Science News This Week:
1) Rosetta spacecraft confabs with a comet:
After 10-year chase, ESA probe meets up with comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The Rosetta spacecraft has caught up with comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.
The spacecraft has been chasing the comet for 10 years, and on August 6, the European Space Agency (ESA) released detailed images and data showing that the probe had come within 100 kilometers of the space rock and is ready to enter into orbit around it. The meeting marks the closest a spacecraft has come to a comet without slamming into it and could reveal whether the space rocks ferried water and other ingredients for life to Earth billions of years ago.
2) Link between vitamin D, dementia risk confirmed:
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a substantially increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease in older people, according to the most robust study of its kind ever conducted.An international team, led by Dr David Llewellyn at the University of Exeter Medical School, found that study participants who were severely Vitamin D deficient were more than twice as likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer's disease.The team studied elderly Americans who took part in the Cardiovascular Health Study. They discovered that adults in the study who were moderately deficient in vitamin D had a 53 per cent increased risk of developing dementia of any kind, and the risk increased to 125 per cent in those who were severely deficient.Similar results were recorded for Alzheimer's disease, with the moderately deficient group 69 per cent more likely to develop this type of dementia, jumping to a 122 per cent increased risk for those severely deficient.
The study was part-funded by the Alzheimer's Association, and is published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. It looked at 1,658 adults aged 65 and over, who were able to walk unaided and were free from dementia, cardiovascular disease and stroke at the start of the study. The participants were then followed for six years to investigate who went on to develop Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.Dr Llewellyn said: "We expected to find an association between low Vitamin D levels and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, but the results were surprising -- we actually found that the association was twice as strong as we anticipated."Clinical trials are now needed to establish whether eating foods such as oily fish or taking vitamin D supplements can delay or even prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. We need to be cautious at this early stage and our latest results do not demonstrate that low vitamin D levels cause dementia. That said, our findings are very encouraging, and even if a small number of people could benefit, this would have enormous public health implications given the devastating and costly nature of dementia."
Research collaborators included experts from Angers University Hospital, Florida International University, Columbia University, the University of Washington, the University of Pittsburg and the University of Michigan. The study was supported by the Alzheimer's Association, the Mary Kinross Charitable Trust, the James Tudor Foundation, the Halpin Trust, the Age Related Diseases and Health Trust, the Norman Family Charitable Trust, and the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Research and Care South West Peninsula (NIHR PenCLAHRC).Dementia is one of the greatest challenges of our time, with 44 million cases worldwide -- a number expected to triple by 2050 as a result of rapid population aging. A billion people worldwide are thought to have low vitamin D levels and many older adults may experience poorer health as a result.
The research is the first large study to investigate the relationship between vitamin D and dementia risk where the diagnosis was made by an expert multidisciplinary team, using a wide range of information including neuroimaging. Previous research established that people with low vitamin D levels are more likely to go on to experience cognitive problems, but this study confirms that this translates into a substantial increase in the risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
Vitamin D comes from three main sources -- exposure of skin to sunlight, foods such as oily fish, and supplements. Older people's skin can be less efficient at converting sunlight into Vitamin D, making them more likely to be deficient and reliant on other sources. In many countries the amount of UVB radiation in winter is too low to allow vitamin D production.
The study also found evidence that there is a threshold level of Vitamin D circulating in the bloodstream below which the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's disease increases. The team had previously hypothesized that this might lie in the region of 25-50 nmol/L, and their new findings confirm that vitamin D levels above 50 nmol/L are most strongly associated with good brain health.Commenting on the study, Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research and Development at Alzheimer's Society said: "Shedding light on risk factors for dementia is one of the most important tasks facing today's health researchers. While earlier studies have suggested that a lack of the sunshine vitamin is linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease, this study found that people with very low vitamin D levels were more than twice as likely to develop any kind of dementia."During this hottest of summers, hitting the beach for just 15 minutes of sunshine is enough to boost your vitamin D levels. However, we're not quite ready to say that sunlight or vitamin D supplements will reduce your risk of dementia. Large scale clinical trials are needed to determine whether increasing vitamin D levels in those with deficiencies can help prevent the dementia from developing."
