Science News This Week:
1) Octobot uses webbed arms to swim faster:
Fish in Mediterranean Sea follow alongside the robot. Webbed underarms can turn a sluggish robotic octopus into a speed demon.
A squishy membrane connecting the machine’s eight arms helps the bot scoot through water nearly twice as fast as octobots without webs, researchers reported at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems on September 15.Inspired by Octopus vulgaris, the well-known sea creature with arms connected by a fleshy, skirtlike mantle, computer scientist Dimitris Tsakiris and colleagues decided to give a makeover to the robotic octopus they had previously developed. The earlier, webless version could propel itself at up to 100 millimeters per second by slowly opening stiff plastic arms and then snapping them together.
But with arms and a web made of soft silicone, the shoe box–sized bot swam at up to 180 millimeters per second. The web helps the octobot generate more force, so it can push through water faster than using arms alone.Skittish sea animals seem unfrightened by the lifelike bot, said Tsakiris, of the Foundation for Research and Technology- Hellas in Heraklion, Greece. When researchers took the faux octopus for a swim in the Mediterranean, tiny fish tagged along.Tsakiris thinks biologists could use the robot to observe marine ecosystems. “We want to put a camera on it and see what we can do.” SPEEDY SWIMMER Adding a soft silicone web to a small robotic octopus helps the machine hit the gas. The first robot shown propels itself by snapping shut rigid plastic legs. The second bot uses flexible silicone legs and moves at about the same speed. The third robot zips along faster, using silicone arms and a web that helps it push through water.
2) Soft robotics 'toolkit' features everything a robot-maker needs:
A New resource unveiled today by researchers from several Harvard University labs in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin provides both experienced and aspiring researchers with the intellectual raw materials needed to design, build, and operate robots made from soft, flexible materials.With the advent of low-cost 3D printing, laser cutters, and other advances in manufacturing technology, soft robotics is emerging as an increasingly important field. Using principles drawn from conventional rigid robot design, but working with pliable materials, engineers are pioneering the use of soft robotics for assisting in a wide variety of tasks such as physical therapy, minimally invasive surgery, and search-and-rescue operations in dangerous environments.The Soft Robotics Toolkit is an online treasure trove of downloadable, open-source plans, how-to videos, and case studies to assist users in the design, fabrication, modeling, characterization, and control of soft robotic devices. It will provide researchers with a level of detail not typically found in academic research papers, including 3D models, bills of materials, raw experimental data, multimedia step-by-step tutorials, and case studies of various soft robot designs."The goal of the toolkit is to advance the field of soft robotics by allowing designers and researchers to build upon each other's work," says Conor Walsh, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and a Core Faculty Member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.
By creating a common resource for sharing design approaches, prototyping and fabrication techniques, and technical knowledge, the toolkit's developers hope to stimulate the creation of new kinds of soft devices, tools, and methods.
According to Walsh, who teaches a popular course in medical device design at SEAS and is founder of the Harvard Biodesign Lab, soft robotics is especially well suited to shared design tools because many of the required components, such as regulators, valves, and microcontrollers, are largely interchangeable between systems.Dónal Holland, a visiting lecturer in engineering sciences at SEAS and graduate student at Trinity College Dublin, is one of the lead developers of the toolkit and is especially interested in the toolkit's potential as an educational resource."One thing we've seen in design courses is that students greatly benefit from access to more experienced peers -- say, postdocs in a research lab -- who can guide them through their work," Holland says. "But scaling that up is difficult; you quickly run out of time and people. The toolkit is designed to capture the expertise and make it easily accessible to students."Just as open-source software has spurred far-flung innovation in computing, "open design" hardware platforms -- coupled with advances in computer-aided engineering and more accessible prototyping capabilities -- have the potential to foster remote collaboration on common mechanical engineering projects, unleashing crowdsourced creativity in robotics and other fields."Open design can have as disruptive an influence on technology development in this century as open source did in the last," says Gareth J. Bennett, assistant professor of mechanical and manufacturing engineering at Trinity College Dublin and a coauthor of a paper in Soft Robotics that describes the toolkit development. Additional coauthors are Evelyn J. Park '13, a SEAS research fellow in materials science and engineering, and Panagiotis Polygerinos, a postdoctoral fellow in the Harvard Biodesign Lab at SEAS and the Wyss Institute.
