Science News This Week:
1) World’s largest dinosaur discovered:
Gigantic herbivore takes title for heaviest land animal.A newly discovered dinosaur species makes Tyrannosaurus rex look like a munchkin. The towering behemoth, which stretched a bit longer than a 25-meter swimming pool and as tall as a two-story building, weighed about 59,000 kilograms — more than seven T. rexes. And the animal was still growing, researchers report September 4 in Scientific Reports.
Though the creature dined on plants, its brute size and burly tail made it more formidable than any meat eater. It may have even lived up to its name. Dubbed Dreadnoughtus schrani by its discoverers, paleontologist Kenneth Lacovara of Drexel University in Philadelphia and colleagues, the animal’s genus name comes from Old English for “fear nothing.”
Dreadnoughtus lived 66 million to 84 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous period, in what is now Argentina. It is the largest land animal reported to date. Researchers have dug up other massive dinosaurs before, but those animals’ fragmentary remains made their sizes hard to estimate.
2) Source of coffee’s kick found in its genetic code:
Caffeine genes evolved at least twice in plants. Coffee’s caffeine jolt evolved independently from that of tea and chocolate, a genetic analysis of the popular bean reveals.
Researchers deciphered the genome of Coffea canephora, the second-most cultivated species of coffee and a parent of C. arabica, the source of the world’s best-selling cup of joe. Within C. canephora’s 11 chromosome pairs, the team found many duplicated genes, including ones that produce caffeine. Such duplications may let organisms make more of those genes’ products and evolve new or better-functioning proteins.
Unlike the genes that encode caffeine-synthesizing enzymes in tea and cacao plants, which are closely related, coffee’s caffeine genes are in a distinct group, the researchers report in the Sept. 5 Science. That finding indicates that caffeine production evolved at least twice.
Caffeine synthesis gave coffee grounds for evolutionary success, the researchers say. The eye-opening chemical fends off insect pests in leaves; in fruit and seeds, it delays other plant species’ germination.
3) Magnetic nanocubes self-assemble into helical superstructures:
Materials made from nanoparticles hold promise for myriad applications, from improved solar energy production to perfect touch screens. The challenge in creating these wonder-materials is organizing the nanoparticles into orderly arrangements.
Nanoparticles of magnetite, the most abundant magnetic material on earth, are found in living organisms from bacteria to birds. Nanocrystals of magnetite self-assemble into fine compass needles in the organism that help it to navigate.
Collaborating with nanochemists led by Rafal Klajn at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, who found that magnetite nanocubes can self-assemble into helical superstructures under certain conditions, University of Illinois at Chicago theoretical chemist Petr Kral and his students simulated the phenomenon and explained the conditions under which it can occur. The joint study is online in Science Express in advance of print in the Sept. 5 issue of Science.The Weizmann researchers dissolved the nanocrystals and exposed the solution to an external magnetic field. As the solution evaporated, helical chains of nanoparticles formed. Surprisingly, the spiral helices were chiral -- that is, either left- or right-handed -- despite the fact that the nanoparticles themselves are not chiral. Densely packed assemblies of helices tended to adopt the same handedness.
Kral's UIC team modeled the self-assembly to determine how helices formed in their collaborators' experiments -- and why the helices had chirality.
They found that the self-assembly into chiral helices is the result of the competing forces acting on them -- Zeeman force from the external magnetic field, dipole-dipole magnetic force, magneto-anisotropic directional force, weakly attractive van der Waals forces, and others. The chemistry of the nanoparticle ligands, the solvent, and temperature may also play a role.
In the presence of an external magnetic field, the superparamagnetic nanocubes -- which are randomly magnetic and can flip with temperature changes -- became tiny magnets with different symmetries of the competing forces acting between them. As a result, when two cubes are face-to-face, they tend to tilt with respect to each other, forming a small angle to the right or left -- the seed of a chiral helix, as more nanocubes line up with the first two.Kral's analysis used a Monte Carlo computer algorithm, which relies on repeated random sampling, running simulations many times over."We had to write a new, efficient Monte Carlo computer code describing all the necessary terms, all the values, and then explain how the highly unusual behavior that Klajn observed -- the helices' self-assembly -- happens," Kral said.Gurvinder Singh of the Weizmann Institute is first author of the paper. Elijah Gelman of the Weizmann Institute, and Henry Chan, Artem Baskin and Nikita Repnin of UIC are co-authors on the study.
4) Artificial cells take their first steps: Movable cytoskeleton membrane fabricated for first time:
Using only a few ingredients, the biophysicist Prof. Andreas Bausch and his team at the Technische Universität München (TUM) have successfully implemented a minimalistic model of the cell that can change its shape and move on its own. They describe how they turned this goal into reality in the current edition of the journal Science, where their research is featured as cover story.