3) Photon hunting in the twilight zone: Visual features of bioluminescent sharks:
The eyes of deep-sea bioluminescent sharks have a higher rod density when compared to non-bioluminescent sharks, according to a study published August 6, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Julien M. Claes, postdoctoral researcher from the FNRS at Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium), and colleagues. This adaptation is one of many these sharks use to produce and perceive bioluminescent light in order to communicate, find prey, and camouflage themselves against predators.
The mesopelagic twilight zone, or about 200-1000 meters deep in the sea, is a vast, dim habitat, where, with increasing depth, sunlight is progressively replaced by point-like bioluminescent emissions. To better understand strategies used by bioluminescent predators inhabiting this region that help optimize photon capture, the authors of this study analyzed the eye shape, structure, and retinal cell mapping in the visual systems of five deep-sea bioluminescent sharks, including four Lanternsharks (Etmopteridae) and one kitefin shark (Dalatiidae).The researchers found that the sharks' eyes contained a translucent area present in the upper eye orbit of the lantern sharks, which might aid in adjusting counter-illumination, or in using bioluminescence to camouflage the fish. They also found several ocular specializations, such as a gap between the lens and iris that allows extra light to the retina, which was previously unknown in sharks. Comparisons with previous data on non-bioluminescent sharks reveals that bioluminescent sharks possess higher rod densities in their eyes, which might provide them with improved temporal resolution, particularly useful for bioluminescent communication during social interactions.
"Every bioluminescent signal needs to reach a target photoreceptor to be ecologically efficient. Here, we clearly found evidence that the visual system of bioluminescent sharks has co-evolved with their light-producing capability, even though more work is needed to understand the full story," said Dr. Claes.These results reveal an unexpected diversity of photon capture strategies and indicate that like other deep-sea animals, deep-sea sharks possess a number of adaptations to cope with the twilight zone.
4) Shrinking dinosaurs evolved into flying birds:
A new study involving scientists from the University of Southampton has revealed how massive, meat-eating, ground-dwelling dinosaurs evolved into agile flying birds: they just kept shrinking and shrinking, for over 50 million years. Today, in the journal Science, the researchers present a detailed family tree of dinosaurs and their bird descendants, which maps out this unlikely transformation.They showed that the branch of theropod dinosaurs, which gave rise to modern birds, were the only dinosaurs that kept getting inexorably smaller.
"These bird ancestors also evolved new adaptations, such as feathers, wishbones and wings, four times faster than other dinosaurs," says co-author Darren Naish, Vertebrate Palaeontologist at the University of Southampton."Birds evolved through a unique phase of sustained miniaturisation in dinosaurs," says lead author Associate Professor Michael Lee, from the University of Adelaide's School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the South Australian Museum.
"Being smaller and lighter in the land of giants, with rapidly evolving anatomical adaptations, provided these bird ancestors with new ecological opportunities, such as the ability to climb trees, glide and fly. Ultimately, this evolutionary flexibility helped birds survive the deadly meteorite impact which killed off all their dinosaurian cousins."Co-author Gareth Dyke, Senior Lecturer in Vertebrate Palaeontology at the University of Southampton, adds: "The dinosaurs most closely related to birds are all small, and many of them -- such as the aptly named Microraptor -- had some ability to climb and glide."The study examined over 1,500 anatomical traits of dinosaurs to reconstruct their family tree. The researchers used sophisticated mathematical modelling to trace evolving adaptions and changing body size over time and across dinosaur branches.The international team also included Andrea Cau, from the University of Bologna and Museo Geologico Giovanni Capellini.
The study concluded that the branch of dinosaurs leading to birds was more evolutionary innovative than other dinosaur lineages. "Birds out-shrank and out-evolved their dinosaurian ancestors, surviving where their larger, less evolvable relatives could not," says Associate Professor Lee.
5) A hellacious two weeks on Jupiter's moon Io:
Three massive volcanic eruptions occurred on Jupiter's moon Io within a two-week period in August of last year. This led astronomers to speculate that such "outbursts," which can send material hundreds of miles above the surface, might be much more common than they thought. "We typically expect one huge outburst every one or two years, and they're usually not this bright," said Imke de Pater, professor and chair of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, and lead author of one of two papers describing the eruptions. "Here we had three extremely bright outbursts, which suggest that if we looked more frequently we might see many more of them on Io."
