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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Subhaditya News Channel Presents Science,Movie, Political,Sports And Book News This Week (105)

Science News This Week:

1) Feathered dinosaurs may have been the rule, not the exception:

Newly discovered plant-eating species wore both scales and plumes. Dinosaurs may have all bundled up in flashy feather coats.

The skulls and bones of a new dinosaur species unearthed in Siberia support what some scientists have suspected: Dinosaurs with feathers were probably the norm.

“For the first time we have a feathered dinosaur that is far from the lineage leading to birds,” says study author Pascal Godefroit, a paleontologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels. “It means that all dinosaurs were potentially covered by feathers.”

2) Bacteria manipulate salt to build shelters to hibernate:

For the first time, Spanish researchers have detected an unknown interaction between microorganisms and salt. When Escherichia coli cells are introduced into a droplet of salt water that is left to dry, bacteria manipulate the sodium chloride crystallisation to create biomineralogical biosaline 3-D morphologically complex formations, where they hibernate. Afterwards, simply by rehydrating the material, bacteria are revived. The discovery was made by chance with a home microscope, but it made the cover of the 'Astrobiology' journal and may help us find signs of life on other planets.

The bacterium Escherichia coli is one of the most studied living forms by biologists, but none had to date noticed what this microorganism can do within a simple drop of salt water: create impressive biomineralogical patterns in which it shelters itself when it dries."It was a complete surprise, a fully unexpected result, when I introduced E.. coli cells into salt water and I realised that the bacteria had the ability to join the salt crystallisation and modulate the development and growth of the sodium chloride crystals," biologist José María Gómez said."Thus, in around four hours, in the drop of water that had dried, an impressive tapestry of biosaline patterns was created with complex 3D architecture," added the researcher, who made the discovery with the microscope in his house, although he later confirmed it with the help of his colleagues from the Laboratory of BioMineralogy and Astrobiological Research (LBMARS, University of Valladolid-CSIC), Spain.

Until present, we knew of similar patterns created from saline solutions and isolated proteins, but this is the first report that demonstrates how whole bacterial cells can manage the crystallisation of sodium chloride (NaCl) and generate self-organised biosaline structures of a fractal or dendritic appearance. The study and the striking three-dimensional patterns are on the front cover of this month's edition of Astrobiology."The most interesting result is that the bacteria enter a state of hibernation inside these desiccated patterns, but they can later be 'revived' simply by rehydration," said Gómez, who highlighted a very important result from an astrobiological point of view: "Given the richness and complexity of these formations, they may be used as biosignatures in the search for life in extremely dry environments outside our own planet, such as the surface of Mars or that of Jupiter's satellite, Europa."In fact, the LBMARS laboratory participates in the development of the Raman RLS instrument of the ExoMars rover, the mission that the European Space Agency (ESA) will send to the red planet in 2018, and this new finding may help them search for possible biological signs. According to the researcher, "the patterns observed will help calibrate the instrument and test its detection of signs of hibernation or traces of Martian life.""The challenge we now face is to understand how the bacteria control the crystallisation of NaCl to create these incredible 3D structures and vice-versa, how salt influences this action, as well as studying the structure of these microorganisms that withstand desiccation," said Gómez, who reminds us that a simple curiosity and excitement about science, although it may be with simple means, still allows us to make some interesting discoveries: "This is a tribute to scientists such as the Spaniard Santiago Ramón y Cajal and the Dutch scientist Anton van Leeuwenhoek, who also worked from home with their own microscopes"

3) Hubble finds 3 surprisingly dry exoplanets:

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have gone looking for water vapor in the atmospheres of three planets orbiting stars similar to the Sun -- and have come up nearly dry. The three planets, known as HD 189733b, HD 209458b, and WASP-12b, are between 60 and 900 light-years away from Earth and were thought to be ideal candidates for detecting water vapor in their atmospheres because of their high temperatures where water turns into a measurable vapor.

These so-called "hot Jupiters" are so close to their star they have temperatures between 1,500 and 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit, however, the planets were found to have only one-tenth to one one-thousandth the amount of water predicted by standard planet-formation theories."Our water measurement in one of the planets, HD 209458b, is the highest-precision measurement of any chemical compound in a planet outside our solar system, and we can now say with much greater certainty than ever before that we've found water in an exoplanet," said Nikku Madhusudhan of the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge, England. "However, the low water abundance we have found so far is quite astonishing."