Much of the material included in the toolkit sprang from the labs of Robert J. Wood, Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at SEAS, and chemist George M. Whitesides, Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor, two researchers whose work has helped establish Harvard as a leader in soft robotics. Wood and Whitesides are also core faculty members of the Wyss Institute
3) Hadrosaur with huge nose discovered: Function of dinosaur's unusual trait a mystery:
ll it the Jimmy Durante of dinosaurs -- a newly discovered hadrosaur with a truly distinctive nasal profile. The new dinosaur, named Rhinorex condrupus by paleontologists from North Carolina State University and Brigham Young University, lived in what is now Utah approximately 75 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period.Rhinorex, which translates roughly into "King Nose," was a plant-eater and a close relative of other Cretaceous hadrosaurs like Parasaurolophus and Edmontosaurus. Hadrosaurs are usually identified by bony crests that extended from the skull, although Edmontosaurus doesn't have such a hard crest (paleontologists have discovered that it had a fleshy crest). Rhinorex also lacks a crest on the top of its head; instead, this new dinosaur has a huge nose.
Terry Gates, a joint postdoctoral researcher with NC State and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and colleague Rodney Sheetz from the Brigham Young Museum of Paleontology, came across the fossil in storage at BYU. First excavated in the 1990s from Utah's Neslen formation, Rhinorex had been studied primarily for its well-preserved skin impressions. When Gates and Sheetz reconstructed the skull, they realized that they had a new species."We had almost the entire skull, which was wonderful," Gates says, "but the preparation was very difficult. It took two years to dig the fossil out of the sandstone it was embedded in -- it was like digging a dinosaur skull out of a concrete driveway."Based on the recovered bones, Gates estimates that Rhinorex was about 30 feet long and weighed over 8,500 lbs. It lived in a swampy estuarial environment, about 50 miles from the coast. Rhinorex is the only complete hadrosaur fossil from the Neslen site, and it helps fill in some gaps about habitat segregation during the Late Cretaceous."We've found other hadrosaurs from the same time period but located about 200 miles farther south that are adapted to a different environment," Gates says. "This discovery gives us a geographic snapshot of the Cretaceous, and helps us place contemporary species in their correct time and place. Rhinorex also helps us further fill in the hadrosaur family tree."When asked how Rhinorex may have benefitted from a large nose Gates said, "The purpose of such a big nose is still a mystery. If this dinosaur is anything like its relatives then it likely did not have a super sense of smell; but maybe the nose was used as a means of attracting mates, recognizing members of its species, or even as a large attachment for a plant-smashing beak. We are already sniffing out answers to these questions."
4) The future face of molecular electronics:
The emerging field of molecular electronics could take our definition of portable to the next level, enabling the construction of tiny circuits from molecular components. In these highly efficient devices, individual molecules would take on the roles currently played by comparatively bulky wires, resistors and transistors. A team of researchers from five Japanese and Taiwanese universities has identified a potential candidate for use in small-scale electronics: a molecule called picene. In a paper published September 16 in The Journal of Chemical Physics, from AIP Publishing, they characterize the structural and electronic properties of a thin layer of picene on a silver surface, demonstrating the molecule's potential for electronic applications.
Picene's sister molecule, pentacene, has been widely studied because of its high carrier mobility -- its ability to quickly transmit electrons, a critical property for nanoscale electronics. But pentacene, made of five benzene molecules joined in a line, breaks down under normal environmental conditions.Enter picene, in which these same five benzene rings are instead bonded together in a W shape. This simple structural change alters some of the molecule's other properties: Picene retains pentacene's high carrier mobility, but is more chemically stable and therefore better suited to practical applications.
To test picene's properties when juxtaposed with a metal, as it would be in an electronic device, the researchers deposited a single layer of picene molecules onto a piece of silver. Then, they used scanning tunneling microscopy, an imaging technique that can visualize surfaces at the atomic level, to closely examine the interface between the picene and the silver.
Though previous studies had shown a strong interaction between pentacene and metal surfaces, "we found that the zigzag-shaped picene basically just sits on the silver," said University of Tokyo researcher Yukio Hasegawa. Interactions between molecules can alter their shape and therefore their behavior, but picene's weak connection to the silver surface left its properties intact."The weak interaction is advantageous for molecular [electronics] applications because the modification of the properties of molecular thin film by the presence of the [silver] is negligible and therefore [the] original properties of the molecule can be preserved very close to the interface," said Hasegawa.