Io, the innermost of Jupiter's four large "Galilean" moons, is about 2,300 miles across (3,630 kilometers). Aside from Earth, it is the only known place in the solar system with volcanoes erupting extremely hot lava like that on Earth. Because of Io's low gravity, large eruptions produce an umbrella of debris that rises high into space.
De Pater's long-time colleague and coauthor Ashley Davies, a volcanologist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said that the recent eruptions match past events that spewed tens of cubic miles of lava over hundreds of square miles in a short period of time.
"These new events are in a relatively rare class of eruptions on Io because of their size and astonishingly high thermal emission," Davies said. "The amount of energy being emitted by these eruptions implies lava fountains gushing out of fissures at a very large volume per second, forming lava flows that quickly spread over the surface of Io."
All three events, including the largest, most powerful eruption of the trio on Aug. 29, 2013, were likely characterized by "curtains of fire" as lava blasted out of fissures perhaps several miles long.The papers, one with lead author Katherine de Kleer, a UC Berkeley graduate student, and coauthored by UC Berkeley research astronomer Máté Ádámkovics, and the other coauthored by Ádámkovics and David R. Ciardi of the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute/California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, have been accepted for publication in the journal Icarus.
Movie Release This Week:
The city needs heroes. Darkness has settled over New York City as Shredder and his evil Foot Clan have an iron grip on everything from the police to the politicians. The future is grim until four unlikely outcast brothers rise from the sewers and discover their destiny as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Turtles must work with fearless reporter April and her wise-cracking cameraman Vern Fenwick to save the city and unravel Shredder's diabolical plan.
Sean brings his dance crew known as The Mob to Los Angeles to try and make it. But they haven't had much luck, eventually the Mob decides it's time to go back to Miami but Sean decides to stay. He learns of a dance competition is Las Vegas wherein the winner will get a three year contract. Sean needs a new crew so he asks fellow dancer Moose for help. And Moose introduces him to Andie, another friend and dancer who got injured a few years ago and is now ready to get back in. He recruits some other friends and they head Las Vegas as Lmmental. When they get there, they discover that the Mob too is also there, which is very touchy for Sean.
In “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) is a culinary ingénue with the gastronomic equivalent of perfect pitch. Displaced from their native India, the Kadam family, led by Papa (Om Puri), settles in the quaint village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the south of France. Filled with charm, it is both picturesque and elegant – the ideal place to settle down and open an Indian restaurant, the Maison Mumbai. That is, until the chilly chef proprietress of Le Saule Pleureur, a Michelin starred, classical French restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), gets wind of it. Her icy protests against the new Indian restaurant a hundred feet from her own escalate to all out war between the two establishments – until Hassan’s passion for French haute cuisine and for Mme. Mallory’s enchanting sous chef, Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), combine with his mysteriously delicious talent to weave magic between their two cultures and imbue Saint-Antonin with the flavors of life that even Mme. Mallory cannot ignore. At first Mme. Mallory's culinary rival, she eventually recognizes Hassan's gift as a chef and takes him under her wing.
Young Colombian immigrant Drina lands a job as a live-in housekeeper for the wealthy Crawford family's luxurious weekend home in the Hamptons. The job seems stress-free, but the Crawford's son Brandon shows up unexpectedly from college and Drina witnesses him committing a horrible crime. Drina knows that if she reports Brandon she'll lose her job, and the Crawfords show the dark side of family loyalty by closing ranks and insinuating that they will do whatever it takes to protect one of their own. (c) Cinema Village
A diplomatic official is captured and imprisoned while touring a war zone, so a team of elite female commandoes is assembled to infiltrate a women's prison for a daring rescue.
Political News This Week:
1) Congress stonewalling Insurance Bill to deny Modi credit: Govt:
Rejecting the demand for referring Insurance Bill to a Select Committee, the government on Thursday said the Congress was 'stonewalling' the key reform measure to deny credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi before he goes to the United States.