Cells are complex objects with a sophisticated metabolic system. Their evolutionary ancestors, the primordial cells, were merely composed of a membrane and a few molecules. These were minimalistic yet perfectly functioning systems.Thus, "back to the origins of the cell" became the motto of the group of TUM-Prof. Andreas Bausch, who is member of the cluster of excellence "Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM)" and his international partners. Their dream is to create a simple cell model with a specific function using a few basic ingredients. In this sense they are following the principle of synthetic biology in which individual cellular building blocks are assembled to create artificial biological systems with new characteristics.
The vision of the biophysicists was to create a cell-like model with a biomechanical function. It should be able to move and change its shape without external influences. They explain how they achieved this goal in their latest publication in Science.
The magic ball
The biophysicists' model comprises a membrane shell, two different kinds of biomolecules and some kind of fuel. The envelope, also known as a vesicle, is made of a double-layered lipid membrane, analogous of natural cell membranes. The scientists filled the vesicals with microtubules, tube-shaped components of the cytoskeleton, and kinesin molecules. In cells, kinesins normally function as molecular motors that transport cellular building blocks along the microtubules. In the experiment, these motors permanently push the tubules alongside each other. For this, kinesins require the energy carrier ATP, which was also available in the experimental setup.From a physical perspective, the microtubules form a two-dimensional liquid crystal under the membrane, which is in a permanent state of motion. "One can picture the liquid crystal layer as tree logs drifting on the surface of a lake," explains Felix Keber, lead author of the study. "When it becomes too congested, they line up in parallel but can still drift alongside each other."
Decisive for the deformation of the artificial cell construction is that, even in its state of rest, the liquid crystal must always contain faults. Mathematicians explain these kinds of phenomena by way of the Poincaré-Hopf theorem, figuratively also referred to as the "hairy ball problem." Just as one can't comb a hairy ball flat without creating a cowlick, there will always be some microtubules that cannot lay flat against the membrane surface in a regular pattern. At certain locations the tubules will be oriented somewhat orthogonally to each other -- in a very specific geometry. Since the microtubules in the case of the Munich researchers are in constant motion alongside each other due to the activity of the kinesin molecules, the faults also migrate. Amazingly, they do this in a very uniform and periodic manner, oscillating between two fixed orientations.
As long as the vesicle has a spherical shape, the faults have no influence on the external shape of the membrane. However, as soon as water is removed through osmosis, the vesicle starts to change in shape due to the movement within the membrane. As the vesicle loses ever more water, slack in the membrane forms into spiked extensions like those used by single cells for locomotion.In this process, a fascinating variety of shapes and dynamics come to light. What seems random at first sight is, in fact, following the laws of physics. This is how the international scientists succeeded in deciphering a number of basic principles like the periodic behavior of the vesicles. These principles, in turn, serve as a basis for making predictions in other systems.
"With our synthetic biomolecular model we have created a novel option for developing minimal cell models," explains Bausch. "It is ideally suited to increasing the complexity in a modular fashion in order to reconstruct cellular processes like cell migration or cell division in a controlled manner. That the artificially created system can be comprehensively described from a physical perspective gives us hope that in the next steps we will also be able to uncover the basic principles behind the manifold cell deformations."
5) Subatomic particles give glimpse into sun’s core:
First neutrinos detected from main energy source that powers our star. To peer into the heart of the sun, a 13.7-meter-wide stainless steel shell lined with over 2,200 light-gathering sensors hides deep under a mountain in central Italy. Known as the Borexino experiment, it watches for flashes of light from neutrinos, ghostly subatomic particles shot out of the sun’s core.
After seven years of searching, Borexino scientists report in the Aug. 28 Nature that the detector has for the first time caught a glimpse of the neutrinos cast out of the sun’s main nuclear reaction.The sun supports itself by transforming hydrogen into helium. Neutrinos are one by-product of this alchemy. These particles have so little mass, they barely exist at all; roughly 10 billion trillion pass through the Earth every second without touching a single atom.To spot such elusive prey, Borexino’s sensors surround a vat filled with 300 tons of a liquid hydrocarbon. Occasionally, a neutrino slams into an electron within the liquid and generates a flash of light. By recording the rate of detections and how much energy is in each burst, researchers can identify the source of the neutrinos.
Borexino has detected solar neutrinos before, but these are the first from the simple fusion of two protons that leads to 99 percent of the sun’s energy. By watching neutrinos arrive from the sun, researchers can test ideas about what powers both our star and billions of others.