A successful circuit requires a strong connection between the electronic components -- if a wire is frayed, electrons can't flow. According to Hasegawa, picene's weak interactions with the silver allow it to deposit directly on the surface without a stabilizing layer of molecules between, a quality he said is "essential for achieving high-quality contact with metal electrodes."Because picene displays its high carrier mobility when exposed to oxygen, the researchers hope to investigate its properties under varying levels of oxygen exposure in order to elucidate a molecular mechanism behind the behavior.
5) Monster galaxies gain weight by eating smaller neighbors:
Massive galaxies in the Universe have stopped making their own stars and are instead snacking on nearby galaxies, according to research by Australian scientists. Astronomers looked at more than 22,000 galaxies and found that while smaller galaxies are very efficient at creating stars from gas, the most massive galaxies are much less efficient at star formation, producing hardly any new stars themselves, and instead grow by eating other galaxies.
Dr Aaron Robotham, who is based at the University of Western Australia node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), said smaller 'dwarf' galaxies were being eaten by their larger counterparts."All galaxies start off small and grow by collecting gas and quite efficiently turning it into stars," he said."Then every now and then they get completely cannibalised by some much larger galaxy."The study was released today in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, which is published by Oxford University Press.
Dr Robotham, who led the research, said our own Milky Way is at a tipping point and is expected to now grow mainly by eating smaller galaxies, rather than by collecting gas."The Milky Way hasn't merged with another large galaxy for a long time but you can still see remnants of all the old galaxies we've cannibalised," he said."We're also going to eat two nearby dwarf galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, in about four billion years."
But Dr Robotham said the Milky Way is eventually going to get its comeuppance when it merges with the nearby Andromeda Galaxy in about five billion years."Technically, Andromeda will eat us because it's the more massive one," he said.
Almost all of the data for the research was collected with the Anglo-Australian Telescope in New South Wales as part of the Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) survey, which is led by Professor Simon Driver at ICRAR.The GAMA survey involves more than 90 scientists and took seven years to complete.This study is one of over 60 publications to have come from the work, with another 180 currently in progress.Dr Robotham said as galaxies grow they have more gravity and can therefore more easily pull in their neighbours.He said the reason star formation slows down in really massive galaxies is thought to be because of extreme feedback events in a very bright region at the centre of a galaxy known as an active galactic nucleus."The topic is much debated, but a popular mechanism is where the active galactic nucleus basically cooks the gas and prevents it from cooling down to form stars," Dr Robotham said.Ultimately, gravity is expected to cause all the galaxies in bound groups and clusters to merge into a few super-giant galaxies, although we will have to wait many billions of years before that happens.
"If you waited a really, really, really long time that would eventually happen but by really long I mean many times the age of the Universe so far," Dr Robotham said.
Movies News This Week:
The story follows a boy named Thomas who wakes up in a strange place called the Glade with no memory aside from his first name. The Glade is an enclosed structure populated by other boys, and is surrounded by tall, stone walls that protect them from monsters called Grievers that live in the Maze, which surrounds the walls around the Glade.
Every day, some of the kids who are Runners venture into the labyrinth trying to map the ever-changing pattern of walls in an attempt to find an exit.As soon as Thomas arrives, unusual things begin to happen and the others grow suspicious of him. The Maze seems familiar to Thomas, but he's unable to make sense of the place despite his extraordinary abilities as a Runner.When the first girl arrives in the Glade, she brings a message that she will be the last one to ever arrive in the Glade, as the end is near.
In the Ming Dynasty, there lives four orphans, Ying, Sao, Yuanlong and Niehu. Raised in Taoyuan Village, the four are as closed as brothers. Their exceptional martial arts skills allows them to reach the highest rank within the imperial guards. After the four successfully killed the Japanese troop leader, the Emperor orders Ying to escort the Golden Wheel of Time from Sindu (now India) back to the capital, which is said to have the power of time travel and foresee into the future. Now in 2013, Squire Tang, funded by a mysterious financer, digs up three ancient icemen from the outskirt of China; they are Ying, Sao and Niehu. As he is transferring the icemen to Hong Kong for further studies, the vehicle involves in a traffic accident which, unexpectedly, defrosts Ying...
Two young orphans in the Tirolian Mountains come under siege by a vicious band of hunters. Frightened of being separated by child services following the death of their mother, a self-sufficient 16-year-old girl (Sophie Lowe) and her 10-year-old brother (Maximilian Harnisch) - who hasn't spoken a word since seeing his father killed by the mayor (Peter Stormare) - strive to live off the land in peace. Their innocence is shattered, however, when a group of hunters led by the mayor's son brutalizes and rapes the free-spirited girl. Later, when a well-meaning social services worker arrives too late to protect the terrorized siblings, the girl and her brother prepare to take a stand against their ruthless attackers.