Minister of State for Finance Nirmala Sitharaman also said the government felt let down by the Congress stonewalling its own proposal to hike FDI in insurance to 49 per cent from current 26 per cent."Of course, there are whispers that it could be because they do not want to give credit to Modi before he goes to the US. I have reasons to suspect that is true. So, I can't see otherwise any substantial reason for them to say we oppose," she told PTI.
Sitharaman, however, hoped the Bill will be passed in the current session of Parliament which ends on August 14, saying the opposition to the Bill was crumbling and many parties such as the Nationalist Congress Party are willing to support the Bill.
The Congress, which had supported a hike in FDI cap when it was in power, now wants the Bill to be referred a Parliamentary Select Committee for threadbare examination of the issue since the government has brought some amendments.
"We don't see a need. How much time has been spent on it," she said when asked if there is a need to refer the Bill to a Select Committee. "Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has been talking to all the parties and I feel let down. The Congress which opposed the Bill when first time National Democratic Alliance brought it in. And (subsequently) when they brought it in we opposed.
"Let us assume that the scores have settled. After we opposed, the Bill went to the Standing Committee and came back with many recommendations. The United Progressive Alliance government then accepted the recommendations made by the Standing Committee, incorporated all the changes. A changed, tweaked Bill was ready for being tabled in the (Rajya Sabha) House. They did not bring it," she said.
2) US defence secretary arrives in India on 3-day visit:
US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in New Delhi on Thursday on a three-day visit and is expected to discuss regional security situation, defence deals worth over Rs 20,000 crore and joint military hardware development projects with the Indian political and military leadership.
Before leaving for India, Hagel had said the US is looking for new partners and relationships in Asia Pacific region which represents both opportunities and challenges.
During his talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the two sides are expected to discuss the regional security situation including the fallout of the American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Hagel is also scheduled to hold discussions with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chairman, Chiefs of Staffs Committee Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, defence ministry officials said.
3) BSF trooper captured by Pakistan to be released on Friday:
Pakistani authorities on Thursday assured their Border Security Force counterparts that a jawan, who was captured in their territory after being swept away by a strong current of the Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir, will be handed back on Friday.
BSF sources said a company commander level flag meeting was held at 02.45 pm in the Nikowal border post area in Jammu’s Sunderbani sector between Border Security Force and the Pak Rangers who said the BSF jawan Satyasheel Yadav, 30, would return on Friday.
“The stipulated time of handover of our trooper has been set at 3 pm. Some formalities will be done by the rangers and then they would hand over Yadav back to us,” sources said.
Officials said they were informed that Yadav was in good condition and he is understood to have gone through some rounds of questioning by Pakistan intelligence and security sleuths.
Yadav was out on a patrol with three other personnel in the Paragwal-Khour sub-sector of general area Akhnoor when the boat they were travelling in developed a problem on Wednesday.
Officials said when the patrol squad was negotiating a narrow bend in the river in this sector, the engine of the motorboat failed. A rescue boat later sent to fetch the BSF men was taken by three personnel but Yadav was swept in the strong current as the rope holding him snapped and he subsequently landed 400 metres away in the Sialkot sector of Pakistan where he was picked up by the villagers initially and then handed over to the rangers, they said.
BSF Director General D K Pathak had earlier said that the force was making all efforts to secure its jawan. “We have sent a request note through our Wagah frontier and have also requested for a Commandant level flag meeting. We are making all efforts to secure our trooper and I hope that he will sent back to us very soon,” Pathak had said.
The BSF chief added that the trooper had reached the Pakistan territory “accidentally” and he was not part of any “action” that the border guarding force was conducting on Wednesday when the incident happened.
In Lahore, a senior rangers official said, “We have decided to free the Indian soldier. We have completed his interrogation. He will be handed over to the BSF tomorrow in the presence of the media after a flag meeting with BSF in Sialkot on Friday morning.”
4) Flood situation grim in Odisha as toll mounts to 34:
Flood waters engulfed vast areas of the delta region of Mahanadi river system in Odisha even as the death toll due to heavy rains and floods in the state climbed to 34.As many as 9.95 lakh people in 1,553 villages of 89 blocks in 23 districts have so far been affected due to the floods, the special relief commissioner said. “Though river Mahanadi is flowing above danger mark at several places, there is no threat of substantial damage as the water flow into Hirakud reservoir has come down,” Special Relief Commissioner P K Mohapatra said.The death toll due to floods and heavy rain in different parts of the state went up to 34 with seven fresh deaths reported since Wednesday, the SRC said, adding, most of the casualties were due to drowning and wall collapse.
