Science News This Week:
1) Design of self-assembling protein nanomachines starts to click: A nanocage builds itself from engineered components:
A route for constructing protein nanomachines engineered for specific applications may be closer to reality.Biological systems produce an incredible array of self-assembling, functional protein tools. Some examples of these nanoscale protein materials are scaffolds to anchor cellular activities, molecular motors to drive physiological events, and capsules for delivering viruses into host cells.Scientists inspired by these sophisticated molecular machines want to build their own, with forms and functions customized to tackle modern-day challenges.The ability to design new protein nanostructures could have useful implications in targeted delivery of drugs, in vaccine development and in plasmonics -- manipulating electromagnetic signals to guide light diffraction for information technologies, energy production or other uses.
A recently developed computational method may be an important step toward that goal. The project was led by the University of Washington's Neil King, translational investigator; Jacob Bale, graduate student in Molecular and Cellular Biology; and William Sheffler in David Baker's laboratory at the University of Washington Institute for Protein Design, in collaboration with colleagues at UCLA and Janelia Farm.The work is based in the Rosetta macromolecular modeling package developed by Baker and his colleagues. The program was originally created to predict natural protein structures from amino acid sequences. Researchers in the Baker lab and around the world are increasingly using Rosetta to design new protein structures and sequences aimed at solving real-world problems."Proteins are amazing structures that can do remarkable things," King said, "they can respond to changes in their environment. Exposure to a particular metabolite or a rise in temperature, for example, can trigger an alteration in a particular protein's shape and function." People often call proteins the building blocks of life."But unlike, say, a PVC pipe," King said, "they are not simply construction material." They are also construction (and demolition) workers -- speeding up chemical reactions, breaking down food, carrying messages, interacting with each other, and performing countless other duties vital to life.
Reporting in the June 5 issue of Nature, the researchers describe the development and application of new Rosetta software enabling the design of novel protein nanomaterials composed of multiple copies of distinct protein subunits, which arrange themselves into higher order, symmetrical architectures.With the new software the scientists were able to create five novel, 24-subunit cage-like protein nanomaterials. Importantly, the actual structures, the researchers observed, were in very close agreement with their computer modeling.Their method depends on encoding pairs of protein amino acid sequences with the information needed to direct molecular assembly through protein-protein interfaces. The interfaces not only provide the energetic forces that drive the assembly process, they also precisely orient the pairs of protein building blocks with the geometry required to yield the desired cage-like symmetric architectures.Creating this cage-shaped protein, the scientists said, may be a first step towards building nano-scale containers. King said he looks forward to a time when cancer-drug molecules will be packaged inside of designed nanocages and delivered directly to tumor cells, sparing healthy cells.
"The problem today with cancer chemotherapy is that it hits every cell and makes the patient feel sick," King said. Packaging the drugs inside customized nanovehicles with parking options restricted to cancer sites might circumvent the side effects.
The scientists note that combining just two types of symmetry elements, as in this study, can in theory give rise to a range of symmetrical shapes, such as cubic point groups, helices, layers, and crystals.King explained that the immune system responds to repetitive, symmetric patterns, such as those on the surface of a virus or disease bacteria. Building nano-decoys may be a way train the immune system to attack certain types of pathogens."This concept may become the foundation for vaccines based on engineered nanomaterials," King said. Further down the road, he and Bale anticipate that these design methods might also be useful for developing new clean energy technologies.The scientists added in their report, "The precise control over interface geometry offered by our method enables the design of two-component protein nanomaterials with diverse nanoscale features, such as surfaces, pores, and internal volumes, with high accuracy."
They went on to say that the combinations possible with two-component materials greatly expand the number and variety of potential nanomaterials that could be designed.It may be possible to produce nanomaterials in a variety of sizes, shapes and arrangements, and also move on to construct increasingly more complex materials from more than two components.
The researchers emphasized that the long-term goal of such structures is not to be static. The hope is that they will mimic or go beyond the dynamic performance of naturally occurring protein assemblies, and that eventually novel molecular protein machines could be manufactured with programmable functions.The researchers pointed out that although designing proteins and protein-based nanomaterials is very challenging due to the relative complexity of protein structures and interactions, there are now more than a handful of laboratories around the world making major strides in this field. Each of the leading contributors have key strengths, they said. The strengths of the UW team is in the accuracy of the match of the designed proteins to the computational models and the predictability of the results.
2) Rocky, overweight planet shakes up theories:
Distant exoplanet is as massive as Neptune but has a composition closer to Earth's .Common wisdom in astronomy says that once a planet has collected about 10 Earths’ worth of rock, it becomes a gas giant like Neptune or Saturn. The exoplanet Kepler-10c didn’t get that memo. With 17 times the mass of Earth, the distant planet is the heaviest rocky planet known. And astronomers have no idea how it formed.
With the mass of Neptune squeezed into a ball only about 2.5 times as wide as our planet, gravity on Kepler-10c is three times stronger than Earth’s, astronomer David Latham reported June 2 at the American Astronomical Society meeting. “I wouldn’t want to be a giraffe on this planet,” said Latham, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
3) Designer T cells emerge as weapons against disease:
Attempts to boost the immune system against cancer are beginning to pay off. Doug Olson had all but lost his 14-year battle with leukemia. Exhausted and weakened by chemotherapy, his body no longer responded to any of the handful of drug treatments he had been given over the years. In 2010, his doctors suggested a different strategy: beefing up the disease-fighting immune cells in his body.