6) Metallic alloy is tough and ductile at cryogenic temperatures:
New concept in metallic alloy design -- called "high‐entropy alloys" -- has yielded a multiple-element material that not only tests out as one of the toughest on record, but, unlike most materials, the toughness as well as the strength and ductility of this alloy actually improves at cryogenic temperatures. This multi-element alloy was synthesized and tested through a collaboration of researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley and Oak Ridge National Laboratories (Berkeley Lab and ORNL)."We examined CrMnFeCoNi, a high‐entropy alloy that contains five major elements rather than one dominant one," says Robert Ritchie, a materials scientist with Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division. "Our tests showed that despite containing multiple elements with different crystal structures, this alloy crystalizes as a single phase, face‐centered cubic solid with exceptional damage tolerance, tensile strength above one gigapascal, and fracture toughness values that are off the charts, exceeding that of virtually all other metallic alloys."Ritchie is the corresponding author along with ORNL's Easo George of a paper in Science describing this research. The paper is titled "A fracture resistant high‐entropy alloy for cryogenic applications." Co-authors are Bernd Gludovatz, Anton Hohenwarter, DhirajCatoor and Edwin Chang.
The tradition of mixing two metals together to create an alloy that possesses properties its constituent elements individually lack goes back thousands of years. In the 4th millennium BC, people began adding tin, a hard metal, to copper, a soft and relatively easy to work metal, to produce bronze, an alloy much stronger than copper. It was later discovered that adding carbon to iron yields the much stronger steel, and the addition of nickel and chromium to the mix yields steel that resists corrosion. Traditional alloys invariably feature a single dominant constituent with minor elements mixed in, and often rely on the presence of a second phase for mechanical performance."High‐entropy alloys represent a radical departure from tradition," Ritchie says, "in that they do not derive their properties from a single dominant constituent or from a second phase. The idea behind this concept is that configurational entropy increases with the number of alloying elements, counteracting the propensity for compound formation and stabilizing these alloys into a single phase like a pure metal."Although high‐entropy alloys have been around for more than a decade, it has only been recently that the quality of these alloys has been sufficient for scientific study. George and his research group at ORNL combined high‐purity elemental starting materials with an arc-melting and drop-casting process to produce high quality samples of CrMnFeCoNi (chromium, manganese, iron, cobalt and nickel) in sheets roughly 10 millimeters thick. After characterizing these samples for tensile properties and microstructure, the ORNL team sent them to Ritchie and his research group for fracture and toughness characterization.
Ritchie, who holds the H. T. and Jessie Chua Distinguished Professor of Engineering chair at the University of California (UC) Berkeley, is an internationally recognized authority on the mechanical behavior of materials."As high entropy alloys are single phase, we reasoned that they would be ideal for cryogenic applications, such as storage tanks for liquefied natural gas, hydrogen and oxygen," he says. "Our work is the first in-depth study that characterizes the fracture toughness properties of this class of alloys, and lo and behold, they are spectacular!"Tensile strengths and fracture toughness values were measured for CrMnFeCoNi from room temperature down to 77 Kelvin, the temperature of liquid nitrogen. The values recorded were among the highest reported for any material. That these values increased along with ductility at cryogenic temperatures is a huge departure from the vast majority of metallic alloys, which lose ductility and become more brittle at lower temperatures. Ritchie and George believe that the key to CrMnFeCoN's remarkable cryogenic strength, ductility and toughness is a phenomenon known as "nano-twinning," in which during deformation, the atomic arrangements in adjacent crystalline regions form mirror images of one another."These nano-twins are created when the material undergoes plastic deformation at cryogenic temperatures," Ritchie says. "This represents a mechanism of plasticity in addition to the planar-slip dislocation activity most metals undergo at ambient temperatures. The result of nano-twinning deformation is a continuous strain hardening, which acts to suppress the localized deformation that causes premature failure."
Movies Release This Week:
As he eases into adulthood at the age of forty, Conrad Valmont (Jason Bateman), the over-educated, under-employed heir to the Valmont Hotel fortune, is cut off from his allowance following his parents’ abrupt divorce and tossed out into the unforgiving streets of the Upper West Side. Luckily, he is taken in by his old friend Dylan (Billy Crudup), and returns the favor by immediately falling for Dylan’s girlfriend Beatrice (Olivia Wilde). As Conrad attempts to woo Beatrice while keeping both their relationship and his bank balance secret, Dylan tries to set him up with Jocelyn (Jenny Slate). Ever committed to the charade that he eventually finds difficult to maintain, Conrad quickly realizes his charm can only extend so far into debt. Now deep into an extensional reflection, will it take losing everything to make Conrad realize what he can truly become?
