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Saturday, 11 October 2014

Subhaditya News Channel Presents Science,Movie, Political,Sports And Book News This Week (115 and 116)

Science News This Week:

1) Genetic secrets of the monarch butterfly revealed:

The monarch butterfly is one of the most iconic insects in the world, best known for its distinct orange and black wings and a spectacular annual mass migration across North America. However, little has been known about the genes that underlie these famous traits, even as the insect's storied migration appears to be in peril. Sequencing the genomes of monarch butterflies from around the world, a team of scientists has now made surprising new insights into the monarch's genetics. They identified a single gene that appears central to migration -- a behavior generally regarded as complex -- and another that controls pigmentation. The researchers also shed light on the evolutionary origins of the monarch. They report their findings Oct. 1 in Nature."The results of this study shift our whole thinking about these butterflies," said study senior author Marcus Kronforst, PhD, Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago.

Every year, millions of monarchs fly from as far north as Canada to spend the winter in Mexico. Predominantly a North American species, the monarch also exists in South and Central America, and has relatively recently spread across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Only North American monarchs migrate.

A North American Original
To better understand monarch genetics and the basis for migratory behavior, Kronforst's team sequenced and compared the genomes of 101 butterflies, including migratory North American monarchs, non-migratory monarchs from around the world and a few closely related species.The researchers analyzed the monarch's evolutionary origins using genetic comparisons. They traced the ancestral lineage of monarchs to a migratory population that likely originated in the southern U.S. or Mexico. The monarch's current worldwide distribution appears to stem from three separate dispersal events -- to Central and South America; across the Atlantic; and across the Pacific. In all three cases, the butterfly independently lost its migratory behavior.

The monarch's North American origin runs counter to a long-standing hypothesis that the butterfly originated from a non-migratory tropical species, which later developed the ability to migrate. While historical records have suggested that the monarch's dispersal across the Pacific and Atlantic occurred in the 1800s, the analysis indicated the monarch actually crossed the oceans thousands of years ago. The authors note that more work needs to be done to fully document the butterfly's evolutionary history."In order to clearly resolve the history of monarch butterflies, we still need additional fossil, archaeological and genetic data, as well as more advanced technology, becoming available in the future," said study author Shuai Zhan, PhD, a professor in Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences and a former joint postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Slow and Steady
To study the genetic basis for migration, the team compared the genomes of migratory butterflies against the three non-migratory populations. They identified more than 500 genes -- most of which are involved in muscle, developmental and neural function -- that differed to some degree. But a single gene disparity stood out.Migratory butterflies expressed greatly reduced levels of collagen IV α-1, a gene involved in flight muscle formation and function. The team discovered that migratory monarchs consumed less oxygen and had significantly lowered flight metabolic rates, which likely increases their ability to fly long distances compared to non-migratory butterflies."Migration is regarded as a complex behavior, but every time that the butterflies have lost migration, they change in exactly the same way, in this one gene involved in flight muscle efficiency," said Kronforst. "In populations that have lost migration, efficiency goes down, suggesting there is a benefit to flying fast and hard when they don't need to migrate."

The Color Gene
The researchers also investigated the genetic basis for the monarch's famous coloration. A small percentage of monarchs, most notably in Hawaii, possess white and black wings instead of orange. Comparing the genomes of these butterflies against normally colored populations, the team discovered a single gene appears to function as a pigmentation switch.

This gene, which codes for a protein of the myosin motor protein family, has never before been implicated in insect coloration. Its mutation likely disrupts the pigment transport to the wings, making the monarchs white. A related gene in mice, myosin 5a, has been shown to affect coat color in a similar way. The gene represents a new genetic pathway to explore insect coloration, according to Kronforst.

Migration in Peril
Although the monarch isn't in danger of extinction, its famous mass migration across North America appears to be in peril. In 1996, around one billion monarchs migrated to Mexico for the winter. Estimates for the past year place the number at around 35 million. A likely culprit is the loss of milkweed, the monarch's primary habitat, due to agricultural herbicide use. Meanwhile, monarchs that used to migrate are transitioning into non-migratory populations around the Gulf Coast.

