the first ten years.”
“Industrial growth is not being hampered because of Article 370, but because of tension in the Valley. Think about it now. Is Article 370 the solution or peace in the Valley the answer?” When Article 370 came into existence the people of Kashmir were promised that this was temporary and we would be given a chance to decide our future, Geelani points out.According to Kashmir resident Mohammad Afzal, the problems in the Valley can be solved only when the interest of the locals is taking into consideration. “Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that he wants peace and prosperity. How can there be peace amid these burning issues?” “Kashmir does not need Article 370. We need prosperity, peace and stability and a chance to decide our future,’’ he adds.Geelani feels that the debate today is a futile one. “The Government of India has thrown open a question and Omar Abdullah is making all the noises to earn brownie points. This is all politics and the fact is he has never been clear on the matter. He will do anything to ensure that he does not lose his seat and he realises that his position is secure only when he makes noises whether it matters or not,” the professor said.
The people of Kashmir feel that they have been through a lot. “Now is not the time to debate these issues, but give people a chance to build a future. The people of Kashmir cannot be under status quo all the time. There has to be a decision in the interest of the people. Kashmir is a dispute recognised on the international level,” said Geelani
“There is a good chunk of Kashmir which is under Pakistan. In such a scenario, Article 370 is a very localised issue. The real issue to be dealt with is on the international level and only once that is sorted will there be peace and prosperity in the Valley,” he adds.According to him, blindly revoking Article 370 will lead to tensions, as politicians will rake up sentiments. “Instead, the Indian and Pakistan government along with the state government should sit down and effectively resolve the dispute. This is what will provide the real solution.”
5) Irom Sharmila is very much eager to eat, but...:
Rights activist Irom Sharmila, who is on a fast for over 13 years in Manipur demanding repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, on Wednesday told a Delhi court that she was very much eager to eat if she gets the assurance that the "draconian" Act will be revoked.
Sharmila, who appeared before the court in pursuance to the production warrant issued against her in connection with a case lodged in 2006 for allegedly attempting to commit suicide during her fast-unto-death here at Jantar Mantar, claimed that wide scale discrimination was being done with the people from North East.
"I love my life very much and I am very much eager to eat something right here in the court, if I get an assurance that this undemocratic AFSPA is revoked," Sharmila said with her eyes full of tears.41-year-old Sharmila, who came to the court with her nose tube in place, a day after flying in from Manipur, also told Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain that she never intended to commit suicide and it was just a protest against AFSPA."There are scholars and experts, who have forced the revoking of TADA and POTA but no one as such has come forward against the more 'severe' AFSPA, which is against the principal of non-violence" she told the magistrate. During the proceedings, when the court told her that she would be given exemption from physical appearance due to her health condition, Sharmila replied, "It is my case and I want to be physically present in the court during the proceedings." She also alleged that democratic rights of the people of North-East were being taken away under the garb of AFSPA.
To this, the magistrate said that what she was demanding was not under his jurisdiction and he has to restrict himself to the trial of the case only.During the hearing, the court recorded the statements of two policemen, who were arrayed as prosecution witnesses in the case in which the Manipuri-activist is facing trial.The court has fixed the matter for July 17 for recording of statements of other witnesses in the case.Sharmila was brought before the court from Manipur amidst tight security.During the recording of statement, inspector Surendra Kaushik told the court that he had received information from his senior officials that on October 4, 2006, the activist was staging protest at Jantar Mantar and her previous medical check-up revealed that she was not in good health.He, however, told the court that he did not remember what details he had recorded in his statement given before the then SHO of Parliament Street police station in Delhi about the medical condition of Sharmila.The court, after recording the statements, told the police officials accompanying Sharmila if her stay in Delhi could be extended till Thursday. To this, the police official informed the court that they had no prior sanction from their seniors regarding this and she needs to be taken back to Manipur on Wednesday itself.