Helen is a nonconformist teenage girl who maintains a conflictual relationship with her parents. Hanging out most of her time with her friend Corinna, with whom she breaks one social taboo after another, she uses sex as a way to rebel and break the conventional bourgeois ethic. After an intimate shaving accident, Helen ends up in the hospital where it doesn’t take long before she makes waves. But there she finds Robin, a male nurse who will sweep her off her feet...
Thunder, an abandoned young cat seeking shelter from a storm, stumbles into the strangest house imaginable, owned by an old magician and inhabited by a dazzling array of automatons and gizmos. Not everyone welcomes the new addition to the troupe as Jack Rabbit and Maggie Mouse plot to evict Thunder. The situation gets worse when the magician lands in hospital and his scheming nephew sees his chance to cash in by selling the mansion. Our young hero is determined to earn his place and so he enlists the help of some wacky magician's assistants to protect his magical new home.
In the vein of Traffic and Babel, Frontera is set in the dangerous area between the United States and Mexico. After crossing the border illegally for work, Miguel (Michael Pena), a hard-working father and devoted husband, finds himself wrongfully accused of murdering a former sheriff’s (Ed Harris) wife. After learning of his imprisonment, Miguel’s pregnant wife (Eva Longoria) tries to come to his aid and lands in the hands of corrupt coyotes who hold her for ransom. Dissatisfied with the police department’s investigation, the former sheriff tries to uncover the truth about his wife’s death and discovers disturbing evidence that will destroy one family’s future, or tear another’s apart.
Haunted by the death and dreams of her beloved mother in a Montauk surfing accident, 16 year old Beckett and her father, novelist Miles Warner, move to Manhattan and attempt to piece together their shattered life. Now enrolled at the exclusive Hamilton preparatory school, her psychosis and hallucinations intensify with the dubious suicides of current and past students as does her first love for Tobey Crawford. The discovery that her new school may be run by a coven of beautiful and seductive women who perpetuate their youth by drinking the blood of virgins becomes the ultimate challenge of Beckett and Tobey's young lives.
Mary Kom (2014):
A chronicle of the life of Indian boxer Mary Kom, who went through several hardships before audaciously accomplishing her ultimate dream. 5 Times Women world champion and Bronze medal in recent Olympic Games from India.
The movie begins in earnest by showing an incident that builds her interest in self-defence before showing her first interaction with a boxing gymnasium and coach and her entry into boxing. The movie then tells the story of her initial training, her struggle with a new sport, her immense dedication and will, her passion, while at the same time showing the immense struggle of balancing the needs of home and boxing and the additional sacrifices that she had to make to pay for her classes and equipment, all in the context of the poverty that was a constant in her early life.
The script builds up to the reasons for Mary’s first unsanctioned fight and the immense odds that she faces against a fancied opponent to win some money for her family. The script then engages with Mary’s relationship with the officialdom of the boxing federation and weaves in the challenges of that relationship into her burgeoning professional career in the larger context of Onler’s proposal and her decision to marry him and then giving birth to twins. Mary is shown balancing the demands of her training with the demands of her young children and how the balance is made possible by the unending attention of Onler, who learns to take care of the children under Mary’s supervision.
The story shows how the country writes her off and the pressures on her and her family to have her quit. And then it is shown how she makes a comeback and wins accolades, along with taking care of family and children.
Political News This Week:
1) Kashmiri migrants' rehab: Rajnath writes to Omar seeking land:
The Centre on Friday asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to identify “suitable land” for the rehabilitation of some 3 lakh Kashmiri Pandits who migrated from the KashmirValley in the early 1990s due to militancy.
The Narendra Modi government has committed itself to the return of some 62,000 Kashmiri Pandit families with “full dignity” to their homes in the Valley and has earmarked Rs 500 crore for this in the 2014-15 Union budget.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh wrote to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for allocation of “suitable” land for creating dwelling units for these families under the government’s plan for implementation of the rehabilitation scheme for migrants.Singh suggested that the land may be identified near the native place from where they migrated and also advised that this should be done in such a manner there was adequate security in and around the area.At present, there are about 62,000 registered Kashmiri migrant families who migrated from the KashmirValley to either Jammu, Delhi or to other parts of the country after the onset of militancy in the border state.
Singh’s missive came ahead of the state assembly elections likely to be held in November-December this year for which Bharatiya Janata Party has declared its intention to seek a majority in the 87-member legislature, a target not easy to achieve.Political parties in Kashmir and even separatist groups have favoured return of the Pandits but are strongly opposed to creation of separate colonies for them. The home minister, in his letter, said the Union government is “committed to facilitate the return of the Kashmiri migrants to the Valley and their proper rehabilitation”.Singh said in order to achieve these goals, the Centre has already earmarked a sum of Rs 500 crore which was announced during the presentation of the new government’s first budget.