“It is a matter of relief that fear of a major high flood has been averted. Volume of water flowing down Mahanadi at Munduli stood at around 11 lakh cusec as against over 12 lakh cusec anticipated earlier,” he said.The level in Hirakud reservoir stood at 628.08 feet as against its full capacity of 630 feet and 50 of the 64 sluice gates were opened for discharge of excess water, said Biswajit Mohanty, Chief Engineer of Hirakud dam.However, as flow of water into the river went down, it has been decided to first close three gates and subsequently more gates after assessing the situation, he said, adding flow into the reservoir from upper catchment areas was now around 7.8 lakh cusec.
5) The Ebola virus threat knocks at India's doorstep:
The deadly Ebola virus that has claimed 932 lives so far is now closer to home than imagined. Union Health Minister on Wedensday in a letter to Parliament said that a total of 44,700 Indians are living in different countries affected by Ebola.
Vardhan added that India is ready and has prepared all measures to deal with any case of the virus imported to India. He also announced that the government had asked people to defer non-essential travel to Ebola-affected regions.
“In view of the reports of outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in 4 countries of West Africa, namely, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, it is recommended that non-essential travel to these countries be deferred till such time that the Ebola virus disease outbreak situation is brought under control,” he said.He also assured the Parliament that the country was ready to deal with the virus, in case it was imported to the country. “Even though there is no vaccine or curative therapy yet for the disease, I want to apprise this house that outbreaks can be contained through early detection and isolation of cases, contact tracing and monitoring, and following rigorous procedures for infection control, if such cases were to report in our country," he added.Vardhan added that in light of the disease spreading and claiming lives, mandatory self-reporting by passengers coming from or transiting through the affected countries would be required at the time of immigration check.
Explaining further about the disease and the danger it poses to Indians, the Health Minister said that of the 44,700 who were at threat, 300 are troops from the Central Reserve Police Force deployed in Liberia for UN peacekeeping operations.
He further said that the Armed Forces would be taking action to suitably advise their personnel in the affected region for appropriate health precautions and to apprise them about reducing the risk of contracting this infection.
The Ebola disease is dangerous and the World Health Organisation has reported 1,603 cases and 887 deaths till August 4 in four countries -- Guinea (485 and 358), Liberia (468 and 255), Sierra Leone (646 and 273) and Nigeria (4 and 1).
Many parts of Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Khurda and Puri districts were hit by flood in Mahanadi, even as the situation in Jajpur and Bhadrak districts continued to be grave due to submergence of vast areas by flood in Baitarani though water level in the river is slowly falling, the SRC said. Around 1.11 lakh people have been evacuated from low-lying areas to safe places and about 240 kitchens were now operating to provide them free cooked food. As many as 2,41,658 people were marooned in 398 villages as surging water of Baitarani and Mahanadi and their tributaries flooded vast areas in Jajpur, Bhadrak, Cuttack, Khurda, Nayagarh, Angul, Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts, he said.
Two helicopters of the Indian Air Force have been kept on stand-by for use in relief operation, if necessary, the SRC said, adding at present the entire operation was being carried out with the help of boats. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had on Wednesday called up Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and pledged all necessary assistance in relief operations in flood-hit areas.Around 30 units of Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force were also deployed in vulnerable areas, SRC office said, adding fire brigade personnel were put on stand by.
6) Uttar Pradesh tops the list for most riots in India:
With 247 incidents of communal violence, Uttar Pradesh has earned the dubious distinction of topping the list of states that witnessed riots in 2013 and the situation is no different in 2014 too.
Communal violence claimed 133 lives across the country last year which include 77 deaths in UP.
According to latest Union home ministry statistics, a total of
823 such incidents were reported from across the country in 2013 in which 2,269 people were injured.