"In order to ensure the completion of prosecution evidence in the next date of hearing, notice be issued to all the remaining material witnesses for recording of statements on July 17-July 18, 2014," the court said and directed the police officials to produce Sharmila before it on that day. The court had on April 1 issued production warrant against Sharmila after she did not appear before it. On March 4 last year, the court had put Sharmila on trial after she had refused to plead guilty for the offence of attempting to commit suicide (section 309 of the IPC).If convicted, Sharmila, who is out on bail in this case, faces a maximum jail term of one year. Popularly known as the 'Iron Lady', Sharmila, who has been on fast since 2000 and is fed through a nasal tube, had earlier told the court that her protest was non-violent.She had also rejected the charge that she had attempted suicide in 2006. Her counsel had earlier told the court that Sharmila has already spent one year in judicial custody, which is the maximum sentence for the offence under section 309 of IPC.
6) Exclusive! Modi-Sharif had one-on-one meeting without aides:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi created history of sorts by holding one-on-one talks with his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his very first day in office. Not only that, he also gifted a shawl to Sharif’s mother. This kind of fast-paced diplomatic development is not usually seen in New Delhi. Modi, says a source in the ministry of external affairs, learned the drill of greeting foreign dignitaries and conducting of bilateral talks, "too fast".
Modi remembered well that the host always stands to the left of the guest. When Sharif reached Hyderabad House on Tuesday, Modi stretched out his right hand with vigour to shake hands with Sharif. Then he deftly took Sharif to his right and shook hands again and posed for photographers, remembering to stand with the Indian flag in the background.Vikram Sood, former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing, told Rediff.com, “I think Modi’s body language was all right. He was a warm host and greeted the leaders with dignity. He appeared as a confident host.”Sood supports Modi’s move to invite South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation leaders for the swearing-in ceremony. The unconventional and unprecedented event has concluded successfully.
In the world of diplomacy it takes a long time to organise such a high-level meeting, but India and Pakistan have succeeded in doing so in the shortest possible time.Although the Indian media has not highlighted it, the Pakistan media has reported widely about both leaders’ highly significant one-on-one meeting without any aides.Such meetings give a rare opportunity for leaders to build rapport, start the unique and exclusive process and also helps keep things moving without external issues disturbing it.
It’s not known what transpired between Modi and Sharif but it’s most likely that Modi must have promised to lend India’s support to Sharif in his efforts to put Pakistan back on the path of growth and greater democracy. After all, Sharif had defied the opposition in Islamabad to accept Modi’s invitation. Sharif, too, must have ensured that he addresses India’s concerns.Both the leaders, sources say, spoke in Hindi. On Tuesday Modi spoke in Hindi with all the eight SAARC leaders. This is a big departure in the Indian diplomatic world.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke in English while with few Pakistani leaders he did speak in Punjabi. But, it’s now official that Modi has brought Hindi into vogue in the Videsh Mantralaya. Modi will use interpreters from now onwards.On Tuesday he took the help of a joint secretary in the MEA in the meetings with SAARC leaders.Talking about the actual outcome of the Modi-Sharif talks, a serving diplomat explained, “Modi and Sharif have opened a window of hope. Our PM has scored a sixer in the first ball of his first match.”Another officer said, “In view of Modi’s hardliner image, the way he conducted an aggressive and bitter campaign, there were apprehensions. He talked about Pakistan and mentioned (fugitive gangster) Dawood Ibrahim while chiding former home minister Sushilkumar Shinde. But by calling SAARC leaders and conducting such talks on his very first day in office, Modi has tried to remove those serious apprehensions. Normally, for any new PM it takes around a year to meet with all neighbours and conduct bilateral talks. Here it was done in just a day. Now, they know bit about Modi and our PM knows them and the issues.”
Back home in Pakistan, Sharif got flak for not mentioning Kashmir in his statement before departing from New Delhi. In Sharif's defence, the Pakistan daily Dawn has quoted a member of the Sharif delegation saying that ‘Mr Modi’s promise to visit Pakistan, the resumption of secretary-level talks, and taking forward the Lahore declaration signed by then prime minister Sharif and then Indian Prime Minister (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee back in 1999 which has a clear mention of the Kashmir issue.’However, Modi's first day in office ended with many controversies. Smriti Irani's selection as human resources development minister, minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Dr Jitendra Singh's remark on Article 370 and the appointment of Muzaffarnagar riot-accused Sanjeev Baliyan as MoS in the agriculture ministry raised tempers much before Sharif could depart from New Delhi.