2) Top 15 quotes from PM's Teachers' Day speech:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday delivered his Teachers' Day address at the Manekshaw Centre in New Delhi with about 700 school children in the audience. Here are some of his most interesting quotes.
1. I feel blessed I can address students who are the future of India.
2. We must acknowledge the importance of teachers to the society.
3. Until teachers get their due it is difficult to bring about a change.
4. We must question why the smartest students don’t choose to become teachers.
5. When I went to a school in Japan, they told me that both the teachers and students perform cleaning tasks here to keep the schools clean. I wondered why can't we do it in India.
6. As students I am sure you have several dreams. If you are determined to move ahead nothing can stop you. Our youth are talented.
7. India is a youthful nation. Can’t we think of exporting good teachers?
8. It’ easy to find information on Google guru but that’s not equal to gaining knowledge.
9. Both teachers and students must move ahead together for the nation to progress.
10. If you are determined nothing can stop you from determining your dreams.
11. If you education is not enough, experience will teach you lessons.
12. One should play and sweat. Life shouldn't be bogged down by books.
13. Importance of technology is increasing every day, we must not deprive our children of technology, if we do then it's a social crime.
14. Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan served this country well, he did not celebrate his birthday, he celebrated it for teachers.
15. We want to make nation-building a people's movement.
3) IAF rescues 14 trapped in flash floods in Jammu:
The Indian Air Force on Friday pressed its choppers into service and rescued 14 people caught in flash-floods in Jammu district. After the authorities alerted IAF, rescue operations were launched by pressing MI-17 chopper into service under the command of Wing Commander Anoop Sharma and carried out difficult evacuation in Akhnoor belt on Friday morning, a Defence spokesman said.
They rescued 14 people, including 3 children and as many women caught in flash-floods in river Chenab in Patyari belt and flew them after a half-hour long difficult operation to an air force station here, he said.
For the past two days, nearly 250 people have been rescued by various teams of the army and IAF from flash-floods in the Jammu region.
4) Australian PM to sign uranium deal with India on Friday:
Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Friday said he will sign an agreement with India to sell uranium for non-weapon use. “Prime Minister Modi and I will today sign a nuclear cooperation agreement that will finally allow Australian uranium to India,” he said while addressing a meeting, organised by industry chambers including CII and Ficci.
Abbott, who arrived on Friday morning, was given a ceremonial reception in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan. Besides meeting Modi, Abbott is scheduled to call on President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari. He arrived in Mumbai on Thursday amid expectations that the two countries will ink the nuclear deal and initiate steps to deepen strategic ties and strengthen two-way trade and commerce.
The efforts to sign civil nuclear deal have been underway since 2012 after Labour party in Australia reversed its decision to ban the sale of uranium to India because of New Delhi not being a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. “I am hoping to sign a nuclear co-operation agreement that will enable uranium sales by Australia to India,” Abbott had told his Parliament on the eve of his visit to India.He had said that if Australia was prepared to sell uranium to Russia then “surely we ought to be prepared to provide uranium to India under suitable safeguards”, noting it was a “fully functioning democracy with the rule of law”.
India is not a signatory to the NPT, but Abbott has stressed that Australia would ensure adequate bilateral safeguards before any deal was signed.After the failure to conclude a civil nuclear deal with Japan during Modi’s visit to that country, the pact with Australia -- which has about a third of the world’s recoverable uranium resources and exports nearly 7,000 tonnes of it a year -- would boost India’s energy sector.
5) Will recuse myself from coal scam probe if SC orders so: CBI chief:
Under attack for allegedly meeting officials of companies accused in 2G scam, Central Bureau of Investigation Director Ranjit Sinha on Thursday said that he would recuse himself from the ongoing probe in Coal scam if the Supreme Court ordered so.
His reaction comes within hours of an NGO filing an application before the apex court demanding that he be kept away from the coal block allocation scam probe because he interfered with it.The application filed by NGO -- Common Cause -- referred to a document showing ingress and egress into his official residence which contains names of "influential" persons allegedly involved in the coalgate scam."I will recuse myself from coal scam investigations if Supreme Court orders so," Sinha told reporters.
At the fag end of his career, Sinha has been in controversy lately because of a register which purportedly shows entry to his residence of personnel working with companies accused in 2G and coalgate scams.Interestingly, Moin Qureshi, a meat exporter, against whom the Income tax department has launched a probe for alleged tax evasion, is also shown as having had frequent meetings with him.However, the Director said he was his friend and there was no criminal investigations pending against him.