Apart from Uttar Pradesh, the other states where maximum number of communal violence took place included Maharashtra (88), Madhya Pradesh (84), Karnataka (73) and Gujarat (68) While the data for this year is still being compiled by the MHA, a rough estimate put the number of communal clashes reported this year to around 65 in which at least 15 people lost their lives.
Riots in UP's Muzaffarnagar and its adjoining areas had claimed over 60 lives during August-September last year. More than 90 people were also injured and over 50,000 people were displaced due to the communal violence then.
A maximum of 360 people were injured in these incidents in Uttar Pradesh in 2013.
The state also registered a maximum of 118 communal incidents in 2012 in which 39 people were killed and 500 were injured.
While 12 people were killed in Maharashtra in these incidents, 11 people were killed in MP during in 2013.
During April-June this year, the most number of communal violence incidents were reported from Uttar Pradesh (32) followed by Maharashtra (26), Rajasthan (18) and Madhya Pradesh (17).A total of 149 communal incidents were reported across the country in April-June this year.
Cartoonist Pran, creator of iconic Chacha Chaudhury, dies:
Eminent cartoonist Pran Kumar Sharma, popularly known as Pran, who gave life to lovable comic characters Chacha Chaudhury and his friend Sabu, is no more.
Pran succumbed to cancer early on Wednesday morning at a hospital in Gurgaon, according to his publisher Diamond Comics. He was 75."Pran passed away at 9 am at the Medanta hospital. He had been suffering from cancer of the intestine for the past eight months. He is survived by a son and a daughter," Gulshan Rai, publisher, Diamond Comics, told PTI.Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to express his grief over the passing away of the cartoonist.
Modi described Pran "as a versatile cartoonist who brought smiles on the faces of people through his rich work."Born in Kasur, near Lahore in Pakistan in 1938, Pran began his career in 1960 as a cartoonist for the Delhi-based newspaper Milap with the comic strip 'Daabu'. In 1969, Pran sketched Chacha Chaudhary for the Hindi magazine Lotpot, which made him famous.
"Pran was making small cartoons for newspapers when I first contacted him in 1981. At that time there were no Indian comics, it was all reproductions of foreign titles. For the last 35 years we have been the sole publisher of his cartoons," said Rai.
With a career spanning over five decades, Pran employed a simple style of art and sense of humour to create a family of characters like Shrimatiji, Pinki, Billoo, Raman and Channi Chachi, which are regularly published in Indian magazines.
Sports News This Week:
1) India lose six wickets for 63 on Day One of Old Trafford Test:
India got off to their worst start in the ongoing series against England on Thursday, when they lost six wickets on the first day of the fourth Test match being played here.At the time of the filing of this report shortly after lunch, India were precariously placed at 63 for six. Indian openers Gautam Gambhir and Murali Vijay lost their wickets cheaply, for individual scores of four and zero. Thereafter, one drop Virat Kohli and two down Chesteshwar Pujara both scored ducks. There was a half century partnership between Ajinkya Rahane and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni before Rahane was snared in the slips for his individual score of 24. All rounder Ravindra Jadeja is the latest wicket to fall for a duck.For England, fast bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad claimed three and two wickets respectively, while Chris Jordan claimed one.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is still not out on 25.Earlier, after winning the toss and choosing to bat first India lost three crucial wickets in the form of Murali Vijay, Chateshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli were out for duck. Gautam Gambhir who made a comeback by replacing Shikhar Dhawan, failed to generate any turnaround for the team as he was dismissed for four
2) Paes to skip Davis Cup:
Tennis great Leander Paes will skip India's Davis Cup World Group playoff against Serbia to be held at the KSLTA Tennis Stadium in Bangalore Sep 12-14.The All India Tennis Association (AITA), which will meet here Aug 13 to select the team for the crucial tie, said that though Paes wanted to play, he will be unavailable due to "personal compulsions".
However, the Olympic medallist will play in the Sep 19-Oct 4 Incheon Asian Games.The Davis Cup selection committee meeting will choose Aug 13 the team for the tie against Serbia, AITA secretary general Bharat Oza said.
"Leander Paes will play the Asian Games and was desirous of playing Davis Cup as well. However, due to personal compulsions, AITA has decided to accept his request to not play in the Davis Cup tie against Serbia," Oza said in a statement.