A soldier introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their son who died in action. After the young man is welcomed into their home, a series of accidental deaths seem to be connected to his presence
Reclaim is a story of shocking twists and turns that starts out with Steven (Ryan Phillippe) and Shannon (Rachelle LeFevre), a young, happy-go-lucky American couple, who travel to Puerto Rico to finalize the adoption of their new seven-year-old daughter, a Haitian orphan named Nina. Charmed by the picturesque island and eager to bond with their new daughter, Steven and Shannon take advantage of their time in Puerto Rico to explore the idyllic coast and see the sights as a family, confident they are just days from returning home to begin their new lives together.
Events take an alarming turn, however, when Steven clashes with an intimidating local (John Cusack) and things go from strange to absolutely terrifying when Nina disappears from her bed one night. Despite frantic efforts to recover their daughter, the young couple hit roadblock after roadblock and become increasingly desperate once their trusted connection from the adoption agency (Jacki Weaver) also goes missing. Their only ally seems to be Commandante Diaz (Luis Guzman). As the couple find themselves further entwined in a perplexing web of lies and confusion, their own relationship begins to unravel and things take an even more startling turn toward the unexpected.
Political News This Week:
1) Al Qaeda trying to enter Assam: Gogoi:
Days after Al Qaeda issued a video threatening to carry out its campaign in India, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday said the terror group is trying to set up base in the state and had “tacit understanding” with United Liberation Front of Asom.
“We have got some information that Al Qaeda is trying to gain access to Assam. We have taken steps to prevent any such development and asked all concerned to remain cautious,” Gogoi told a press conference.
The global terrorist outfit had earlier too tried to set up links in the north east and Assam in association with insurgent groups here but failed to do so, he said.Asked specifically if Al Qaeda has any link with the banned ULFA, Gogoi said, “I think they have links. Even if there is no direct link as of now, they have tacit understanding ... They never criticise each other.”
The chief minister said security forces have received intelligence report that there are possibilities of some incidents during the forthcoming Durga Puja.Asked if repeated violence in Bodoland Territorial Area Districts and other parts of the state, where primarily one community has been affected in recent years, are to be blamed for Islamic fundamentalist groups like Al Qaeda’s possible entry to Assam, Gogoi said “These are in any case disturbing factors. These incidents help them.”
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said Indian Muslims will live and die for the country and would not dance to the tune of Al Qaeda.On September 4, the Centre had sounded a country-wide alert after an Al Qaeda video surfaced in which the terror outfit threatened to carry out campaign in India and the initial assessment of Intelligence Bureau found the tape to be genuine.The US media and intelligence agencies had said Al Qaeda has established a new branch to wage ‘jihad’ in India, return the Islamic rule and impose sharia in the Indian sub-continent.
2) Four militants killed in gunbattle with security forces:
Four militants were on Saturday killed in an encounter with security forces near the Line of Control in Tangdhar sector of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Four militants were killed in an intelligence-based operation in Tangdhar sector of Kupwara district near LoC,” said a defence spokesman.
He said four AK 47 rifles and ammunition were recovered from the scene of the gunbattle that began in the wee hours. “The identity and group affiliation of the militants are being ascertained,” the spokesman said.
He said the information available so far does not suggest that it was an infiltration bid.
3) Jadavpur University website 'HACKED'!:
With Jadavpur University students demanding the Vice Chancellor’s resignation over a molestation case, an apology message attributed to the VC was on Saturday posted on the varsity website, which official sources denied claiming the website has been hacked.“I am sorry” - was the message posted on the website in VC Abhijit Chakrabarti’s page.
Registrar Pradip Ghosh clarified that he had spoken to the VC and the latter had not said anything of that sort. “We have not done that. I have spoken to the VC who said he has not posted anything. The website is hacked. We will look into the matter,” Ghosh said.Despite repeated attempts to get his comments, the VC remained incommunicado as his cell phone was switched off.JU students have been boycotting classes demanding the VC’s resignation over the ongoing stalemate in the August 28 molestation case in campus following a police crackdown on agitating students.
The agitating students have held the VC responsible for police action against them on campus in the wee hours of September 17 when they had gheraoed the VC, Registrar and other officials seeking a fresh probe panel into a molestation case.