Researchers picked out certain immune cells from Olson’s blood, then inserted a virus into the cells. The virus provided new genes that prompt the cells, known as T cells, to attack leukemia cells. When the altered T cells were delivered back into Olson’s veins, his immune system became a cancer-seeking weapon.
One month after treatment, Olson was in complete remission. His doctors could find no sign of cancer in his blood or bone marrow. Today, at age 67, he remains cancer-free. Recently retired, Olson says he no longer worries about how long his remission will last; he’s taken up sailing and running half-marathons.
4) First intact skull of Mediterranean worm lizard found: Skull of new species sheds light on Mediterranean worm lizard evolution:
The first intact skull of a Mediterranean worm lizard has been found in Spain, according to a new study. Only isolated fragments of fossil Mediterranean worm lizards have previously been found in Europe, and currently, our limited knowledge of their evolution is mainly based on molecular studies. The worm lizard is a limbless, scaled reptile and categorized in the genus Blanus in the Mediterranean.
The first intact skull of a Mediterranean worm lizard has been found in Spain, according to a study published June 4, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Arnau Bolet from Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) and colleagues.Only isolated fragments of fossil Mediterranean worm lizards have previously been found in Europe, and currently, our limited knowledge of their evolution is mainly based on molecular studies. The worm lizard is a limbless, scaled reptile and categorized in the genus Blanus in the Mediterranean. The authors have now found the only known fossil worm lizard skull from Europe and have determined it's a new species, called Blanus mendezi. This almost complete 11.3 mm skull and vertebrae from the Middle Miocene (11.6 million years ago) is the most complete fossil of this genus.
In the study, the scientists described the fossil and integrated available molecular, paleontological, and biogeographic data to discover that both the general configuration of the skull and the teeth are in accordance with those of extant Blanus, B. mendezi, which represents the oldest record of the Western Mediterranean clade. Scientists suggest that the new species emerged after the split between the two main (Eastern and Western Mediterranean) extant groups of blanids.
Dr. Bolet added, "The use of CT-scan techniques applied to this superbly preserved worm lizard fossil skull has allowed an unprecedentedly detailed description for an early member of the family, providing insights into the evolutionary history of this poorly known group of reptiles."
5) Surprisingly strong magnetic fields can match black holes' pull: Long-neglected magnetic fields have an unexpected presence:
A new study of supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies has found magnetic fields play an impressive role in the systems' dynamics. In fact, in dozens of black holes surveyed, the magnetic field strength matched the force produced by the black holes' powerful gravitational pull.
A New study of supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies has found magnetic fields play an impressive role in the systems' dynamics. In fact, in dozens of black holes surveyed, the magnetic field strength matched the force produced by the black holes' powerful gravitational pull, says a team of scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Bonn, Germany. The findings are published in this week's issue of Nature."This paper for the first time systematically measures the strength of magnetic fields near black holes," says Alexander Tchekhovskoy, the Berkeley Lab researcher who helped interpret the observational data within the context of existing computational models. "This is important because we had no idea, and now we have evidence from not just one, not just two, but from 76 black holes."
Previously, Tchekhovskoy, who is also a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, had developed computational models of black holes that included magnetic fields. His models suggested a black hole could sustain a magnetic field that was as strong as its gravity, but there was not yet observational evidence to support this prediction. With the two forces balancing out, a cloud of gas caught on top of the magnetic field would be spared the pull of gravity and instead levitate in place.
The magnetic field strength was confirmed by evidence from jets of gas that shoot away from supermassive black holes. Formed by magnetic fields, these jets produce a radio emission. "We realized that the radio emission from black holes' jets can be used to measure the magnetic field strength near the black hold itself," says Mohammad Zamaninasab, the lead author of the study, who did the work while at MPIfR.Other research teams had previously collected radio-emission data from "radio-loud" galaxies using the Very Long Baseline Array, a vast network of radio telescopes in the United States. The researchers analyzed this pre-existing data to create radio-emission maps at different wavelengths. Shifts in jet features between different maps let them calculate the field strength near the black hole.Based on the results, the team found not only that the measured magnetic fields can be as strong as a black hole's gravity, but that they are also comparable in strength to those produced inside MRI machines found in hospitals-roughly 10,000 times greater than the field of Earth itself.Tchekhovskoy says the new results mean theorists must re-evaluate their understanding of black-hole behavior. "The magnetic fields are strong enough to dramatically alter how gas falls into black holes and how gas produces outflows that we do observe, much stronger than what has usually been assumed," he says. "We need to go back and look at our models once again."
6) Scientists capture most detailed images yet of humans' tiny cellular machines: The Spliceosome: A Dynamic Ribonucleoprotein Machine
A grandfather clock is, on its surface, a simple yet elegant machine. Tall and stately, its job is to steadily tick away the time. But a look inside reveals a much more intricate dance of parts, from precisely-fitted gears to cable-embraced pulleys and bobbing levers. Like exploring the inner workings of a clock, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers is digging into the inner workings of the tiny cellular machines called spliceosomes, which help make all of the proteins our bodies need to function. In a recent study published in the journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, UW-Madison's David Brow, Samuel Butcher and colleagues have captured images of this machine, revealing details never seen before.In their study, they reveal parts of the spliceosome -- built from RNA and protein -- at a greater resolution than has ever been achieved, gaining valuable insight into how the complex works and also how old its parts may be.By better understanding the normal processes that make our cells tick, this information could some day act as a blueprint for when things go wrong. Cells are the basic units of all the tissues in our bodies, from our hearts to our brains to our skin and lungs.