7) DRDO tests Akash air defence missiles:
Defence Research and Development Organisation on Wednesday successfully test-fired the Akash air defence missiles off the coast of Balasore in Odisha.
"Three Akash missiles were launched from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Balasore, on tow body target of Lakshya pilotless target aircraft moving at low altitude far boundary, and ripple mode missions. The missiles intercepted the fast moving and maneuvering small RCS targets within small interval of five seconds in ripple mode," a DRDO release said. The tests were conducted by the Indian Air Force, which will be the first service to induct the Akash missiles in its inventory.
The missiles have been developed by Defence Research and Development Laboratory along with 13 other DRDO labs and manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited. The launchers were developed by a DRDO lab and produced by Tata Power and L&T.DRDO Chief Avinash Chander congratulated all the teams from DRDO, production agencies and the IAF for successfully organisng the event and fulfilling the mission objectives of the evaluation tests on deliverable equipment.Akash missiles are being developed as part of Integrated Missile Development Programme of the 1980s and are expected to inducted into operational service in near future.
8) You are safe, aren't you?' UP CM's reply to law and order question:
"You are safe aren’t you? I hope you have not faced any danger," shot back Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Friday when asked about the law and order situation in the state in the backdrop of the Badaun gang rape and murder case and the Azamgarh gang-rape incident.
Yadav, who was in Kanpur on a visit, said arrests have been made in the gang rape and murder of two Dalit sisters in Badaun and action was also being taken against guilty police officials.Asked what was his view on the law and order situation in UP in the wake of the incident, he retorted, "I hope you have not faced any danger!"When the journalist said, "No", the chief minister said, "Thank you. You should propagate this."Yadav said a new police control room has come up in Kanpur and added that no other state government has such a set-up.
Sports News This Week:
1) Chinks in Kings’ armour:
The stage was set on Tuesday for a riveting play-off clash between Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. After heavy rains forced the match to be postponed to Wednesday, fans waited with bated breaths to witness one of the most anticipated contests of the ongoing edition. Although intermittent showers interrupted the match on several occasions, they did not curtail the number of overs to be bowled. Batting first, the home team, Kolkata Knight Riders posted a competitive 163/8 on a slow pitch, which was kept under the covers for more than two days.
Bailey’s men began their chase on a sorry note, losing the wicket of opener Virender Sehwag off the first ball of the second over bowled by Umesh Yadav. Punjab could not recover from this early jolt, as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. The big guns Glenn Maxwell, David Miller and George Bailey failed to fire when they were expected to wade out their team out of murky waters.The result? The mighty Kings XI Punjab faltered in their chase and surrendered to the clinical bowling performance of Kolkata Knight Riders, who cruised into the finals with a convincing win. Thankfully for the Punjab franchise, they still have one more chance to redeem themselves and find a spot in the finals along side Kolkata. Punjab have the herculean task of edging past a dominant Chennai Super Kings side which is riding high with confidence after Wednesday night’s comprehensive victory against the Mumbai Indians.
Been there, done that
If we go by the records, Chennai Super Kings have a slight edge over their counterparts from Punjab. In the last six editions of the IPL, the Super Kings have reached the finals five times, whereas Punjab are yet to reach there. Whether they would be able to defeat Chennai Super Kings in Friday’s eliminator is another question. The first thing that Kings XI Punjab needs to address is their lack of consistency and sudden dip in form.Let’s have a closer look at some of the issues that have seemingly plagued the Kings’ victory march.
Maxwell’s minimised effect
One of the biggest factors in Kings XI Punjab’s juggernaut in the UAE leg of IPL 7 was the indomitable form of Glenn Maxwell, whose belligerent hitting had created tremors in opposition camps. During his reign of terror in the UAE, Maxwell scored 300 runs from just five games with three 80-plus scores.
After coming to India, Maxwell has managed only 239 runs in 9 matches at a mediocre average of 26.55, with a highest score of 90 against Chennai Super Kings in Cuttack. His last five scores read – 6, 0, 2, 14 and 43.
2) ‘Generation is walking away… but will not happen overnight’:
Rafa Nadal and the other members of the “big four” know that a new band of brash youngsters are on the horizon, but the Spaniard showed on Thursday they will not be handing over the keys to the game’s trophy cabinet just yet. The Spaniard was up against Austrian wunderkind Dominic Thiem in the second round of the French Open and while the 6-2 6-2 6-3 scoreline did not do his opponent justice, Nadal was clearly the master as he took another step towards a record-extending ninth title at the claycourt slam.