4) Xi invites Modi to visit his hometown Xi'an in China:
Buoyed by his visit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat, Chinese President Xi Jinping in a reciprocal gesture invited him to his hometown Xi’an, where the famous Buddhist monk Hiuen Tsang spent his last years after his return from India some 2,000 years ago.
Xi invited Modi on Wednesday to visit his hometown Xi’an, the famous tourist town which showcases the Terracotta warriors. Xi said the seventh-century Chinese monk stayed in India for 16 years to seek Buddhist scriptures.“When he came back to China, he stayed in my hometown, Xi’an, to translate and spread Buddhist thoughts to Chinese people,” official media quoted Xi as saying.According to historical records, Hiuen Tsang, also known as Xuan Zang, started his travels at the age of 28 in 629 AD and recorded his travels in Gujarat, where he describes towns and cities like Bharuch, Malwa, Idar and Valabhi.
Modi earlier said that the monk also stayed in his home town Vadodara.Xi’an is the home of Wild Goose Pagoda, built to highlight Xuan’s efforts to visit India in 645 AD through the ancient Silk Road and return home after a 17-year long sojourn with precious Buddhist scriptures.He translated the works into Chinese which helped popularising the Buddhism in China which till date remained the most cherished link between both the countries. The pagoda was built to highlight his achievement.
Vice President Hamid Ansari visited the pagoda during his visit to China in June this year. The Chinese media also highlighted the India-China agreement to strengthen culture and personnel exchanges during Xi’s current visit to India.China will help India train 1,500 Chinese-language teachers. China and India will each send 200 youths to visit the other each year. The two nations will also set up culture centres in the other's territory. Next year will be “Visit India” year in China, and 2016 will be “Visit China” in India.
Sealed with a kiss: China's First Lady has all in smiles at Delhi school
“Keep working hard so you can contribute to your country,” this was the message by China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan to the students as she interacted with the children, even humming a song with them.
“Keep working hard so you can contribute to your country,” this was the message by China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan to the students as she interacted with the children, even humming a song with them.
During her 45-minute visit to a school in South Delhi, 51-year-old Peng, who is also a renowned singer, shared with the students some personal glimpses of her life, leaving a lasting impression on the young minds. “I started learning calligraphy when I was young and as little as 5 years old. I was instructed by my father,” she said while applauding the lessons on yoga imparted by the school.Peng also had words of appreciation for Indian women. “She (Peng) told me that she had a lot of respect for Indian women. They are beautiful, hard-working and can keep the family together,” Meenakshi Sen, principal of TagoreInternationalSchool, said quoting Peng.
5) It's a matter of pride, says Sushma at inauguration of Nalanda University:
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj formally inaugurated Nalanda University in Bihar on Friday. Inaugurating the university, Swaraj called it a historic occasion for her as well as the country.“It is a matter of pride for me to inaugurate the academic session of the university after a gap of over 800 years,” she said. She also planted saplings on the sprawling premises during her visit to the site,where the university will come up in Rajgir, 12 km from where the ancient Nalanda University stood till the 12th century.
Ambassadors of two countries and diplomatic representatives of 16 countries also attended the inauguration of the university, said the Gopa Sabharwal, the vice chancellor of the university.Economist and Padma Bhushan awardee Lord Meghnad Desai and Bihar’s Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi were also present at the function. However, former Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, who played a substantial role in setting up the university, was absent at the function. The classes at the revived NalandaUniversity started on September 1 after a year break of over 800 years with 15 students and six faculty members.
Sabhrawal said the academic session for the school of historical sciences and the school of environment and ecology have started for the first session 2014-15 in the international convention centre at the Buddhist pilgrim town of Rajgir, about 100 km from here.She said that till now 15 students have been enrolled in the university and more will enrol in the coming days, as the process of applications and interviews are still on.The fully-residential university, to be completed by 2020, will eventually have seven schools, all for post-graduate and doctoral students, offering courses in science, philosophy and spirituality, and social sciences.
6) JU students boycott classes, block registrar and pro-VC's entry:
Jadavpur University students on Friday did not allow the Registrar and Pro-Vice Chancellor to enter the campus and boycotted classes for the second consecutive day in protest against police action on them two days ago.
Registrar Pradip Ghosh, Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Siddhartha Datta, along with other officials, sat outside the university entrance gate with students blocking their entry and shouting slogans against the varsity authorities."They had called the police that day inside the campus and we were beaten up. The VC has no right to remain in office anymore and he must immediately resign. If they have to enter the campus they have to walk over our bodies," the students said.The Registrar said since he was not being allowed to go to his office, he would wait outside till the agitation was over."What can I do if they do not let me in?" he told reporters.When contacted, Vice Chancellor Abhijit Chakrabarti, who has been advised bed rest for 4-5 days by doctors, refused to comment.