It may also help other scientists studying similar cellular machinery and, moreover, it provides a glimpse back in evolutionary time, showing a closer link between proteins and RNA, DNA's older cousin, than was once believed."It gives us a much better idea of how RNA and proteins interact than ever before," says Brow, a UW-Madison professor of biomolecular chemistry.
The spliceosome is composed of six complexes that work together to edit the raw messages that come from genes, cutting out (hence, splicing) unneeded parts of the message. Ultimately, these messages are translated into proteins, which do the work of cells. The team created crystals of a part of the spliceosome called U6, made of RNA and two proteins, including one called Prp24.Crystals are packed forms of a structure that allow scientists to capture three-dimensional images of the atoms and molecules within it. The crystals were so complete, and the resolution of the images so high, the scientists were able to see crucial details that otherwise would have been missed.The team found that in U6, the Prp24 protein and RNA -- like two partners holding hands -- are intimately linked together in a type of molecular symbiosis. The structure yields clues about the relationship and the relative ages of RNA and proteins, once thought to be much wider apart on an evolutionary time scale."What's so cool is the degree of co-evolution of RNA and protein," Brow says. "It's obvious RNA and protein had to be pretty close friends already to evolve like this." The images revealed that a part of Prp24 dives through a small loop in the U6 RNA, a finding that represents a major milestone on Brow and Butcher's quest to determine how U6's protein and RNA work together. It also confirms other findings Brow has made over the last two decades.
"No one has ever seen that before and the only way it can happen is for the RNA to open up, allow the protein to pass through, and then close again," says Butcher, a UW-Madison professor of biochemistry.Ultimately, Butcher says they want to understand what the entire spliceosome looks like, how the machines get built in cells and how they work.While this is the first protein-RNA link like this seen, Brow doesn't believe it is unique. Once more complete, high-resolution images are captured of other RNA-protein machines and their components, he thinks these connections will appear more commonly. He hopes the findings mark a transition in the journey to understand these cellular workhorses."It's exciting studying these machines," he says. "There are only three big RNA machines. Ours evolved 2 billion years ago. But once it's figured out, it's done."The U6 crystal structure was imaged using the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science's Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. The work was funded by a joint grant from the National Institutes of Health shared by Brow and Butcher.
Movie Release This Week:
The epic action of “Edge of Tomorrow” unfolds in a near future in which an alien race has hit the Earth in an unrelenting assault, unbeatable by any military unit in the world. Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is an officer who has never seen a day of combat when he is unceremoniously dropped into what amounts to a suicide mission. Killed within minutes, Cage now finds himself inexplicably thrown into a time loop—forcing him to live out the same brutal combat over and over, fighting and dying again…and again. But with each battle, Cage becomes able to engage the adversaries with increasing skill, alongside Special Forces warrior Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt). And, as Cage and Rita take the fight to the aliens, each repeated encounter gets them one step closer to defeating the enemy.
A man with the ability to enter peoples' memories takes on the case of a brilliant, troubled sixteen-year-old girl to determine whether she is a sociopath or a victim of trauma.
Based on the eponymous novel by John Green, a teenage girl, stricken with cancer falls for a boy in her support group and the two form a bond as they deal with their illnesses.
Juno Mak’s debut feature Rigor Mortis is an eerie and chilling, contemporary action- and special effects-laden homage to the classic Chinese vampire movies of the 1980s.
Like Yorgos Lanthimos' Dogtooth and Michael Haneke's Funny Games, Borgman is an allegorical tale exploring the nature of evil in unexpected places. A vagrant enters the lives of an upper-class family, igniting a descent from darkly comic dream to maddening psychological nightmare. "I wanted to show evil through the abnormal behaviour of normal people," says Warmerdam at the film's Cannes press conference, "the kind that you can come across in the street."
Political News This Week:
Minister Gopinath Munde killed in road accident
Rural Development Minister and the face of the Other Backward Classes in the Bharatiya Janata Party in Maharashtra Gopinath Munde died of shock and cardiac arrest suffered during a road accident on Tuesday early morning.
Munde, 64, who made his entry into the Union Cabinet for the first time after the Lok Sabha polls, was on his way to the airport when his car was hit by another vehicle at Prithviraj road-Tughlak road roundabout in the heart of the capital, said Union Minster Nitin Gadkari.
“Munde was brought to the emergency department of Jai Prakash Narain Apex Trauma Centre, AIIMS at 6:30 am by his personal assistant and driver. Munde was sitting in the backseat of his car, which was hit by another car or any other vehicle around 6:20 am from the side he was sitting,” said Dr Amit Gupta of the Trauma Centre.
“On his arrival at the Trauma Centre, there was no spontaneous breathing, no blood pressure, no pulse and no cardiac activity. So immediately Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation was started and continued for the next 15 minutes. Despite resuscitative measures, Munde could not be revived and was declared dead at 7:20 am,” he said.