The results of this study emphasize the need for conservation efforts to preserve the iconic migration and extend the extraordinary evolutionary history of the monarch butterfly, according to the authors."You used to see huge numbers of monarchs, clouds of them passing by," said Kronforst. "Now it looks quite possible that in the not too distant future, this annual migration won't happen."The study, "The genetics of monarch butterfly migration and warning colouration," was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and Neubauer Funds from the University of Chicago.

2) 52-million-year-old amber preserves 'ant-loving' beetle:

Scientists have uncovered the fossil of a 52-million-year old beetle that likely was able to live alongside ants -- preying on their eggs and usurping resources -- within the comfort of their nest. The fossil, encased in a piece of amber from India, is the oldest-known example of this kind of social parasitism, known as "myrmecophily." Published today in the journal Current Biology, the research also shows that the diversification of these stealth beetles, which infiltrate ant nests around the world today, correlates with the ecological rise of modern ants. "Although ants are an integral part of most terrestrial ecosystems today, at the time that this beetle was walking the Earth, ants were just beginning to take off, and these beetles were right there inside the ant colonies, deceiving them and exploiting them," said lead author Joseph Parker, a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History and postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University, who is a specialist on these beetles. "This tells us something not just about the beetles, but also about the ants -- their nests were big enough and resource-rich enough to be worthy of exploitation by these super-specialized insects. And when ants exploded ecologically and began to dominate, these beetles exploded with them."

Today, there are about 370 described species belonging to Clavigeritae, a group of myrmecophilous, or "ant-loving" beetles about 1-3 millimeters in length, and Parker estimates that several times this number of species still await discovery. Remarkable adaptations enable these beetles to bypass the fortresslike security of ant nests, which employ a pheromone code of recognition that ants use to identify, and then dismember and consume, intruders. Through ways that scientists are still trying to understand, Clavigeritae beetles pass through these defenses and integrate seamlessly into colony life.

"Adopting this lifestyle brings lots of benefits. These beetles live in a climate- controlled nest that is well protected against predators, and they have access to a great deal of food, including the ants' eggs and brood, and, most remarkably, liquid food regurgitated directly to their mouths by the worker ants themselves," Parker said. "But pulling off this way of life means undergoing drastic morphological changes."Clavigeritae beetles look quite different from their closest relatives, with fusions of segments within the abdomen and antennae -- likely meant to provide additional protection from the ants, which often pick the beetles up and carry them around the nest -- and mouthparts that are recessed inside the head in order to accept liquid food from worker ants. They also have glands that cover the body with oily secretions, and thick brushes of hair on top of their abdomens, called trichomes, which act as candlewicks and conduct chemical-containing secretions from nearby glands. The makeup of these chemicals is unknown, but they are thought to encourage ants to "adopt" rather than attack the beetles.

"If you watch one of these beetles interact inside an ant colony, you'll see the ants running up to it and licking those brush-like structures," Parker said.Although Clavigeritae beetles are species-rich, they are quite rarely encountered in nature and so, unsurprisingly, the newly discovered specimen -- brought to Parker's attention by American Museum of Natural History curator David Grimaldi, who is an expert in amber fossils -- is thought to be the first fossil of this group to be discovered. Named Protoclaviger trichodens by Parker and Grimaldi, the Eocene fossil is from an amber deposit in what was once a rain-forest environment in modern-day India. Although its body is very similar to modern Clavigeritae beetles, with two stark, hook-like trichomes, some of its characteristics are clearly more primitive. For example, Protoclaviger's abdominal segments are still distinct, whereas in modern beetles they are fused together into a single shieldlike segment.

3) Batteries included: A solar cell that stores its own power:

Is it a solar cell? Or a rechargeable battery? Actually, the patent-pending device invented at The Ohio State University is both: the world's first solar battery.In the October 3, 2014 issue of the journal Nature Communications, the researchers report that they've succeeded in combining a battery and a solar cell into one hybrid device.Key to the innovation is a mesh solar panel, which allows air to enter the battery, and a special process for transferring electrons between the solar panel and the battery electrode. Inside the device, light and oxygen enable different parts of the chemical reactions that charge the battery.
The university will license the solar battery to industry, where Yiying Wu, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Ohio State, says it will help tame the costs of renewable energy.