On the intervening night of September 16 and 17, the students had gheraoed the university's VC, Registrar and other members of the Executive Council demanding a fresh probe panel on alleged sexual harassment of a girl student inside the campus last month.The VC had said he feared for his life and called the police which freed him in the early hours of September 17 and also arrested 35 protesting students.Many of the students alleged they were brutally beaten up by the police inside the campus.
7) BJP-Sena Mahayuti's fate to be decided on Sunday:
A day after the ice was broken, Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders on Saturday held talks to end the tangle over seat-sharing for Maharashtra Assembly polls but failed to reach an agreement. The two oldest NDA allies, however, insisted they did not want the alliance to come apart.
Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Vinod Tawde said Shiv Sena has proposed to contest 155 seats, leaving 125 for BJP, while the remaining of state's 288 seats would go to the smaller allies. "This is unacceptable to us," Tawde, a BJP leader, said.September 27 is the deadline for filing of nominations for the October 15 polls."There will be clarity on the alliance issue in the next 24 hours," Tawde said.After days of frosty silence, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had last night sent his 24-year-old son Aditya Thackeray and senior leader Subhash Desai for talks with BJP's Maharashtra election incharge O P Mathur and then sent a seat-sharing formula to the ally. State BJP core committee members today considered the proposal holding two rounds of meetings where Mathur and party general secretary incharge of Maharashtra Rajiv Pratap Rudy were present. Subhash Desai also held talks with state BJP president Devendra Fadnavis.Shiv Sena has, meanwhile, said a decision on the alliance may be taken on Sunday.
"Uddhavji has been authorised by the party to take a call on the alliance. Shiv Sena executive committee is meeting on Sunday and an announcement is likely to be made," Sena spokesman and MP Sanjay Raut said.Tawde also said BJP president Amit Shah wants the alliance to continue."I spoke to Uddhav Thackeray on Friday. Today, Fadnavis and Desai met. BJP president Amit Shah is also insisting that the alliance should remain," Tawde said.
"We are doing all we can to keep the alliance intact. It is a bond of 25 years," Tawde said, adding "we feel that it should not break over issues like which party gets how many seats and which leader becomes the chief minister." Tawde said BJP was stressing on discussing the 59 seats Shiv Sena and 19 seats BJP had contested but did not win in the last five elections. "There needs to be a restructuring so the party which can win these seats should field its candidate there," he said. "Our aim is that we should win at least 200 of the 288 seats to give 11.88 crore people of Maharashtra a progressive government," he said.Meanwhile, senior Sena leader Anil Desai insisted there is no threat to the alliance between the two parties which "is going to stay".
"We are aware of the fact that the Mahayuti is very important for Maharashtra. The alliance between us is definitely going to stay. More than the offer (of seats), alliance is important. Uddhavji will announce his decision within 24 hours," he told reporters after meeting the Sena chief. "Media reports that our alliance will break is a fiction. We are only working out the finer points before we announce our seat-sharing formula," he said.
Sports News This Week:
1) Asian Games 2014: Day one - As it happened:
So end of the Day 1 at Incheon. After Shweta Chaudhry opened India's account with her bronze medal, world No.1 shooter Jitu Rai gave India their first gold at the 2014 Asian Games. At Incheon, India aim to improve upon their 14 gold won in the 2010 Games in Guangzhou. There are as many as 439 gold medals up for grabs.
Badminton: India beat Thailand in the women's team QF to set up a date with South Korea in the semis.
Jitu Rai won India's first gold medal at the Asian Games on Saturday, clinching the men's 50 metre pistol event after his closest opponent cracked under pressure.Success in shooting is not unusual for India, whose marksmen are among the most accomplished in the world. Rai is one of their best, a soldier with a cool head and a steady hand.He needed all those attributes to win gold on Saturday after a wretched week for India's shooters.
Rai was among the favourites before the competition after finishing runner-up at the recent world championships but was off target early.The 27-year-old qualified just seventh for the final as South Korea's Jin Jong-oh set the early pace. Jin is a master of his sport, having won three Olympic gold medals and setting a world record to beat Rai at the world championships.But Saturday was not his day and he faltered quickly in the finals, where the scores were re-set, wiping out the advantage he had from the preliminaries.He was the second man eliminated, a result made all the disappointment because his country is hosting the Games."I'm sorry that I wasn't able to live up to lots of people's expectations," he said."But I'll do my best at tomorrow's 10m air pistol event, and keep devoting myself to my athletic career."The defending champion, China's Pu Qifeng, also bowed out early as Rai was steadily finding his aim. But with one shot to go, Rai was still in second place behind Vietnam's Hoang Phuong Nguyen.