1) RIP Gopinath Munde: Leaders pay tribute:
Following the demise of Rural Development Minister Gopinath Munde after a road accident, ministers from across the political spectrum paid tribute to the minister.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Extremely saddened & shocked by the demise of my friend & colleague Gopinath Munde ji. His demise is a major loss for the nation and the government. Gopinath Munde ji was a true mass leader. Hailing from backward sections of society, he rose to great heights & tirelessly served people.”
"My tributes to a dynamic leader whose premature demise leaves a void hard to fill. Condolences to Munde ji’s family. We stand by them in this hour of grief.” Expressing shock, grief and sorrow, President Pranab Mukherjee released a statement. It read, ‘Munde’s passing away is a huge loss for the people of Maharashtra and India. In his death, we have lost a veteran leader who always worked for the common man.”Union Minister for Road, Transport, Highways & Shipping, Nitin Gadkari, who was one of the first ones to reach AIIMS after the accident, said in the sad demise of Munde, the nation has lost a great leader. “He had come up from a humble background and built his strong base in the masses to become a national leader. He was a leader who had insight into both, organisational as well as administrative issues.”
Aaditya Thackeray, the head of the Sena Yuva also took to Twitter. Tweeting from his handle @AUThackeray, he said, “Saddened, shocked and shaken beyond the capacity of expressing my feelings in words on the passing away of Munde ji this morning. Even as I think of expressing anything, memories from very many years of interacting with him on happy/ sad/ tense occasions rush back. Ofcourse a great loss for the state, for politics, but more so for us, someone who and whose family has been closest friends across parties.”Home Minister Rajnath Singh also reacted to the loss. Taking to Twitter, he said, “Gopinath Munde’s death is an irreparable loss to the Bharatiya Janata Party and he has left a big void in Mahrashtra’s political and social life. Deeply shocked to know of Shri Gopinath Munde’s demise. He was a grassroots leader and known for his concern for poor people and farmers.”
2) How Modi sarkar can bring Dawood back to India:
Even though Dawood Ibrahim is under the protection of Pakistan’s ISI, the Indian government can bring the underworld don back to India using diplomacy and back channels, reports Vicky Nanjappa.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his extensive election campaign had promised that he would hunt down India’s most wanted man Dawood Ibrahim and ensure that justice is carried out. Now, with Modi becoming PM, he wants to live up to his promise and bring down the dreaded terrorist.
However, the path is not as clear as it would seem and there are several stumbling blocks in Modi’s way, says an official from the Intelligence Bureau. For Dawood to be brought back from Karachi, where he has been hiding out, it needs to be done through diplomatic channels. However, for this to become a reality, Pakistan’s Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence needs to acknowledge that the dreaded terrorist is indeed hiding in their country, says the IB official.
The IB official explained that Dawood is under the control of the ISI and they control his movements. In fact, Dawood pays the ISI obscene amounts of money for protection. Additionally, the ISI uses Dawood’s money to plan out attacks in India and spread their terror activities throughout the country.
The official added that the amount paid to the ISI has increased after Modi came to power, as the dreaded underworld don fears his arrest.The IB officer pointed out that a back channel arrangement also needs to be made to bring Dawood to India. “If we speak openly and ask for Dawood, they will deny his presence altogether,” said the officer, adding that Dawood is of great importance to the ISI and hence, they will do all that they can to prevent his extradition to India.
Modi could also do with a bit of help from the international community, so that they can put as much pressure on Pakistan to hand over Dawood. The IB official added that there are other ways to bring Dawood back to India. For this, an operation similar to the United States raid in Abbottabad, which killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden will have to be carried out. But, such an operation would be extremely difficult since Dawood has very good security cover. But the flip side to this, the IB official warned, is that if the raid failed then India would have to wait for a very long time before they can pursue Dawood again.And if all other methods fail, India can break Dawood by blocking his finances. The officer said the underworld don relies on his drug and arms trade for his finances. If the routes through which he carries out his trade in India are blocked, he will cringe for finances and will not be able to pay the ISI, allowing India to lay its hands on him.The official concluded, “The Modi government has the will. This is something that we are already planning and it will be be carried out soon.”
3) Pak leader held in UK on money laundering charges:
Hussain, Pakistan's powerful Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader, was arrested on Tuesday in London on charges of money laundering.Scotland Yard confirmed that a 60-year-old man had been arrested from a North-West London property on charges of money laundering, but declined to disclose the exact identity of the individual for "legal reasons".Officers were searching "a residential address in north-west London, where a 60-year-old man was detained," police said.Even as police did not name Hussain, media reports in Pakistan quoting sources said the MQM chief had been arrested on suspicion of money laundering.
Hussain has lived in the UK since 1991, saying his life would be at risk if he returned to Pakistan.A spokesman for the British high commission was quoted by Dawn News as saying that the UK's consulate in Karachi has been temporarily closed down.Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that the issue of Hussain's arrest was of an extremely sensitive nature and the government would take all legal angles into account.The prime minister directed that the parliament be taken into confidence over the matter.Hussain had been ill for some time and was scheduled to be shifted to a hospital on Tuesday when the police arrived at his residence, MQM's Nadeem Nusrat said while addressing media representatives via telephone from London.