Terming it as "deliberate character assassination", Sinha claimed that he has not favoured anyone and the courts are there to scrutinise every paper and every aspect of investigations being carried out by the agency.
6) Massive cache of explosives recovered at Guwahati bus stand:
Security forces on Thursday recovered a massive quantity of explosives including gelatin sticks, detonators and fuse wire from two places in the state.The Assam police recovered as many as 90 gelatin sticks, 100 packets of detonators inside an abandoned bag at Machkhowa bus terminus of Assam State Transport Corporation in Guwahati. The police picked up five persons for interrogation following the recovery of explosives.
In another such haul of explosives, the Government Railway Police personnel recovered three bags full of explosive from Lower Haflong Railway station in Haflong town in troubled Dima Hasao hill district of Assam. The bags containing explosive materials were found lying unattended on the platform after the Up Silchar-Lumding Cachar Express left the station past midnight.
The GRP personnel recovered 150 gelatin sticks, 600 detonators and over 30 feet of fuse wires from these abandoned bags. The in-charge of GRP personnel at Lower Haflong station said that investigation was on to find of the source and destination of these recovered substances.It is suspected that the explosives were dumped on the platform by the carriers to avoid detection while GRP personnel were carrying out routine checks inside coaches of the Cachar Express after it had reached Lower Haflong station.Security measures in Guwahati have been tightened up after apprehensions that anti-national elements might target the city.He said that corporate rivalry was well known in this country and unfortunately this time they were trying to engulf the CBI by carrying out malicious campaign against him.Another NGO -- Centre for Public Interest Litigation -- had stated in the Supreme Court that a visitor register of his residence showed that officials of the accused telecom companies used to regularly frequent his residence.However, the Director contended that all the 2G scam cases were probed before he took over as Director on December 2, 2012. His tenure ends in December this year
7) Actress goes from national award winner to prostitution:
Shweta Basu Prasad, the 11-year-old lead actor in Vishal Bhardwaj’s 2002 film Makdee --- a performance that won her the National Film Award for Best Child Artist -- was arrested on Sunday after the police caught her in a prostitution racket at a Hyderabad hotel.
The 23-year-old actress was caught in a compromising position, when the police raided a plush hotel at Hyderabad’s Banjara Hills. The actress was held along with a pimp and several high-profile businessmen, according to media reports.
A senior police official from Banjara Hills police station said, “Shweta Prasad was arrested on Sunday, and has been sent to a government rehabilitation home. She will be in remand for some time now. The chargesheet will be filed within the next 10 days.”
She underwent a medical test before being lodged in a rescue home run by the Woman and Child Welfare department.
Shweta reasoned for getting into sex racket, “I have made wrong choices in my career and I was out of money. I had to support my family and some other good causes. All doors were closed and some people encouraged me to get into prostitution to earn money. I was helpless and with no option left to choose (from), I got involved in this. I’m not the only one who faced this problem and there are several other heroines who have gone through this phase”.
After Makdee, she featured in Hindi films and television soaps, including Nagesh Kukunoor's Iqbal and Ekta Kapoor's Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki. She then moved to Hyderabad to work in Telugu films.
8) The man who warned Mamata about Saradha:
The Central Bureau of Investigation has stepped up its probe into West Bengal's Saradha scam in the last few weeks.
CBI will soon question two Trinamool Members of Parliament and a West Bengal minister.
According to these sources, the CBI may also grill some prominent civil servants about their lack of promptness in dealing with the Saradha scam.
The central government, the sources add, sent several letters about the Sudipta Sen-led Saradha Group of Industries to the West Bengal government and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
So why did the state government fail to react?
Retired Indian Police Service officer Nazrul Islam has the answer.Islam wrote to the state government in July 2012 about the suspicious nature of dealings carried out by the Saradha group and some other firms.Islam recently got in touch with CBI officers in Kolkata and handed over a copy of his 2012 letter. Once close to the chief minister, Islam fell out of favour after he started questioning her 'high-handedness' around 2011-2012.
There was a controversy over one of Islam's books, Musalmander Koronio (What Muslims should do) in August 2012 when its publisher alleged that the police had ransacked its premises in search of copies of the book.
The police also reportedly 'ordered' the publisher not to reprint the book.
Sports News This Week:
1) Federer pulls off great escape to reach semi-finals:
Roger Federer pulled off a great escape by fighting off two match points to beat Frenchman Gael Monfils and reach the semi-finals of the U.S. Open on Thursday, keeping his bid for an 18th grand slam on track.