Madhusudhan, who led the research, said that this finding presents a major challenge to exoplanet theory. "It basically opens a whole can of worms in planet formation. We expected all these planets to have lots of water in them. We have to revisit planet formation and migration models of giant planets, especially "hot Jupiters," and investigate how they're formed."He emphasizes that these results may have major implications in the search for water in potentially habitable Earth-sized exoplanets. Instruments on future space telescopes may need to be designed with a higher sensitivity if target planets are drier than predicted. "We should be prepared for much lower water abundances than predicted when looking at super-Earths (rocky planets that are several times the mass of Earth)," Madhusudhan said.Using near-infrared spectra of the planets observed with Hubble, Madhusudhan and his collaborators estimated the amount of water vapor in each of the planetary atmospheres that explains the data.The planets were selected because they orbit relatively bright stars that provide enough radiation for an infrared-light spectrum to be taken. Absorption features from the water vapor in the planet's atmosphere are detected because they are superimposed on the small amount of starlight that glances through the planet's atmosphere.Detecting water is almost impossible for transiting planets from the ground because Earth's atmosphere has a lot of water in it, which contaminates the observation. "We really need the Hubble Space Telescope to make such observations," said Nicolas Crouzet of the Dunlap Institute at the University of Toronto and co-author of the study.The currently accepted theory on how giant planets in our solar system formed, known as core accretion, states a planet is formed around the young star in a protoplanetary disk made primarily of hydrogen, helium, and particles of ices and dust composed of other chemical elements. The dust particles stick to each other, eventually forming larger and larger grains. The gravitational forces of the disk draw in these grains and larger particles until a solid core forms. This then leads to runaway accretion of both solids and gas to eventually form a giant planet.

This theory predicts that the proportions of the different elements in the planet are enhanced relative to those in its star, especially oxygen, which is supposed to be the most enhanced. Once the giant planet forms, its atmospheric oxygen is expected to be largely encompassed within water molecules. The very low levels of water vapor found by this research raise a number of questions about the chemical ingredients that lead to planet formation."There are so many things we still don't know about exoplanets, so this opens up a new chapter in understanding how planets and solar systems form," said Drake Deming of the University of Maryland, College Park, who led one of the precursor studies. "The problem is that we are assuming the water to be as abundant as in our own solar system. What our study has shown is that water features could be a lot weaker than our expectations."

4) Atomic structure of key muscle component revealed in Penn study:

Actin is the most abundant protein in the body, and when you look more closely at its fundamental role in life, it's easy to see why. It is the basis of most movement in the body, and all cells and components within them have the capacity to move: muscle contracting, heart beating, blood clotting, and nerve cells communicating, among many other functions. And, movement can turn harmful when cancer cells break away from tumors to set up shop in distant tissues. Adding to the growing fundamental understanding of the machinery of muscle cells, a group of biophysicists from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania describe in the journal Science this week -- in minute detail -- how actin filaments are stabilized at one of their ends to form a basic muscle structure called the sarcomere.With the help of many other proteins, actin molecules polymerize to form filaments that give rise to structures of many different shapes. The actin filaments have a polarity, with a plus and minus end, reflecting their natural tendency to gain or lose subunits when not stabilized.Actin is one of the two major proteins (together with myosin) that form the sarcomere -- the contractile structures of cardiac, skeletal, and smooth muscle cells. In sarcomeres, actin filaments are stabilized at both ends by capping proteins. At the minus end of the filament, the universal capping protein is tropomodulin.

"While the existence of this protein has been known for almost 30 years, we still did not know how it actually works," says senior author Roberto Dominguez, PhD, professor of Physiology. His lab is dedicated to deciphering the fundamental mechanisms of proteins responsible for movement, and how these components fit together at the atomic level."We describe how tropomodulin interacts with the slow-growing end of actin filaments," says coauthor Yadaiah Madasu, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Dominquez lab. "From a clinical point of view, we know that mutations in tropomodulin can trigger an accumulation of irregular actin filament bundles, which contribute to nemaline myopathy or other skeletal muscle disorders typified by delayed motor development and muscle weakness."

"The lack of structural information for the minus end of the actin filament severely limits our understanding of how tropomodulin caps actin," says Dominguez. The team described atomic crystal structures of tropomodulin complexes with actin. The structures and biochemical analysis of engineered tropomodulin variants show how one tropomodulin molecule winds around the minus end of an actin filament, making highly specific interactions with three actin subunits and two tropomyosin molecules (another protein characteristic of muscle sarcomeres) on each end of the actin filament. The detailed picture emerging from this study will help shed light on how mutations in tropomodulin, actin, and tropomysin can cause heart disorders.The team is now studying another muscle protein called leiomodin. It was discovered more recently and resembles tropomodulin, but appears to have a completely different function, by participating in the development and repair of muscle sarcomeres.

5) DNA mostly 'junk?' Only 8.2 percent of human DNA is 'functional', study finds:

Only 8.2% of human DNA is likely to be doing something important -- is 'functional' -- say Oxford University researchers.
This figure is very different from one given in 2012, when some scientists involved in the ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA Elements) project stated that 80% of our genome has some biochemical function.That claim has been controversial, with many in the field arguing that the biochemical definition of 'function' was too broad -- that just because an activity on DNA occurs, it does not necessarily have a consequence; for functionality you need to demonstrate that an activity matters.