World number one Nadal raised his game significantly to snuff out any chance of an upset, fending off a mini crisis in the third set when 20-year-old Thiem began to threaten.
At nearly 28, 13-times grand slam champion Nadal knows his career is probably entering the final chapters, but says any takeover at the top is not imminent.
“Our generation is now on the way out, you know, like Murray, Djokovic, Ferrer, and Berdych and others, and Tsonga, as well, we have been here for a long while,” Nadal told reporters.
“A generation is walking away and others will replace us. It will not come overnight, but it will come.“I am almost 28. Djokovic and Andy are 27. Federer is, I don’t know, 32. The new generation, new players, have to come. We’re not gonna be here for 10 more years.”That is for the future though and for now Nadal only has eyes on adding another Roland Garros title to his CV.After a patchy, but his own high standards, claycourt season he was pleased to move up a notch against Thiem.
“I played the way I wanted to play. I resisted when he was going for his shots, very powerful forehand and a good backhand, “ Nadal, who will face Argentine Leonardo Mayer next, said.“When I had to play long points I did well. When I had to attack and move him, I think I did well.]“I went to the net a few times. I’m happy that the way I returned today.”
It was indeed more like the Nadal that has been virtually unbeatable for a decade while racking up eight titles on the red clay here.
His forehand was spinning cruelly, his defence was brickwall and his determination unquenchable.
Thiem’s booming groundstrokes, particulaly his inside-out forehand, caused Nadal trouble but Nadal too often had the extra shot and after recovering from a break down in the third set he sealed the win on his second match point.“He lost one match here in 10 years or something, so I knew that it was going be the biggest challenge in my tennis career,” said Thiem.“I will be learning a lot from today’s match, for sure. It’s really important to play against these guys a lot, against these top guys, because it’s more important than every
3) Pinehurst not possible for recovering Tiger Woods:
Three-times champion Tiger Woods has ruled himself out of next month’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst in North Carolina as he recovers from back surgery, the second successive major championship he will miss this year. The former world number one has been sidelined from competitive golf since late March after requiring treatment for a pinched nerve in his back that had troubled him for months and was unable to compete at the Masters in April. “Unfortunately, I won’t be there because I’m not yet physically able to play competitive golf,” Woods said, referring to the June 12-15 U.S. Open. “The U.S. Open is very important to me, and I know it’s going to be a great week. Despite missing the first two majors and several other important tournaments, I remain very optimistic about this year and my future.”This will be the sixth major championship missed by Woods due to injury, and he remains stuck on his career tally of 14 wins, having not clinched one of golf’s blue riband events since the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
Woods has not set a timetable for his likely return and could possibly also miss the year’s third major, the July 17-20 British Open at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England.
The 38-year-old American has been increasingly plagued by injuries in recent seasons as the wear and tear of years on the tour have begun to take a toll.
He failed to finish the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic in early March, quitting after 13 holes in his final round. The American then tweaked his back again on the last day of the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami just one week later and opted to undergo surgery on March 31.
4) Indiana Pacers beat Miami Heat, live to fight another day:
Paul George scored 31 of his 37 points in the second half, including 21 in the fourth quarter, and almost single-handedly kept the Indiana Pacers alive in the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals with a 93-90 victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday. The Pacers still trail 3-2 in the best-of-seven series. Game 6 will be played Friday night in Miami.
It took a frantic effort just to extend the series, even with the foul-plagued LeBron James held to just seven points in 23 minutes. Chris Bosh led the Heat with 20 points, but missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer in the closing seconds. Indiana turned a 50-41 deficit into a 64-57 lead after three quarters, then led by as many as 11 in the fourth. Miami’s last-ditch rally made it 91-90 with 16 seconds to go, but Indiana managed to hold on.