The stirring 4-6 3-6 6-4 7-5 6-2 comeback win marks the ninth time in his career Federer has rallied from two sets down to snatch victory, setting up a final-four meeting with 14th seed Marin Cilic.
Sixth seeded Tomas Berdych had no chance of conjuring a similar escape and lost 6-2 6-4 7-6(4) to big-serving Croat Cilic, who is making his return to Flushing Meadows after missing last year's grand slam due to a doping suspension.
Federer, a near perfect 25-1 playing under the floodlights of Arthur Ashe Stadium court, must have wondered which Monfils would show up on Thursday.
Labeled one of the game's great natural talents, Monfils can be wildly entertaining or maddening, depending on his mood and the near capacity crowd saw both sides of the 28-year-old Frenchman during a riveting the three hour, 20 minute encounter.
Monfils added several highlight reel shots to his collection in winning the first two sets, and after Federer won the third he carved out two match points in the fourth.
But with Federer on the ropes the 20th seeded Frenchman could not deliver the knockout punch."When I was down two match points, I wasn’t feeling so great ... I thought 'this is it, this is the last point, man," said Federer. "Just go down fighting, don’t miss an easy shot and let him have it."Misfiring most of the night, Federer slowly began to find his mark and seized his chance when it arrived, holding serve for 5-5 to close out the fourth set and then breaking Monfils in the first game of the fifth."It was one of those moments where you got the back against the wall and hope to get a bit lucky and you hope to play exactly the right shots that you need or that he completely just messes it up," said the 33-year-old Swiss."Either way works as long as you get out of it."It's just unbelievable to win matches like this at slams."I'm not sure I have ever saved match point before in a slam. If that hasn't happened, I'm unbelievably happy that it was today."
2) Hingis after more grand slam hardware at U.S. Open:
Martina Hingis is already enshrined in the Tennis Hall of Fame, but the 33-year-old Swiss is zeroing in on more grand slam hardware at the U.S. Open.Hingis, winner of five grand slam singles titles, nine doubles crowns and one mixed doubles title, and partner Flavia Pennetta of Italy booked a berth in the women's doubles final on Saturday against Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina."I'm enjoying every second to be out there," said Hingis after the unseeded duo posted a 6-2 6-4 victory over third seeds Cara Black of Zimbabwe and Sania Mirza of India in Thursday's semi-finals.Fourth seeds Makarova and Vesnina advanced in straight sets 7-5 6-3 over Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan and Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.Hingis has twice retired from tennis, first from foot and ankle injuries in 2003, then after a two-year ban imposed on her after a positive doping test at Wimbledon for cocaine in 2006.
The Swiss player stayed involved in the game through World Team Tennis and exhibition events, and teamed up with Pennetta at Eastbourne where they beat Makarova and Vesnina in their first match together."We have to come out with our best," said Hingis about a return engagement against the Russians in Flushing Meadows. "I mean, if they beat us, too good. If it's not gonna be enough, even better."Hingis has clearly not lost her competitive drive and helped send the Washington Kastles to their fourth straight World Team Tennis title in July."It's a great preparation," said Hingis. "Any title is a great title to have, whether it's Team Tennis title, a grand slam or being number one. It's always another stepping stone in a career, and now we're here in the final. I'm really happy."Former world number one Hingis's last slam title was hoisted at the 2006 Australian Open in mixed doubles with partner Mahesh Bhupathi of India.Contending again is a thrill.
"It means a lot to me," said the Swiss, who won a doubles title at the U.S. Open while in partnership with Jana Novotna.
"I only won one title here in doubles. That was a while back in '98. I made some good matches, some great memories, but it's been a while."Hingis tried some other combinations before joining forces with Pennetta, whose regular partner, Gisele Dulko, had retired."With Flavia I feel really comfortable being out there. I think that's the key to success," she said.Hingis said she prefers to play at the net and leave Pannetta to patrol the baseline."Definitely she's very powerful obviously from the baseline. As long as I'm at the net I feel comfortable. That's my time to do things," said Hingis."I think we just really click together at this moment even better than any other tournaments that we played together."Pennetta was asked how well they communicate on the court."I talk with her more in Spanish than in Italian because her boyfriend is from Spain," said Pennetta, before Hingis blushed and gave her a slap on the shoulder to quiet her.Privileged information between partners.
3) England's worst home loss in 28 years:
7 Number times in the last seven English summers that the team winning the Test series lost the ODI series. Before India this summer, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia split the ODI and Test honours with England, twice each, over the last six seasons.
34 Number of Indian players who have scored a century in ODIs. Ajinkya Rahane was the 34th. The only countries with more centurions are Australia (39) and England (37). However, Indians have scored 217 centuries in ODI cricket; the Australians are second with 179.