The winning country will qualify for the 2015 World Group while the losing country will contest in the Zone Groups.
India qualified for the playoff when they beat South Korea 3-1 at Busan in the second round of Group I Asia/Oceania in April.
The 2013 finalists, Serbia will travel to India looking to continue their seven-year presence in the World Group. Serbia has made it to the quarterfinals or more every year since 2010.For India, this tie represents a chance to return to the Davis Cup's top table. Serbia hold a 2-1 head-to-head over India in Davis Cup.
3) Commonwealth Games 2014: India celebrate Parupalli Kashyap's historic gold, finishes fifth at CWG:
Parupalli Kashyap brought the curtains down on India's campaign in the 20th Commonwealth Games to a thunderous applause, winning a historic gold in the men's singles badminton here today, as the country earned a fifth-place finish with 64 medals, including 15 yellow metals.The quest for a CWG hockey gold though remained unfulfilled as the Indian men's team went down tamely 0-4 to title holders and world champions Australia in the final. The country managed to get 64 medals this time with 15 gold medals!
Likewise, the women's doubles combo of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa, too, had to be content with a silver medal at the Emirates Arena here.
The story on the final day of the Games revolved around Kashyap. Playing like a man possessed, the 27-year-old stole the limelight as he etched his name firmly in the history books by becoming the first Indian male shuttler in 32 years to win a gold in the Commonwealth Games.
The three podium finishes on the final day of the Games meant India ended with 30 silver and 19 bronze, apart from the 15 top prizes.Traditional powerhouse England led the overall standings with 171 medals, followed by Australia (135), Canada (82) and hosts Scotland, which ended the multi-sport extravaganza with 53 medals.
A bronze-medallist at the Delhi Games, Kashyap rose to the occasion and played a sensational game of nerves to eke out a breath-taking 21-14 11-21 21-19 triumph over Derek Wong of Singapore in the final showdown, which lasted over an hour.
The shuttler from Hyderabad thus joined badminton legend Prakash Padukone and the late Syed Modi, who had won the title in the past. While Padukone had won the men's singles gold medal at the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Canada, Modi retained it four years later.
It turned out to be a red letter day for World No. 22 Kashyap who bagged the biggest title of his career. He had reached the quarterfinals of the London Olympics and won the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold in 2012.
Just after Kashyap's moment of triumph, Jwala and Ponnappa lost their summit showdown with Malaysian combo of Vivian Kah Mun Hoo and Khe Wei Woon 17-21 21-23, leaving the holders' title defence in tatters.
4) Lampard begins six-month loan spell at Man City:
Former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard began his loan spell at Premier League champions Manchester City on Wednesday, just two weeks after joining Major League Soccer club New York City FC.
Lampard, 36, left Chelsea in June after 13 years at the club but will be back in the Premier League for six months before joining up with City's affiliate club New York for their inaugural season."Joining up with Manchester City is a fantastic opportunity for me to continue to train and play at the top level and make sure I am in top condition for New York City," Lampard, who trained with City for the first time on Wednesday, said."It has been an amazing few days for me since the unveiling in Brooklyn and everyone connected with both clubs has been fantastic to me. This is a new chapter of my career and I'm really excited about the experience."I met (City manager) Manuel Pellegrini and some of the players in New York and I'm looking forward to getting into training and making a contribution for Manchester City ahead of my move over to New York."The move was welcomed by New York City FC sporting director Claudio Reyna.
"This is the perfect opportunity for Frank. He is in great shape following the World Cup, and training and playing with our colleagues in Manchester will enable Frank to be fit and ready for our inaugural training camp," he said.Lampard, who scored a record 211 goals in all competitions for Chelsea, will be available for City's opening game of the season against Newcastle United and could feature against FA Cup winners Arsenal in next week's season-opening Community Shield.
5) Man Utd left in pole position to land Angel Di Maria as PSG withdraw interest:
MANCHESTER UNITED have been handed a massive boost after Paris Saint-Germain pulled out of a deal for Real Madrid winger Angel Di MariaReports yesterday suggested that Real were keen to push through a deal for Di Maria so they could look to bring in other targets, namely Monaco's Radamel Falcao.But PSG continue to have their hands tied by Financial Fair Play restrictions.