Nusrat advised all party members inside and outside Pakistan to control their emotions and not do anything that may go against the teachings of their leader.Nusrat insisted that Hussain was not under arrest but at home.
4) 33 Indian fishermen released by Sri Lanka:
Sri Lanka on Thursday freed 33 Indian fishermen arrested for allegedly poaching in the country's waters, days after President Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered their release as a goodwill gesture.
The fishermen were handed over to the Indian Coast Guard Ship "Rajkamal" at the seas off Mannar, Sri Lankan Navy said in a statement.
"Under the direction of the president steps have been taken to repatriate 33 Indian fishermen in the Sri Lanka custody with the immediate effect on June 5," the statement said.
In New Delhi, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed kbaruddin tweeted, "Yes 33 fishermen have been released by ri Lanka and handed over to Indian Coast Guard on Thursday afternoon."
The fishermen were part of a group who set out in 727 boats from Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu on May 31 and were arrested while fishing near Katchatheevu, ceded to Sri Lanka by India in 1974.
The 29 fishermen, with four others, strayed into Sri Lankan waters on June 1 after their boat developed a technical snag.
President Rajapaksa's order to release fishermen is to signify a goodwill gesture by him to the new Indian government, his spokesman had said.
Rajapaksa had attended the swearing in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 26 in Delhi.He had ordered the release of all Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody last month.Talks between India and Sri Lanka on the fishermen issue had ended in deadlock early last month and negotiators are scheduled to meet again this month.Sri Lanka had shot down a request from Tamil Nadu fishermen to allow fishing in Lankan waters for 70 days a year and to allow bottom trawling.
5) No govt can ensure there is no rape: MP minister:
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Babulal Gaur has landed in a controversy with his remarks that no government can ensure rape is prevented and action can be taken only after the act, triggering angry reaction from Congress which said he has no right to continue in office."It is a social crime which depends on the man and the woman. It is sometimes right and sometimes wrong. Unless a complaint is filed, nothing happens," he said.
The minister went on to amplify that "It is not possible for any government to ensure that rape is not committed. Action can be taken only after the act is done," the minister told reporters at his residence.He said women should learn judo, karate to defend themselves. "Unless the person wants, no one can dare touch her. The item numbers in films create a bad environment," he sought to reason.The minister cited the instance of a Hindi movie actress who was kissed on the cheek by a leading Hollywood actor on stage in Delhi in 2007. The actress had seen nothing wrong with it, he said.Sharply reacting to Gaur's statement, Congress leader Manak Agarwal said that the minister has no right to continue in office.By his statement, the minister had done nothing but given encouragement to would be rapists, he said, adding the minister's job was to provide protection to women and not to rapists.Coming out in defence of Samajwadi supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, he said they too cannot do anything to prevent rapes in Uttar Pradesh.Both Mulayam and Akhilesh have drawn flak for their comments after they came under attack over the recent gangrape and murder of two cousin sisters in Badaun in UP.BJP distanced itself from Gaur's comments. Party leader Lalitha Kumaramangalam said it were his personal comments. "Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that he understands the gravity of the problem. He seems to be looking at it from a very orthodox point of view. This is certainly not the BJP stand.“We are very clear that empowerment and security for women is a very big challenge for us, especially given the current situation in several states.
6) Advani loses room in Parl that he occupied for 10 years:
Bharatiya Janata Party patriarch L K Advani seems to have been deprived of a room in Parliament House which he was occupying for the last 10 years as National Democratic Alliance working chairman and was a confused man on Thursday in the Lok Sabha too as he kept guessing where to sit in the absence of seat allotment.
The indication of the former deputy prime minister losing the room no 4 came when his name plate outside it was even though the name plate of NDA chairman Atal Behari Vajpayee was intact outside the same room. With Vajpayee being away from the scene because of his ill health, Advani used to occupy it.\
The absence of Advani's name plate bearing his name and position of working chairman of the NDA was conspicuous as the development took place when the rooms are being allotted afresh after the constitution of the new Lok Sabha.
The 86-year-old party veteran instead chose to take rest in the BJP Parliamentary party office which is generally used by ordinary party leaders. Though he continues to be chairman of BJP Parliamentary Party, Advani did not sit on the main chair in the room and sat on a sofa.Sources close to him tried to downplay the issue, saying "there is no confusion" and expressed confidence that he will be allotted a room soon. The Lok Sabha secretariat said it has no role in the allotment of rooms.Inside the Lok Sabha too, Advani appeared confused as to where to sit. In the morning, he sat in the front row in the House. When he entered, he wanted to sit in the second row along with Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who was seen pleading with him to sit in the front row.Then he sat in the front row besides Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Ram Vilas Paswan and took oath there itself. He, however, did not sit next to Prime Minister Narendra Modi even though the seat was vacant.In the afternoon when he came after a break, he was looking for a seat and finally sat in the 8th row.
7) Modi accepts Obama invite to visit US in late September:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accepted US President Barack Obama's invitation for a meeting in late September and the dates are being finalised.The invitation for the meeting came during the congratulatory call to Modi by Obama after the Lok Sabha election results were out."A date was offered by the US side for the meeting and both the countries are working on it," official sources said.