George’s 21 fourth-quarter points were the most ever scored in one quarter of a playoff game against Miami. The previous best was 20 by the Bulls’ Michael Jordan in May 1997.“We just played. Our backs are against the wall right now so that’s all we can do,” George said. “We were in a position that if we lost this game, we’re going home so I think that was in the backs of everybody’s minds.”David West added 19 points for the Pacers and Roy Hibbert had 10 points and 13 rebounds. Miami will now try to clinch its fourth straight Eastern Conference title at home.
The Pacers played like a desperate team trying to save their season. They chased shooters all over the floor, ran down loose balls, even put themselves in harm’s way. Lance Stephenson appeared to hurt his left shoulder in the third quarter after a hard fall and still finished the game.Until George came alive in the second half, it looked like the Heat would close out the series with a fourth straight win. But unlike Game 2, when the Pacers couldn’t stop Dwyane Wade and James late, the Pacers fended off the closing charge from the two-time defending champs — barely.George’s incredible ability to hit big shot after big shot and a defense that refused to give the lead away late eventually saved the Pacers.
5) No miracle this time around:
Harbhajan Singh has forever been the showboater. The man for the big occasion, and one who never misses out on an opportunity to play to the crowd. It’s being in the spotlight that he thrives on after all.So it wasn’t surprising to see the veteran off-spinner irrepressibly animated following the fifth delivery of his opening over on Wednesday. As he high-fived his teammates, punched the air and broke into a little jig, the Brabourne crowd responded in kind with a raucous roar.Harbhajan to his credit single-handedly just brought the stadium to life, long after the DJ had dished out his final tune for the night. He had done so by a dramatic double-strike, sending back both the Chennai Super Kings openers, who had till then held forth in dominating fashion putting 60 on the board in the first six overs.At least, Dwayne Smith had looked to smash the leather off the ball, like he always does, while perishing to a skier at long-on. Faf du Plessis’s scoop that cost him his wicket was not only unwarranted it was also attempted with little intent or conviction.But just like that Harbhajan had brought Mumbai Indians right back into a contest that was fast slipping out of their grasp. Earlier in the day, Harbhajan might well have sat with an eye on the television, harbouring hopes, however distant, of earning a much-awaited recall to the Indian team. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be.
Here at a packed Brabourne with millions watching on television, was his chance to prove a point, another penchant that he has never shied away from. For a brief while it did seem that Harbhajan was spinning an unlikely win for the defending champions. But that too wasn’t to be with Suresh Raina deciding to play spoilsport.
Raina incidentally had won a recall to the Indian team on Wednesday and that too with a cherry on top after being named captain for the three-match ODI series in Bangladesh.
And he celebrated it with a breezy half-century to see Chennai home and bring an end to Mumbai’s title-reign, one that many thought should have ended a match earlier anyway.Once Harbhajan bowled out, his figures reading 2/27, Mumbai’s bowling attack never seemed to have the arsenal required to stall Chennai’s charge.
To boot Raina looked in irresistible form, and was ably supported by David Hussey, who kept hitting sixes whenever the required rate threatened to get tighter.
There was still some life left in the contest as Pragyan Ojha commenced his third over, and the 16th of CSK’s innings with 42 still required. By the end of it, the match was all but over after Ojha was air-lifted for three massive sixes.
Book Of This Week:
The Book Thief : Book by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief : Book by Markus Zusak
The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that is now a major motion picture, Markus Zusak's unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul.
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
Zusak was born in Sydney, Australia. His mother Lisa is originally from Germany and his father Helmut is from Austria. They emigrated to Australia in the late 1950s. Markus is the youngest of four children and has two sisters and one brother. He attended Engadine High School and briefly returned there to teach English while writing.
Zusak is the author of five books. His first three books, The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe and When Dogs Cry, released between 1999 and 2001, were all published internationally and garnered a number of awards. The Underdog, his first book, took seven years to publish. The Messenger, published in 2002, won the 2003 CBC Book of the Year Award (Older Readers) and the 2003 NSW Premier's Literary Award (Ethel Turner Prize) in Australia and was a runner-up for the Printz Award in America.
The Book Thief was published in 2005 and has been translated into more than 30 languages. Beside winning awards in Australia and overseas, The Book Thief has held the number one position at Amazon.com and on the New York Times bestseller list, as well as in Brazil, Ireland and Taiwan. It has been among the top five best sellers in the UK, Spain, Israel and South Korea, and is still set to be released in many other territories.