This is the moment that tests the nerves of all shooters. Rai shot straight but Nguyen was slightly off, scoring just 5.8 points. Gold to India.Rai, who also won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland a few months ago, received his medal from the International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.It was a golden end to a messy week for India's shooters.Instead of flying directly to South Korea, most of them were forced to return home from world championship in Spain because their entries had not been sent on time, wasting precious time when they should have been on the range.
2) Sania Mirza-Cara Black reach finals of Pan Pacific Open :
Putting up yet another dominating performance, defending champions Sania Mirza and Cara Black outclassed Jelena Jankovic and Arantxa Parra Santonja 6-3 6-2 to reach the summit clash of the WTA Toray Pan Pacific Open, in Tokyo on Friday. The top seeded Indo-Zimbabwean pair took only 63 minutes to overcome the unseeded Serbian-Spanish combo in the semifinals of the USD 1,000,000 hard court event.
Sania and Cara played tremendous service games, winning 24 of the 30 first service points. They surrendered serve only one time while saved four break chances.Jelena and Arantxa could capitalise on only one of the five chances they got in the contest.
Sania and Cara will now taken on the winners of the other semifinal match between the second seeded American pair of Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears and fourth seeds Spaniards Garbiñe Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro.From Tokyo, Sania will fly straight to Incheon in Korea to compete in the Asian Games.
3) Sardar Singh to be India’s flag bearer at Asian Games opening ceremony:
Ending the suspense over who would be the Indian contingent’s flag bearer at tomorrow’s 17th Asian Games opening ceremony, men’s hockey team captain Sardar Singh was today bestowed with the honour.“The flag bearer will be Sardar Singh, captain of the men’s hockey team. Actually all the people were asked and we have been trying to ask the coaches about who is available.
They all have matches the next day or the day after and none wanted to stand outside the stadium from 12 noon to 4 pm (before the parade). Sardar does not have a match. He was happy to do so,” said Chef-de-Mission Adille Sumariwalla.
“There were so many contenders, we asked them. Wrestlers are not there, boxers are not there. The badminton event is starting the day after and so do the shooters.”The former national sprint champion and Olympian explained why the focus should not be on the flag bearer, which was just symbolic, but on winning honours at the Games.“I don’t see why we are focusing so much on the flag bearer. We are here to win medals. Flag bearer is symbolic; focus should be on medals. Any great athlete can do it and we have many of them.“It will be a great boost to hockey and I hope we can win the gold, they (men’s team) has been playing well,” he added.Sumariwalla also said because of the restrictions imposed by the organisers, each country cannot field more than 130 persons in the parade.
“Size is limited to 130, it can be less not more for the opening parade. I don’t even know. For example Nikolai (Sneserev of Belarus, coach of middle distance running) has said ‘though my wards’ events are later my athletes won’t be participating’.”
He also said the strength of the contingent was 722, which included 541 competitors.“350 of them have come so far out of 541. Total number of officials is 181 – made up of doctors, physios, coaches, managers and video analysts,” he added.
4) How ‘we need you Lee’ plea got Leander Paes right back on court :
It was at Wimbledon that Rohan Bopanna made an appeal to Leander Paes to return to Davis Cup. The World Group play-off scheduled for Bangalore was then over two months away — but the 34-year-old hoped Paes would agree to jam with him while taking on Serbia, the second-ranked Davis Cup team in the world. “He simply said ‘Lee, we need you,’” recalls Paes. Soon team captain Anand Amritraj had joined the bandwagon that attempted to convince the 41-year-old to play the crucial tie.
The duo played in one of the most sensational comebacks against Serbian pair of Zimonjic-Bozoljac and helped India finish with a 3-2 scoreline.
“The surface was submerged in about two inches of water. So we didn’t run, but we practiced our drills while it rained
While his teammates upped the pressure to convince him to return, the 2013 US Open men’s doubles champion had been looking at ways to regain his match sharpness. Four months away from the circuit had taken its toll as Paes claims he’d rapidly lost the physical fitness and match awareness needed to compete at a high level. And so it happened that the Indian pair, which had not played together since 2012, would be seen practicing on a rain drenched court in Bangalore. “The surface was submerged in about two inches of water. So we didn’t run, but we practiced our drills while it rained. Just some shots our opponents would throw at us. Reflex volleys, 30 odd serves and returns. Eventually it all worked out,” he recalls.