To reach their figure, the Oxford University group took advantage of the ability of evolution to discern which activities matter and which do not. They identified how much of our genome has avoided accumulating changes over 100 million years of mammalian evolution -- a clear indication that this DNA matters, it has some important function that needs to be retained.'This is in large part a matter of different definitions of what is "functional" DNA,' says joint senior author Professor Chris Pointing of the MRC Functional Genomics Unit at Oxford University. 'We don't think our figure is actually too different from what you would get looking at ENCODE's bank of data using the same definition for functional DNA.'But this isn't just an academic argument about the nebulous word "function." These definitions matter. When sequencing the genomes of patients, if our DNA was largely functional, we'd need to pay attention to every mutation. In contrast, with only 8% being functional, we have to work out the 8% of the mutations detected that might be important. From a medical point of view, this is essential to interpreting the role of human genetic variation in disease.'The researchers Chris Rands, Stephen Meader, Chris Ponting and Gerton Lunter report their findings in the journal PLOS Genetics. They were funded by the UK Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.
The researchers used a computational approach to compare the complete DNA sequences of various mammals, from mice, guinea pigs and rabbits to dogs, horses and humans.

Dr Gerton Lunter from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at Oxford University, the other joint senior author, explained: 'Throughout the evolution of these species from their common ancestors, mutations arise in the DNA and natural selection counteracts these changes to keep useful DNA sequences intact.'The scientists' idea was to look at where insertions and deletions of chunks of DNA appeared in the mammals' genomes. These could be expected to fall approximately randomly in the sequence -- except where natural selection was acting to preserve functional DNA, where insertions and deletions would then lie further apart.'We found that 8.2% of our human genome is functional,' says Dr Lunter. 'We cannot tell where every bit of the 8.2% of functional DNA is in our genomes, but our approach is largely free from assumptions or hypotheses. For example, it is not dependent on what we know about the genome or what particular experiments are used to identify biological function.'
The rest of our genome is leftover evolutionary material, parts of the genome that have undergone losses or gains in the DNA code -- often called 'junk' DNA.

'We tend to have the expectation that all of our DNA must be doing something. In reality, only a small part of it is,' says Dr Chris Rands, first author of the study and a former DPhil student in the MRC Functional Genomics Unit at Oxford University.
Not all of the 8.2% is equally important, the researchers explain.A little over 1% of human DNA accounts for the proteins that carry out almost all of the critical biological processes in the body.The other 7% is thought to be involved in the switching on and off of genes that encode proteins -- at different times, in response to various factors, and in different parts of the body. These are the control and regulation elements, and there are various different types.'The proteins produced are virtually the same in every cell in our body from when we are born to when we die,' says Dr Rands. 'Which of them are switched on, where in the body and at what point in time, needs to be controlled -- and it is the 7% that is doing this job.'In comparing the genomes of different species, the researchers found that while the protein-coding genes are very well conserved across all mammals, there is a higher turnover of DNA sequence in the regulatory regions as this sequence is lost and gained over time.Mammals that are more closely related have a greater proportion of their functional DNA in common.But only 2.2% of human DNA is functional and shared with mice, for example -- because of the high turnover in the regulatory DNA regions over the 80 million years of evolutionary separation between the two species.'Regulatory DNA evolves much more dynamically that we thought,' says Dr Lunter, 'but even so, most of the changes in the genome involve junk DNA and are irrelevant.'

He explains that although there is a lot of functional DNA that isn't shared between mice and humans, we can't yet tell what is novel and explains our differences as species, and which is just a different gene-switching system that achieves the same result.
Professor Ponting agrees: 'There appears to be a lot of redundancy in how our biological processes are controlled and kept in check. It's like having lots of different switches in a room to turn the lights on. Perhaps you could do without some switches on one wall or another, but it's still the same electrical circuit.'He adds: 'The fact that we only have 2.2% of DNA in common with mice does not show that we are so different. We are not so special. Our fundamental biology is very similar. Every mammal has approximately the same amount of functional DNA, and approximately the same distribution of functional DNA that is highly important and less important. Biologically, humans are pretty ordinary in the scheme of things, I'm afraid

Movie Release This Week:

Everyone knows the legend of Hercules and his twelve labors. Our story begins after the labors, and after the legend…
Haunted by a sin from his past, Hercules has become a mercenary. Along with five faithful companions, he travels ancient Greece selling his services for gold and using his legendary reputation to intimidate enemies. But when the benevolent ruler of Thrace and his daughter seek Hercules' help to defeat a savage and terrifying warlord, Hercules finds that in order for good to triumph and justice to prevail... he must again become the hero he once was... he must embrace his own myth... he must be Hercules.

A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.

A heart-warming tale about friendship, honour & courage, which sees a young boy become a man as he embarks on a quest to become a knight.

When a half-Chechen, half-Russian, brutally tortured immigrant turns up in Hamburg's Islamic community, laying claim to his father's ill gotten fortune, both German and US security agencies take a close interest: as the clock ticks down and the stakes rise, the race is on to establish this most wanted man's true identity - oppressed victim or destruction-bent extremist? Based on John le Carré's novel, A MOST WANTED MAN is a contemporary, cerebral tale of intrigue, love, rivalry, and politics that prickles with tension right through to its last heart-stopping scene.