It is understood that Washington has proposed September 30 as the date for the meeting but the Indian side is looking at clubbing the bilateral meeting with Modi's visit to the US for the United Nations General Assembly around September 26.
Obama was among the first foreign leaders to call up Modi and congratulated him on his "emphatic election victory" and said the largest democracy in the world has given a "decisive mandate".The US President also wished that under Modi's leadership, India will contribute significantly at the global stage.Both the leaders had discussed the India-US Strategic Partnership and the prevailing global economic situation.The call was the first high-level contact between Modi and the US leadership ever since 2005 when the Gujarat chief minister had been denied a US visa due to his alleged complicity in the 2002 riots in the state.
8) Meghalaya: Cops battle it out with militants who killed woman for resisting rape:
An encounter was underway on Thursday between security forces and Garo militants responsible for the gruesome killing of a tribal woman after molestation and attempted rape, in South Garo Hills district in Meghalaya.The encounter followed an operation launched in the Durama hills range across the Simsang river where 40 to 50 militants of the Garo National Liberation Army were holed up in a camp, Inspector General of Police G H P Raju said.
Commandos of Swift Weapons and Tactics and Central Reserve Police Force’s Cobra Force were engaged in the encounter, Raju said.The Centre on Thursday rushed five companies each of Border Security Force and CRPF to Meghalaya to assist the state government in maintaining law and order. The security forces were sent at the request of Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma.The Garo militants shot dead a 35-year-old tribal woman, a mother of four, with an assault rifle splitting her head in two claiming her to be a police informer after she resisted their attempts of molestation and rape in Raja Rongat village on June 3. The GNLA in a statement had denied that the woman was molested or raped and said that she was ‘executed’ as she was a ‘police informer’.Home Minister Rajnath Singh and MoS (Home) Khiren Rijiju on Thursday sought a detailed report of the horrific killing. “We urge the Centre to extend their full support in terms of manpower and other resources in view of the challenges posed by the mushrooming of militant outfits,” Joint Home secretary V R Syiem said in the report sent to the Centre.
State Home minister Roshan Warjri met family members of the victim during the day. The government had on Wednesday announced ex-gratia payment of Rs 1 lakh to the woman’s family.
9) Techie killed in Pune allegedly after row over Facebook post:
A 28-year-old software professional was bludgeoned to death allegedly by seven persons with suspected links to a Hindu outfit near Pune, the police said.
The murder of Shaikh Mohasin Sadiq, who hailed from Solapur and is currently a resident of Hadapsar, on Monday night sparked tension in the area, they said.The trigger for the attack was apparently uploading of derogatory pictures of warrior king Shivaji and late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray on Facebook, which led to a protest bandh on Sunday.
The police have arrested seven persons in this regard under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and 147 (rioting) of Indian Penal Code. They are allegedly linked to Hindu Rashtra Sena.Sadiq worked in the IT department of a textile firm in the city. He was thrashed with sticks at Bankar Colony by the accused and succumbed to his injuries during treatment at a nearby hospital, the police said.Two other youths too had been attacked and injured in stone throwing at the same spot on the same night, according to the police.The police said the case was handed over to the crime branch and they have appealed to citizens not to believe or spread rumours as the situation is peaceful.Security has been beefed up in the area.
Sports News This Week:
1) IPL 7 Final: I knew Manish Pandey Will Win KKR the Crown, Says Shah Rukh Khan:
Shah Rukh Khan was the man in focus after Kolkata Knight Riders won the IPL crown for the second time in three years at Bangalore's Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday. Manish Pandey was architect of Kolkata's win with a 50-ball 94. The innings helped KKR chase down Kings XI Punjab's 199/4. Pandey won the Man of the Match award for his brilliant effort.
Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh was ecstatic after Sunday's win. When KKR made the final in Kolkata last week, Shah Rukh painted Eden Gardens red with somersaults and flying kisses. Having won a final that went all the way to the wire, Shah Rukh was all praise for young Pandey.In an interview to iplt20.com, Shah Rukh said: "I told my whole family in the morning that Manish Pandey is going to win this match for me." Pandey's 94 was the second highest by a Kolkata batsman in IPL, the highest being 158 not out by Brendon McCullum against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Chinnaswamy Stadium on April 18, 2008. This was Pandey's 10th fifty in Twenty20 apart from a hundred.
Kolkata's total (200/7) was the highest successful chase in an IPL final. It was also the highest by a team chasing a target in the final of Twenty20 match. "This one tonight had to be won. I had my Quran in my pocket and we had to win it," said Shah Rukh.
Shah Rukh said the credit for the IPL win entirely belonged to the team. "I don't play the game and I know nothing about it; they all do the hard work. They are the caterpillars who do all the hard work and I am the butterfly who takes the publicity," an elated Shah Rukh said.The Badshah of Bollywood will be in focus again on Tuesday when the Knight Riders celebrate their IPL win at Kolkata's Eden Gardens. Along with West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, it will be a Shah Rukh Khan show for sure.
2) Sharapova on verge of third Paris final in a row:
Clay has long been Maria Sharapova's least favoured surface, but the Russian, who takes on Eugenie Bouchard on Thursday, is on the brink of reaching her third successive French Open final, a feat she has never achieved in the other grand slams.
Sharapova, who won the title in Paris in 2012 and lost in the final last year, will need to douse the up-and-coming Bouchard, the 18th seed who has yet to beat a top-ranked player at Roland Garros.