While the French club had proposed an initial loan move and also looked closely at trying to offload Edinson Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi or Javier Pastore it seems that a stalemate has now been reached.
PSG president Nasser Al Khelaifi said: "We discussed Angel di Maria with Real Madrid. He was very expensive and we have stopped discussions."Monaco could now step into the void to try and land Di Maria, with the possibility that Falcao could head the other way in a straight swap deal.
But with Monaco denying that the Colombian striker will leave this summer, United could be left as the last man standing in the race for Di Maria.
Reports yesterday suggested that the Red Devils were preparing to up their wage offer to £120,000-a-week to entice Di Maria to England.And it now seems that a deal really could be in the offing following PSG's withdrawal.
Book of The Week:
The Sandcastle Girls:By Chris Bohjalian
Over the course of his career, New York Times bestselling novelist Chris Bohjalian has taken readers on a spectacular array of journeys. Midwives brought us to an isolated Vermont farmhouse on an icy winter’s night and a home birth gone tragically wrong. The Double Bind perfectly conjured the Roaring Twenties on Long Island—and a young social worker’s descent into madness. And Skeletons at the Feast chronicled the last six months of World War Two in Poland and Germany with nail-biting authenticity. As The Washington Post Book World has noted, Bohjalian writes “the sorts of books people stay awake all night to finish.”
In his fifteenth book, The Sandcastle Girls, he brings us on a very different kind of journey. This spellbinding tale travels between Aleppo, Syria, in 1915 and Bronxville, New York, in 2012—a sweeping historical love story steeped in the author’s Armenian heritage, making it his most personal novel to date.
When Elizabeth Endicott arrives in Syria, she has a diploma from Mount Holyoke College, a crash course in nursing, and only the most basic grasp of the Armenian language. The First World War is spreading across Europe, and she has volunteered on behalf of the Boston-based Friends of Armenia to deliver food and medical aid to refugees of the Armenian genocide. There, Elizabeth becomes friendly with Armen, a young Armenian engineer who has already lost his wife and infant daughter. When Armen leaves Aleppo to join the British Army in Egypt, he begins to write Elizabeth letters, and comes to realize that he has fallen in love with the wealthy, young American woman who is so different from the wife he lost.Flash forward to the present, where we meet Laura Petrosian, a novelist living in suburban New York. Although her grandparents’ ornate Pelham home was affectionately nicknamed the “Ottoman Annex,” Laura has never really given her Armenian heritage much thought. But when an old friend calls, claiming to have seen a newspaper photo of Laura’s grandmother promoting an exhibit at a Boston museum, Laura embarks on a journey back through her family’s history that reveals love, loss—and a wrenching secret that has been buried for generations.
Chris Bohjalian :
Chris Bohjalian graduated from Amherst College, where he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. In the mid-1980s, he worked as an account representative for J. Walter Thompson, an ad agency, in New York.After a threatening incident in town, he moved with his wife to Lincoln, Vermont, in 1987.
In Lincoln, Bohjalian began writing weekly columns for local newspaper and magazine about living in the small town, which had a population of about 975 residents. The column has run in the Burlington Free Press since 1992. Bohjalian has also written for such magazines as Cosmopolitan, Reader's Digest, The New York TImes, and the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine.
Bohjalian's first novel, A Killing in the Real World, was released in 1988. His third novel, Past the Bleachers, was released in 1992 and was adapted to a Hallmark Channel television movie in 1995.
In 1998, Bohjalian wrote his fifth book, Midwives, a novel focusing on rural Vermont midwife Sibyl Danforth, who becomes embroiled in a legal battle after one of her patients died following an emergency Caesarean section. The novel was critically acclaimed and was selected by Oprah Winfrey as the October 1998 selection of her Oprah's Book Club, which helped push the book to great financial success. It became a New York Times and USA Today bestsellers. In 2001, the novel was adapted into a Lifetime Movie Network television film starring Sissy Spacek in the lead role. Spacek said the Danforth character appealed to her because "the heart of the story is my character's inner struggle with self-doubt, the solo road you travel when you have a secret.