A self-centered realtor enlists the help of his neighbor when he's suddenly left in charge of the granddaughter he never knew existed until his estranged son drops her off at his home.

Political News This Week:

1) IAF Dhruv helicopter crashes in UP; 7 killed:

Seven Indian Air Force personnel, including two officers, were killed on Friday when an Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv helicopter in which they were flying from Bareilly to Allahabad crashed in Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh.The pilot of the chopper had given a 'May Day call' (emergency call) before the crash and lost radio and radar contact after that, IAF spokesperson said in Delhi The IAF aircraft had on board two pilots and five air warriors. There are no survivors, he said.The chopper had taken off from Bareilly at 1553 hours and crashed approximately around 1657 hours, the spokesman said. The IAF has ordered a Court of Inquiry and teams have been rushed to the crash site in Sitapur.A Wing Commander, Squadron Leader, Junior Warrant Officer, Sergeant and an LAC along with two Corporals were killed in the crash.

Sub Divisional Magistrate, Sidhauli, A K Srivastava said that the chopper was engulfed in fire as it crashed in Manipurwa in Ataria area.District Magistrate, Sitapur, JP Singh said that the helicopter was heading towards Allahabad when it crashed. Sitapur is nearly 160 km from Bareilly and over 90 km from Lucknow.

2) Congress can't claim Oppn leader post in LS: Attorney General:

In bad news for Congress, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi has opined that the party has no case for claiming the Leader of Opposition post, saying there is no precedent since the days of the first Lok Sabha when Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Minister.Rohatgi has conveyed this to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan who had sought his opinion in view of the dilemma she is facing over the issue, sources said.The AG has said Congress is not eligible as it does not have the required 10 per cent (55 seats) in the 543-member Lok Sabha, the sources said. Congress has only 44 seats.

To back his opinion, the AG has said there is no precedence where a party was given the LoP position -- the status of a Cabinet Minister -- without meeting the criteria of 10 per cent seats since the days of first Lok Sabha when G V Mavlankar was the Speaker, they said.Even during the time of Rajiv Gandhi, Congress with over 400 seats had refused to grant LoP status to TDP for the same reason, the AG has told the Speaker.The AG is also learnt to have rejected the contention that LoP status could be given to the leader of Congress-led UPA coalition as there is no such precedence. UPA has 60 members in the House.Lok Sabha Secretariat officials refused to make any comment, saying a decision in the matter was yet to be taken.

Mahajan, who has been facing the tough situation on taking a call on the tricky issue, has said that she would consult legal and constitutional experts besides experienced persons in firming up a decision.Reacting to the development, Congress, which has recently upped the ante over the issue, hoped that the Speaker will "not be misguided" by the opinion of the AG.

"Attorney General represents the government's opinion. He articulates the government's viewpoint. Government has nothing to do with it (LoP issue). It is the domain of the Speaker. We will react after the ruling of the Speaker," Congress General Secretary Shakeel Ahmed. The Congress and the government have been trading barbs over the LoP issue with the main opposition even bringing the Speaker in its line of fire on the issue.Asserting that the post of Leader of Opposition is its "right", the Congress party has accused the government of playing "petty politics" over the issue and hoped SpeakerSumitra Mahajan will not allow her judgement to be "coloured" by various shades of politics. Congress has been peeved over the delay in deciding on the issue and suggested that the Speaker might be consulting the government.

"This (delay) means a decision will be taken in consultation with the government. This means whatever the government will want will happen," Amarinder Singh said.The government side reacted angrily saying the Congress' views reflected its "desperation" while Mahajan declined to wade into the LoP controversy.Singh, the Congress' Deputy Leader in the House, has said the party has written to the Speaker to formally demand the LoP post.

3) Gaza crisis: 815 Palestinians killed; no sign of ceasefire:

Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip on Friday killed six persons, including a pregnant woman and two children, taking the Palestinian toll to 815, as the 18-day conflict threatens to spread to the West Bank after deaths of two youths in anti-Israel protests in north of Jerusalem.A top leader of Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, a Hamas ally, and his sons were also killed today in Israeli attacks, Gaza emergency services officials said.Salah Hasanein and his sons, 12 and 15, were killed in the strike in the southern city of Rafah, they said.Another raid killed a 23-year-old pregnant woman in the central Gaza town of Deir al-Balah after her house was hit. However, surgeons saved the life of the woman's unborn child.

Hamas' military wing claimed it fired three rockets targeting Israel's Ben Gurion International airport.Meanwhile, Israeli forces were put on high alert for possible clashes in Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem during Friday prayers marking the final stretch of the month of Ramadan.The Israeli move came after two Palestinian protesters were killed and many others injured in clashes with Israeli police north of Jerusalem yesterday. Protests were also held in Ramallah, Nablus, Bethlehem and Jerusalem neighbourhoods.

Israeli offesive overnight killed 42 Palestinians, as international efforts for a ceasefire intensified after over 15 Palestinians died and 200 others injured in an Israeli strike on a UN-run school in Hamas-ruled northern Gaza Strip.UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack, which came hours after the agency had warned that Israel's actions in the Gaza could constitute war crimes.According to the UN, more than 118,000 people are now sheltering in UN schools and people are running out of food.