183 India's opening partnership today was their highest in England and the fourth highest outside the subcontinent. During the Test series, India's opening partnership produced 219 runs from 10 innings, and only 137 from eight innings in the last four Tests.
18 Number of 50-plus opening stands for India in England, their most in any country other than home. India have an equal number in UAE, 17 of those in Sharjah alone. The 183 that the openers put together today was India's first 50-plus partnership on this tour to England, including the Tests. In ODIs India's openers have averaged 65.30 in England over the last six years, posting three century and five fifty stands in 13 innings.
3 Number of times that India have beaten England at Edgbaston. England have beaten India only once at this venue. India's win percentage of 75 at Edgbaston is their best at any English venue where they have played more than one ODI. The other English venues where India have won more ODIs than they have lost are Trent Bridge and Lord's.
5 Number of times that England have lost their first three wickets for 25 runs or fewer against India. They were 23 for 3 today, having lost Alex Hales, Alastair Cook and Gary Balance. The last time this happened was in Jaipur in 2006.
85 Number of catches Raina has taken in ODIs. He took two today to equal Anil Kumble and go seventh on the list of Indian fielders with the most catches in ODIs. Mohammad Azharuddin, with 156 catches, is the leading Indian, while Mahela Jayawardene holds the overall record - 206 catches.
26 Number of wickets Mohammed Shami has taken this year. He took three today and is now the second highest wicket taker in 2014, with Lasith Malinga leading the list with 29. Three of the top four ODI wicket-takers in 2014 are Sri Lankan, with Shami being the only exception.
4) Di Maria helps Argentina spoil Germany's World Cup party:
Argentina and Angel di Maria rained on Germany's homecoming parade, as the defeated World Cup finalists smashed their counterparts 4-2 in Dusseldorf.The 45,000-strong crowd paid tribute Wednesday to the retiring trio of Philipp Lahm, Per Mertesacker and Miroslav Klose, as Germany lined up for their first match since winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Joachim Löw's selection boasted just four starters from the final in Rio de Janeiro with Marco Reus and Mario Gomez returning from injuries that prevented them competing in Brazil.
Gerard Martino's first selection as Argentine head coach saw the omission of Lionel Messi, but retained seven starters from the final.Even without the widely acclaimed best player in the world, Manchester United's expensive new arrival Di Maria, smashing the British transfer record at 75 million euros, stepped up to the mark.
To complete the three goal in four minute salvo, Andre Schürrle pulled one back from a corner-kick, before Bayern Munich's Mario Götze added another goal against the South Americans in the 77th minute.
Germany's competitive action begins on Sunday evening when they welcome Scotland to Dortmund in the first qualifying match for a place at Euro 2016.
5) Marin Cilic dismantled an out-of-sorts Tomas Berdych in straight sets to reach the semi-finals of the US Open:
Cilic, the 14th seed, dominated on his own serve and was aided by a string of Berdych errors to win 6-2 6-4 7-6 (7-4) in two hours and four minutes.
The Croat, 25, into the last four of a major for the second time, now faces five-time champion Roger Federer.
Berdych, the sixth seed from the Czech Republic, said: "It was horrible from the beginning."
The 28-year-old had been broken only four times in the tournament prior to the quarter-finals, but struggled with the windy conditions to surrender his serve in the very first game of the match thanks to two double faults. A second break was immediately recouped, but when another double fault saw Berdych lose his serve once more, Cilic sealed the set with a third ace.
That would be a sign of things to come for Berdych, as the Cilic serve dominated the second set.
The world number 16, who missed last year's tournament because of a drugs ban, won all but one of the 17 points when he landed his first serve, capitalising on a solitary break earned in the opening game.Berdych looked to be mounting a fightback - earning a break early in the third - but was angered when the umpire rightly ruled he had failed to return a Cilic backhand before the ball bounced twice.
Book of This Week:
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Speaking to us with the wisdom of age and in a voice at once haunting and startlingly immediate, Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. It begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old girl with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. We witness her transformation as she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha: dance and music; wearing kimono, elaborate makeup, and hair; pouring sake to reveal just a touch of inner wrist; competing with a jealous rival for men's solicitude and the money that goes with it.
In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction—at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful—and completely unforgettable.
Arthur Golden Author
genreLiterature & Fiction, Historical Fiction
About this author
Arthur Golden was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and was educated at Harvard College, where he received a degree in art history, specializing in Japanese art. In 1980 he earned an M.A. in Japanese history from Columbia University, where he also learned Mandarin Chinese. Following a summer in Beijing University, he worked in Tokyo, and, after returning to the United States, earned an M.A. in English from Boston University. He resides in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children.