Seventh seed Sharapova has been showing her usual fighting spirit, overcoming the loss of the first set in her last two matches.
The other semi-final on court Philippe Chatrier will feature German 28th seed against Romanian fourth see Simona Halep, who has been blazing her way through the draw.Halep, who compensates her lack of power with her tactical nous, has lost just over four games per match and has yet to drop a set.She won the 2008 junior title and will face an opponent she beat a year ago in the final of the Nuremberg claycourt tournament.
Briefly, and only briefly, Rafael Nadal was in a difficult spot in the French Open quarterfinals.For the first time in this year's tournament, the eight-time champion dropped a set.And this had to be on Nadal's mind: His opponent, David Ferrer, could present real problems. Not only is Ferrer ranked No. 5, and not only was he the runner-up at Roland Garros a year ago — to Nadal, of course — but he also beat Nadal on red clay the last time they played each other.
So how did Nadal handle this test? Perfectly. From late in the second set, he won 10 games in a row, and 13 of 14 the rest of the way, to come back and beat Ferrer 4-6, 6-4, 6-0, 6-1, setting up a semifinal Friday against Wimbledon champion Andy Murray.
"At the beginning," Nadal acknowledged, "David was playing with a higher intensity than me."
But once Nadal made a key adjustment — deciding to dispense with his surprisingly off-target backhand as much as possible and instead do whatever he could to use his topspin-heavy forehand — he took over.After committing 28 unforced errors across the windy first two sets, Nadal had zero in the third, and only three in the last."When I was able to hit with my forehand," Nadal said, "I felt that I was in control."Ferrer, for his part, said that in the latter stages, "I lost my concentration, my focus."
It was Nadal's 33rd consecutive win at the French Open and improved his record in the event to 64-1. His only loss at the tournament came to Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009.
The Spaniard, who turned 28 on Tuesday, is not used to facing much in the way of hardship at Roland Garros. So Nadal took what he was able to do against Ferrer as a good sign."At the end of the day, I am rather happy to have been able to turn the situation around," said Nadal, who wasn't thrilled to be put on Court Suzanne Lenglen, the second-largest arena, for the second time this year. "I managed to pull through, even though it was complicated."The route Murray took during his 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 1-6, 6-0 victory over No. 23 Gael Monfils of France was far more circuitous, finishing right on the cusp of dusk after 9:30 p.m. In front of a crowd loudly pulling for Monfils at Court Philippe Chatrier, Murray was terrific at the outset, mediocre in the middle, then closed on a high.After a brief discussion with a tournament official over whether there was enough sun to play the fifth set — the Roland Garros courts have no artificial lights — Murray made the whole thing moot. He raced through that set in 21 minutes, winning 24 of 31 points, as Monfils appeared to stop trying."Everything happened very fast," Monfils said.Said Murray: "It was so dark at the end. Thankfully for me, he played a poor fifth set once I got ahead."Murray will be playing in the French Open semifinals for the second time; he lost to Nadal in 2011. In all, Nadal owns a 14-5 edge in their head-to-head matches."I need to recover very well," Murray said, "and try to be especially calm for that one."The other men's semifinal will be No. 2 Novak Djokovic against No. 18 Ernests Gulbis.Earlier, No. 4 Simona Halep of Romania and No. 28 Andrea Petkovic of Germany both moved into the semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time. Thursday's other women's semifinal will be 2012 champion Maria Sharapova against 18th-seeded Eugenie Bouchard of Canada.Halep beat 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-2, and Petkovic defeated 2012 runner-up Sara Errani by that very same score.
A year ago, Halep arrived at Roland Garros ranked 57th. But over the past 13 months, she's won seven titles. Petkovic, meanwhile, is enjoying a resurgence.She made it to the top 10 in 2011, when she was the only woman to reach three major quarterfinals (although she went 0-3). In late 2012, she hurt her right knee, and her ranking plummeted to 177th last year. But she's worked her way back, and after eliminating Errani, the gregarious Petkovic kissed her racket — something she said she'd never done before."I don't know what happened to me. I was just overwhelmed by emotion," Petkovic said. "I had no boy to kiss, so I kissed my racket, right?"
4) World Cup - Spain's dominance faces ultimate test in Brazil:
Spain's desire for glory on the international stage is as strong as ever but the champions will need something special if they are to become the first Europeans to win the World Cup in the Americas.The only nation from the continent to triumph in soccer's global showpiece outside Europe, thanks to their triumph in South Africa four years ago, La Roja got an indication of the task facing them when they were humbled 3-0 by hosts Brazil in last year's Confederations Cup final.
The pressure of the occasion at an intimidating Maracana Stadium in Rio De Janeiro, where July's World Cup final will be held, was too much for themThey were unable to match Brazil's intensity as they fell to what is one of only three defeats under coach Vicente Del Bosque in competitive games since he took over nearly six years ago.That Brazil were able to dominate a Spain team used to having the lion's share of possession was partly due to the absence of the injured Xabi Alonso, whose partnership with Sergio Busquets in midfield creates a stable platform for more creative team mates such as Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas to weave their magic.