Palestinian toll now stands at 815 killed and more than 5,000 injured. Thirty two Israeli soldiers, two civilians and a Thai worker in Israel have also been killed in the conflict. One other soldier remains missing, but is presumed dead.

In a statement, Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu said he regretted each Palestinian civilian death, but said they were "the responsibility of Hamas".He said the operation is "continuing in full force" and Hamas' conditions for a cease-fire are a non-starter."We are continuing Operation Protective Edge at full strength, in the air and on the ground," he said at the opening of a special cabinet session.Hamas has demands from here to Vladivostok," Netanyahu was quoted by the Jerusalem Post as saying.Efforts to bring about a ceasefire have so far yielded no results amid a flurry of diplomatic initiatives.

4) School principal held for sexually harassing student in Assam:

The principal of a reputed private school in Guwahati has been suspended after a student alleged that he had sexually harassed her.A police case has been filed against Rajib Sharma, the school principal of Asom Jatiya Vidyalaya at the Noonmati police station for sexually harassing a girl from his school.

The Senior Superintendent of Police of Guwahati city A P Tiwari informed that the police have registered case of sexual abuse of child against the school principal and the chargesheet would be filed in court on Monday.

The SSP said the punishment for such offence may be upto five years in jail.On hearing of the report, the school management has taken prompt action of removing the principal from his position.The principal, on the other hand, has filed a case in Noonmati police station accusing two relatives of the victim, of manhandling him.  Asom Jatiya Vidyalaya is a reputed non-government high school in Assam, which is run by a trust comprising some eminent citizens of the state.

5) 50 Indian soldiers have died in Siachen in the last 3 years:

Fifty soldiers lost their lives in the Siachen Glacier due to climatic conditions and avalanches in the last three years while 16 soldiers died while serving in United Nations peacekeeping operations during that period, Lok Sabha was informed on Friday.

In written replies, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said the government was aware of the “strategic importance” of Siachen Glacier and requisite forces have been deployed in that area on basis of the “threat perception, ground situation and other operational needs”.50 soldiers were killed in the last three years up to July 20 in Siachen Glacier owing to landslides, floods and avalanches and climatic conditions, he said.Siachen was once the world’s highest battlefield where Indian and Pakistani troops were constantly engaged in skirmishes till 2003 when ceasefire was declared.

India maintains more than 3,000 troops on the glacier where Indian posts have been built at altitudes upto 23,000 feet.Jaitley said India has deployed 7,148 troops in UN peacekeeping operations. “16 troops have died there in the last three years.”The Indian contingents are deployed in Congo, Lebanon, South Sudan, Golan Heights, Sudan, Ivory Coast, Iraq, East Timor and New York. Six Indian soldiers were killed in Congo, two in Lebanon and eight in South Sudan.To another query, the minister said the government has ordered a study into the stress level encountered by young officers of the Army and has also asked the Defence Research and Development Organisation to develop methods to mitigate it.The minister said the report was submitted in April 2014 and the DRDO lab has already developed ‘Suicide Risk Assessment Test’ to identify at-risk personnel which has already been handed over to the Army.

5) Encephalitis claims 165 lives in Assam:

Japanese Encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome have claimed 165 lives in Assam, prompting Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to call an emergency meeting with health officials on Wednesday.According to an official release, Gogoi held an emergency meeting to review the health scenario with senior officials in the backdrop of outbreak of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES).

"Reviewing the health scenario in the backdrop of growing incidence of JE and AES in the state which has claimed 165 lives so far, Chief Minister Gogoi directed the health authorities to gear up on war-footing to control the diseases from spreading to newer areas," the release said.While AES accounted for 60 per cent of the cases covering 24 districts this year, JE was responsible for 40 per cent of the cases in mainly lower Assam districts, it said.Gogoi asked the officials to make a comprehensive action plan to control JE and AES, including setting up of an ICU in each district hospital for treatment of emergency cases along with and laboratory testing units, the release said. He directed the health officials to procure laboratory testing kits for quick diagnosis of cases and also to carry out intensive fogging in the affected and nearby areas and also conduct awareness campaigns by involving the panchayats.

The chief minister directed the officials to ensure adequate supply of vaccine and medicine to big hospitals, district hospitals and other health centres."Ensure that there is no shortage of medicine. Procure the required medicine, specially life saving drugs and make them available at all health centres immediately. Speedy treatment must be ensured to save precious lives. Funds would be no constraints in tackling the situation," he added.

Gogoi directed senior officials of the Public Health Engineering Department to speed up the conversion work of shallow tube wells into deep tube wells, specially in affected areas to bring down the cases of AES disease."Proper mapping of areas where water-borne diseases are acute, must be carried out by the PHED and necessary measures be taken up to provide clean drinking water to arrest the incidence of AES cases," he said and further directed the health officials to expedite the process for setting up the Assam State Health Corporation."The health officials apprised the Chief Minister that the process is on and the proposal will be placed in the Cabinet soon," the statement said.