The hiatus on court came as a result of an ongoing custody battle for daughter Aiyana. Court hearings would take precedence over his sporting commitments. The entire process, including the anxiety about the outcome remained with him even during the Davis Cup. Subsequently, the win against Serbian pair Nenad Zemonjic and Ilija Bozoljac — the team that beat the illustrious Bryan brothers at the tournament last season —a was an important win for him on a personal front. It was also a win he rates his best ever in the doubles category, with only the singles win against Goran Ivanisivic in 1995 being the one he holds higher.
Paes’ return to the court, that too with Bopanna as his partner, holds a significance in the run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics. The former has mentioned at a press conference that he is open to the idea of pairing up with the latter for the next Olympics.
“We both have shots in our individual repertoire which makes us a formidable team. We just haven’t played enough matches together,” says Paes.In the interim, with Paes doubles ranking at 35 and Bopanna at 27, the pair will have to look for higher ranked partners in order to compete at Grand Slams and get their rankings up
5) KXIP skipper George Bailey lauds Glenn Maxwell, Thisara Perera for win :
Kings XI Punjab captain heaped praise on Glenn Maxwell and Thisara Perera after the five-wicket win against Hobart Hurricanes on Thursday and promised his team will get better in the Champions League T20. “A terrific innings from Maxy and TP (Perera) there, it takes some courage to come out when your team is in a bit of trouble and go for your shots,” said Bailey, who stayed unbeaten alongside Perera (30 runs off 25 balls) to take the past Hurricanes 144 for six in 17.4 overs.Kings had started the chase badly and were 51 for four in eighth over. Maxwell’s innings of 43 changed the game.Bailey (34 off 27), who plays for Hurricanes in the Big Bash League back home, was as kind to his Australian team as the his IPL side.
“I think Hobart have a very nice team, they lost today but they can challenge,” he said of the team which is also playing its first CLT20.Bailey lauded the effort put by Kings bowlers, especially medium pacer Anureet Singh.“Anureet Singh didn’t get much of a chance in the IPL with a broken thumb, he was outstanding with the ball, that one over at the death. We (Kings XI) slotted back in really quickly, not our best game with the bat but we will get better.”Hurricanes skipper Tim Paine said: “Didn’t get off to a good start with the bat… with the ball we gave it a good crack …”
Book of This Week:
Chowringhee : by Sankar, Arunava Sinha:
'Here, day and night were interchangeable. The immaculately dressed Chowringhee, radiant in her youth, had just stepped on to the floor at the nightclub.' Set in 1950s Calcutta, Chowringhee is a sprawling saga of the intimate lives of managers, employees and guests at one of Calcutta's largest hotels, the Shahjahan. Written by best-selling Bengali author Sankar, Chowringhee was published in 1962. Predating Arthur Hailey's Hotel by three years, it became an instant hit, spawning translations in major Indian languages, a film and a play. Its larger-than-life characters - the enigmatic manager Marco Polo, the debonair receptionist Sata Bose, the tragic hostess Karabi Guha, among others - soon attained cult status. With its thinly veiled accounts of the private lives of real-life celebrities, and its sympathetic narrative seamlessly weaving the past and the present, it immediately established itself as a popular classic. Available for the first time in English, Chowringhee is as much a dirge as it is a homage to a city and its people.
born in Bonogram, Jessore, British Indian Ocean Territory December 07, 1933.
Shankar's real name is Mani Shankar Mukherjee. Sankar is a very popular writer in the Bengali language. He grew up in Howrah district of West Bengal, India.
Shankar's father died while Shankar was still a teenager, as a result of which Shankar became a clerk to the last British barrister of the Calcutta High Court, Noel Frederick Barwell. The experience of working under Mr. Barwell provided the material for his first book Koto Ojanare (কত অজানারে), translated as The Great Unknown.During 1962, Shankar conceived the idea of writing the novel Chowringhee on a rainy day at the waterlogged crossing of Central Avenue and Dalhousie - a busy business district in the heart of Kolkata.Many of Shankar's works have been made into films. Some notable ones are - Chowringhee, Jana Aranya (জন-অরণ্য, translated as The Middleman) and Seemabaddha (সীমাবদ্ধ, out of which the last two were directed by Satyajit Ray