Del Bosque, who masterminded Spain's campaign in South Africa and led them to a second straight European title two years ago, will have learned from the reverse.The former Real Madrid coach has only had to tinker with his team since he took over from the late Luis Aragones after the Euro 2008 triumph but has begun recently to give more playing time to some of Spain's promising youngsters.While he may be reluctant to experiment too much in Brazil and risk upsetting the balance of a side stuffed with proven champions, he will have recourse to players capable of coming off the bench and changing a game like creative midfielder Koke or forward Juan Mata.Perhaps his most significant move was the controversial decision late last year to call Brazil-born forward Diego Costa into the squad, which provoked outrage in Costa's native country.
Spain scored just eight times in seven games at the 2010 World Cup and Costa, who made his debut in a 1-0 friendly win against Italy in March, could provide the cutting edge that La Roja sometimes lack up front if he can shake off a series of niggling injuries that have dogged him in recent weeks.The 25-year-old has scored a hatful of goals for Atletico Madrid in La Liga and the Champions League this season, and his combative playing style, strength in the air and prowess shooting with either foot strike fear into any defence.
5) Neymar leads Brazil to 4-0 win over Panama:
Neymar scored one goal and set up two others to help Brazil defeat Panama 4-0 in a World Cup warm-up match on Tuesday.
Neymar broke the deadlock with a well-struck free kick from just outside the area in the 26th minute, and then sent a perfect back-heel pass for Hulk to score less than a minute into the second half. Neymar also started the move that led to Willian scoring in the 73rd.Neymar’s Barcelona teammate Dani Alves had struck Brazil’s second goal with a right footed shot in the 40th.
Brazil had been struggling until the first goal and fans had started to jeer their team at the nearly packed Serra Dourada Stadium in the central city of Goiania.It was Brazil’s second-to-last match before the World Cup opener against Croatia on June 12 in Sao Paulo. The five-time world champion will play Serbia on Friday, also in Sao Paulo.Panama was in control and created most of the scoring chances in the early stages, upsetting fans and prompting Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari to leave his bench several times to talk to his players.
The more than 30,000 fans at the Serra Dourada were starting to jeer when Neymar was pulled down at the edge of the area for the foul that led to his goal. He curled a right footed shot over the wall and into the upper left corner of the net to get the crowd behind the team again.Neymar several times turned to the fans and asked them to cheer and keep supporting the team. The squad was loudly applauded after the final whistle.Brazil was already playing better when Alves’ shot from outside the area found the far corner, and then Hulk took advantage of Neymar’s back-heel to score the third goal with a low cross shot.
Neymar began the move for Brazil’s fourth goal with a nice through pass to Maxwell, who crossed the ball for an easy goal by Willian.Neymar applauded the crowd when it repeatedly chanted his name after he nearly scored with a bicycle kick late in the match.Brazil was without captain Thiago Silva, who stayed at the team’s training camp outside Rio de Janeiro to improve his physical condition. Reserve midfielder Fernandinho also didn’t travel to Goiania to work on his fitness, while Paulinho didn’t make the trip because of a minor left ankle injury. All three players are expected to be fit to play against Serbia.
Dante replaced Thiago Silva and Ramires substituted Paulinho. Maicon, Hernanes and Maxwell were added for the start of the second half, while Jo, Willian and Henrique came on later.Earlier on Tuesday, a few dozen people protested in front of the team’s hotel to complain about the money being spent by the country on the World Cup. Police had to intervene to keep them from disturbing the players.The national team had already been targeted by demonstrators when it began its preparations in Rio. Protesters banged on the team’s bus and attached dozens of stickers with comments against the World Cup.
Book Of This Week:
“Allama Mashriqi and Mahatma Gandhi shared many similarities — both men left their professions behind and dedicated their lives to liberating India from British rule. Both adopted a life of simplicity and began their grassroots campaigns in the streets and villages of the country. Both were nominated for the Nobel Prize (Mashriqi for his monumental work, Tazkirah, and Gandhi for his non-violence) and shared a common objective of achieving independence for the nation. Yet despite all their similarities, they could not reach agreement on Mashriqi’s The Constitution of Free India, 1946 A.C. nor were they able to work together to achieve a united, independent India. Why? The answers are contained in this book.
In Mahatma Gandhi and My Grandfather, Allama Mashriqi, Mr. Yousaf brings together nearly 17 years of exhaustive research of historical documents as well as firsthand knowledge and insights gained from Allama Mashriqi’s wife, sons, daughters, and the Khaksars, who were part of the freedom movement and witnessed the division of India. He takes the reader through a riveting journey as he brings to light a fresh new analysis of the freedom of British India.”
As the first scholarly study on these two personalities, this book is sure to generate great interest from the thousands of visitors to BookExpo in New York. The work (printed and published in the USA) is an excellent read not only for people interested in South Asian studies, but also for all book lovers around the world.
Author : Mr. Nasim Yousaf:
The work is the latest offering from Mr. Nasim Yousaf, a well-known scholar and historian who has been conducting extensive research on South Asian history since 1996. He has thus far written twelve books and countless articles and has also compiled a digital version of the rare and historic Al-Islah newspaper (official newspaper of the Khaksar Tehrik). In his book on Mahatma Gandhi and Allama Mashriqi, Mr. Yousaf contrasts the role of the two South Asian leaders in India’s independence, bringing to light many revealing insights along the way.