The meeting was attended by Chief Secretary Jitesh Khosla, Principal Secretary to CM MGVK Bhanu, Principal Secretary for Health and Family Welfare Sanjeeva Kumar, NRHM Managing Director Manish Thakur and other senior officials of the PHED.

Sports News This Week:

1) Mahendra Singh Dhoni Says he has Played his Last Test at Lord's:

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has indicated that this will be his last Test series in England. The Indian captain said the second Test at Lord's, which India won by 95 runs on Monday, was his last at cricket's 'home'. Dhoni's hints are always very subtle. That's also a timely reminder for the national selectors to 'blood' a new man in the hotseat.Asked to reflect on the Lord's victory, India's first after 28 years, Dhoni said: "Don't know how exactly it feels. It will be my last Test at Lord's. Don't see myself coming back here in I don't know how many years. Definitely a memorable Test match."

"Have had close Tests here. Still remember 2007 series where we drew the match because of bad light, and me and Sreesanth were batting at that time. We saved that Test and went on to be victorious in that series. Every match is special and it's great to win Test matches outside India. Being Lord's, yes very special. But at the same time every Test match is special," the 33-year-old said.Dhoni's caliber as a Test captain has often come up for debate. Considered as one of the finest leaders in the shorter formats of the game, Dhoni's has been found wanting in Test matches. He was severely criticized when India lost the 2011 Test series in England 4-0. Even at Lord's this time, things started drifting until Ishant Sharma rocked England with a telling spell. England lost five wickets in 33 balls to go down like a pack of cards.

Steve Waugh feels Dhoni is "street-smart" and Indian selectors could look at split captaincy at some stage. The former Aussie skipper feels Dhoni needs to be more attacking during Tests. It is probably easier said than done with a young team.
Dhoni's position as Test captain seemingly remains 'safe' because India don't have a second leader. Virat Kohli needs to address his batting first. Captaincy surely was a burden for this immensely talented Delhi batsman during the Indian Premier League. In England so far, Kohli has run out of luck after promising starts.A man who has always led by his "gut feeling," Dhoni may not get lucky every time. Winning in Lord's will only raise expectations on Dhoni's Team India and the skipper will be under tremendous scrutiny and must get every strategy right. Dhoni has to score runs too and ensure that his place in the team is not questioned. Bigger tests lie ahead in Australia later this year. Australia could very well see Dhoni making some interesting career decisions.
But for now, Dhoni is basking in Lord's glory, especially after reverses in Johannesburg and Wellington earlier this season. Dhoni is impressed by the team's motivation levels. "It (the win) is a result of hard work and effort of the team. I felt in the last couple of series outside India we were in a position to seal victories in one game each in both places, but somehow we were not able to do that. I felt the bowlers put in great efforts in both matches.

"What was important was to keep working hard. Keep giving the same kind of preparation and thinking into the game. And because of that we have sealed the first game for this team. It was fantastic to see the kind of effort and determination from this team," Dhoni said.Dhoni believes in a process. Success is always the end result of a solid process. Success is also about continuity. When Dhoni took over as India's T20 captain in September 2007, he tasted success winning the ICC World T20 in South Africa. Dhoni became India's full-time Test captain quite by default. In the fourth and final Test against Australia in Nagpur he took over the captaincy after Anil Kumble was injured and subsequently retired.Since then, it's been an amazing success story, both from a team and personal standpoint. Currently valued at $21 million, Dhoni is the fifth most valuable athlete in the world, according to Forbes. Dhoni has achieved everything a captain can think of. He need not return to Lord's to prove anything again.

2) Weightlifters Sanjita, Sukhen win gold as India bags 7 medals on Day 1 :

Sukhen Dey and K Sanjita Chanu stole the limelight by clinching a gold each in weightlifting, as India launched their campaign in the 20th Commonwealth Games with a flourish, winning seven medals in all on the opening day of the competitions at Glasgow.

Judokas Navjot Chana and Shushila Likmabam had to be contend with a silver medal each after they failed to clear the final hurdle in the men's 60kg and women's 48kg events, respectively. There was a bronze for for another judoka, Kalpana Thoudam.

In weightlifting, there was a silver medal for S Mirabai Chanu, while Ganaesh Mali bagged a bronze.The paddlers, shuttlers and squash players had easy outings on the first day, with both badminton and table teams posting convincing wins.

It was a display of overwhelming domination in 48kg women's weightlifting by the Indians as apart from Sanjita's gold, S Mirabai Chanu bagged the silver medal to make it a one-two for last edition's hosts.In the men's 56kg contest, the 25-year-old Dey lifted a total of 248kg (109+139) after trailing at the halfway snatch stage, but came back strongly in clean and jerk to win the gold and cap a remarkable day for the Indians at the Clyde Auditorium.

In women's 48kg weightlifting, Sanjita won with a total lift of 173kg (77+96), while Mirabai grabbed the silver with a cumulative effort of 170 (75+95) in the absence of other strong competitors.

3) Commonwealth Games 2014 Medal Table: India 4th in Medal Tally with 3 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze:

2008 Gold medalist in Beijing Olympics Abhinav Bindra bagged a gold medal at the Glasgow 2014 in 10m Air Rifle. Thirty One-year-old Bindra who is competing in his last Commonwealth Games bid a perfect farewell to the multi-sporting event. Abhinav Bindra, the flag bearer of Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010 had won eight Commonwealth Games medals prior and with his this gold medal, he helps India in the medals tally with total of 9 medals including 3 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze.India open its medal account in shooting as 16-year-old Malaika Goel wins silver medal. World No. 15 Malaika Goel won silver in 10m Air Pistol at Barry Buddon Shooting Centre during day two of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games . With this medal India cements its fourth position in the medal tally with a total of 10 medals that includes 2 gold, 4 silver and 1 bronze. Shun Xie Tao of Singapore won the first gold medal for the nation in the shooting event.

England maintained its dominance at the medal table of Commonwealth Games 2014 with a total 17 medals that included 6 gold medals, 7 silver medals and 4 bronze medals. Triathlete Jodie Stimpson won the first gold medal for the England side in Glasgow. Australia are on second spot with their share of 5 gold medals and are closely following England with total of 15 medals. Host nation Scotland maintains its good form with 4 gold medals to be ranked at the third rank on the medal tally.

The gold fest for India started with glorious victory of Manipuri girls Sanjita Khumukcham and Mirabai Chanu Saikhom winning the gold and silver medals, respectively, in the women’s 48kg weightlifting competitions at the Clyde Auditorium.

Commonwealth Games 2014 kick started on July 23 at the beautiful city of Scotland, Glasgow. Australia notched up the top slot in the last edition’s Commonwealth Games with 177 medals while 19th Commonwealth Games hosts India finished second in the medals tally with total of 101 medals. They had won 38 gold, 27 silver and 36 bronze medals. Australia was on the top of medals table with 74 gold, 55 silver and 48 bronze medals.

India has always showcased prime form at the Commonwealth Games edition. And a lot would be expected from the visiting contingent of 215 athletes (second largest contingent ever with highest number of participants in athletics with 41 members) at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014.  After all the Indian side boasts of some heavyweight names in the side from major sporting events like boxing, shooting, badminton and wrestling. Commonwealth Games that are perceived secondary to the Summer Olympics will be hoping to revamp the old thoughts as the beautiful Scottish city Glasgow looks ready to host the 12-day event from July 23 to August 3, 2014.

The number of sporting events has been brought down to 17 from 21 earlier played in the 19th edition. They are: Aquatics, Diving (10), Swimming (44), Athletics (50), Badminton (6), Boxing (13), Cycling – Mountain biking (2), Road (4), Track (17), Gymnastics – Artistic gymnastics (14), Rhythmic gymnastics (6), Hockey (2), Judo (14), Lawn Bowls (10), Netball (1), Rugby sevens (1), Shooting (19), Squash (5), Table tennis (7), Triathlon (3), Weightlifting (19), Wrestling – Freestyle (14). India will be participating in 14 of those 17 events at Glasgow. The three events India will not be participating are netball, rugby sevens and triathlon. There are total 1, 385 medals to be won in this edition of Commonwealth Games.The medals tally of the Commonwealth Games 2014 will be decided on the number of gold medals won. With the nations tied at gold medals, the second yardstick to measure is on the silver medals and then bronze. If the teams are still tied, they would be given equal ranking with the team placed according to alphabetical order. There are 4, 947 athletes participating from 71 countries.21-year-old Mali was leading after snatch but slipped behind in clean and jerk to settle for bronze with a total lift of 244kg (111+133). Malaysia's Mohd Pisol Zulheimi was at fourth after snatch but recovered in fine fashion to bag the silver with a total lift of 245kg (108+137).Meanwhile, Australia's female swimmers set a new 4x100m freestyle relay world record of 3min 30:98sec as they retained their Commonwealth Games title in style.Lifter Sanjita's total of 173kg missed the Games record, held in the name of 2010 CWG gold winner Augustina Nkem Nwaokolo (175kg effort), by two kilograms. Sanjita's 77kg effort in snatch, however, equalled Nwaokolo's CWG record.The contest was all but over at the halfway snatch stage with 20-year-old Sanjita and 19-year-old Mirabai lifting 77kg and 75kg.


                             GOLD                                        SILVER                                    BRONZE                     

INDIA                      3                                                   4                                                2                = 9                 

4) Amla, De Villiers dig in for South Africa in second test:

 South Africa batted cautiously to reach 98 for three as they try to preserve their 1-0 lead in the series in the second test and final against Sri Lanka on Friday.The touring side, replying to the hosts' 421 all out, trailed by 323 runs at the close on the second day with Hashim Amla unbeaten on 46 and AB de Villiers on 11.

Amla had two escapes on 10 and 34, edging a drive off Dilruwan Perera past Mahela Jayawardene’s outstretched hand at slip and then having his stumps shattered by Suranga Lakmal as he moved away from his crease when a crow flew across the pitch.The bowler appealed to the umpire who signalled a dead ball.Sri Lanka’s only success in the final session was the wicket of Faf du Plessis who was caught brilliantly down the leg side by wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella off Lakmal for 36 to end a partnership of 58 with Amla.

“The wicket is pretty nice to bat on but they got a pretty variety of spinners which don’t give much it’s tough to score against them because they put their fields to protect the boundary and got a few guys stopping the ones,” Du Plessis told reporters.

“You have to take a risk to score against them but as myself and Hash (Hashim Amla) showed if you get through the pressure of the first couple of balls the runs will come."Sri Lanka's spinners had taken two early wickets to reduce South Africa to 23 for two at tea.

Left-armer Rangana Herath, who opened the bowling, struck with his fifth ball when he forced Alviro Petersen to hit back a tame return catch with his score on two.Perera had Dean Elgar, on one, caught off the inside edge off his third ball by Kaushal Silva at short leg to leave South Africa in trouble on a turning pitch at 13 for two.

Sri Lanka’s innings ended with Vernon Philander picking up the last two wickets of Ajantha Mendis (2) and Lakmal (4) to catches by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.Debutant Dickwella, whose innings of 72 came off 116 deliveries, was run out when he hesitated over a single to a ball that went off Herath's shoulder and De Kock reacted quickly to throw the stumps down.

Leg-spinner Imran Tahir picked up his first wicket after conceding over 100 runs when he had Perera caught by Amla at mid-on for 12 attempting a big hit.Jayawardene was run out for 165 as Sri Lanka piled on the runs on the second morning.

South Africa's only success was the wicket of Jayawardene, who had passed 150 for the 16th time in his career before he was run out.The elegant right-hander swept JP Duminy to fine leg and Petersen's direct throw at the stumps caught the diving batsman well short of his ground.His 165 came off 284 balls and included one six and 17 fours.“Disappointed in Galle that I wasn’t able to contribute the first innings was where we made quite a few mistakes,” Jayawardene said.“We needed to make sure that we didn’t repeat the mistakes here. The mind set was pretty positive to take control of the situation we were in."

5) FIFA committed to 2018 World Cup in Russia:

FIFA remains committed to the 2018 World Cup in Russia and says a boycott would not be an effective way of reducing tensions in the region, soccer's world governing body said on Friday.The ongoing conflict between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukraine government came to a head last week with the downing of a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane, leading to the deaths of 298 people.

Moscow denies supporting the separatists, but following the disaster senior German lawmakers raised the possibility of stripping Russia of the hosting rights to the World Cup.

The Dutch football association said it wanted to postpone discussion over participation in the next World Cup until after a national day of mourning to remember the victims, two-thirds of whom were from the Netherlands.

"As a world governing body of football FIFA takes its responsibility in governing football seriously and we support any peaceful and democratic debate," the Zurich-based organisation said in a statement.

"FIFA deplores any form of violence and will continue to use its tournaments to promote dialogue, understanding and peace among peoples.

"History has shown so far that boycotting sport events or a policy of isolation or confrontation are not the most effective ways to solve problems."FIFA said the World Cup could be a "powerful catalyst for constructive dialogue between people and governments", uniting teams and nations.

"FIFA is convinced that, through football, particularly the FIFA World Cup and its international spotlight, we can achieve positive change in the world, but football cannot be seen as a solution for all issues, particularly those related to world politics," the ruling body added."We have seen that the FIFA World Cup can be a force for good and FIFA believes this will be the case for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia."The European Union has threatened to impose harsher economic sanctions on Russia after the crash near Donetsk, a stronghold of pro-Russian rebels.

Book of This Week:

The Universe By by John Brockman:

About the Book

John Brockman brings together the world's best-known physicists and science writers—including Brian Greene, Walter Isaacson, Nobel Prize-winner Frank Wilczek, Benoit Mandelbrot, and Martin Rees—to explain the universe in all wondrous splendor.

In The Universe, today's most influential science writers explain the science behind our evolving understanding of the universe and everything in it, including the cutting edge research and discoveries that are shaping our knowledge.Lee Smolin reveals how math and cosmology are helping us create a theory of the whole universe. Benoit Mandelbrot looks back on a career devoted to fractal geometry. Neil Turok analyzes the fundamental laws of nature, what came before the big bang, and the possibility of a unified theory.

Seth Lloyd investigates the impact of computational revolutions and the informational revolution. Lawrence Krauss provides fresh insight into gravity, dark matter, and the energy of empty space. Brian Greene and Walter Isaacson illuminate the genius who revolutionized modern science: Albert Einstein. And much more.Explore the universe with some of today's greatest minds: what it is, how it came into being, and what may happen next.

John Brockman:


The publisher of the influential online science salon, John Brockman is the editor of Thinking, This Explains Everything, This Will Make You Smarter, and What Should We Be Worried About? He founded the literary agency Brockman Inc. and lives in New York City.


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