"The state of the art is to use a solar panel to capture the light, and then use a cheap battery to store the energy," Wu said. "We've integrated both functions into one device. Any time you can do that, you reduce cost."
He and his students believe that their device brings down costs by 25 percent.The invention also solves a longstanding problem in solar energy efficiency, by eliminating the loss of electricity that normally occurs when electrons have to travel between a solar cell and an external battery. Typically, only 80 percent of electrons emerging from a solar cell make it into a battery.With this new design, light is converted to electrons inside the battery, so nearly 100 percent of the electrons are saved.
The design takes some cues from a battery previously developed by Wu and doctoral student Xiaodi Ren. They invented a high-efficiency air-powered battery that discharges by chemically reacting potassium with oxygen. The design won the $100,000 clean energy prize from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2014, and the researchers formed a technology spinoff called KAir Energy Systems, LLC to develop it.

"Basically, it's a breathing battery," Wu said. "It breathes in air when it discharges, and breathes out when it charges."
For this new study, the researchers wanted to combine a solar panel with a battery similar to the KAir. The challenge was that solar cells are normally made of solid semiconductor panels, which would block air from entering the battery.
Doctoral student Mingzhe Yu designed a permeable mesh solar panel from titanium gauze, a flexible fabric upon which he grew vertical rods of titanium dioxide like blades of grass. Air passes freely through the gauze while the rods capture sunlight.
Normally, connecting a solar cell to a battery would require the use of four electrodes, the researchers explained. Their hybrid design uses only three.The mesh solar panel forms the first electrode. Beneath, the researchers placed a thin sheet of porous carbon (the second electrode) and a lithium plate (the third electrode). Between the electrodes, they sandwiched layers of electrolyte to carry electrons back and forth.Here's how the solar battery works: during charging, light hits the mesh solar panel and creates electrons. Inside the battery, electrons are involved in the chemical decomposition of lithium peroxide into lithium ions and oxygen. The oxygen is released into the air, and the lithium ions are stored in the battery as lithium metal after capturing the electrons.When the battery discharges, it chemically consumes oxygen from the air to re-form the lithium peroxide.
An iodide additive in the electrolyte acts as a "shuttle" that carries electrons, and transports them between the battery electrode and the mesh solar panel. The use of the additive represents a distinct approach on improving the battery performance and efficiency, the team said.The mesh belongs to a class of devices called dye-sensitized solar cells, because the researchers used a red dye to tune the wavelength of light it captures.

In tests, they charged and discharged the battery repeatedly, while doctoral student Lu Ma used X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy to analyze how well the electrode materials survived -- an indication of battery life.First they used a ruthenium compound as the red dye, but since the dye was consumed in the light capture, the battery ran out of dye after eight hours of charging and discharging -- too short a lifetime. So they turned to a dark red semiconductor that wouldn't be consumed: hematite, or iron oxide -- more commonly called rust.Coating the mesh with rust enabled the battery to charge from sunlight while retaining its red color. Based on early tests, Wu and his team think that the solar battery's lifetime will be comparable to rechargeable batteries already on the market.

4) Second case of apparent HIV 'cure' in baby followed by reappearance of virus:

The case report, published in The Lancet, is the second report of apparent viral remission followed by rebound in a baby given early ART treatment, after the case of the 'Mississippi baby' received widespread attention in 2013―14.
A team of researchers, including Professor Mario Clerici at the University of Milan and the Don Gnocchi Foundation in Milan, Italy, report that the baby―born to an HIV-positive mother in December 2009―appeared to have been cured of HIV at age three years, after intensive ART treatment was begun shortly after birth.

Tests to measure the amount of HIV in the child's blood (viral load) indicated that the virus had been eradicated. Notably, even antibodies to HIV had disappeared, showing that the baby was no longer seropositive and, with the agreement of the child's mother, ART was stopped.However, two weeks later, the child's HIV tests came back positive, leading the researchers to conclude that the viral reservoirs had not been eliminated by ART, despite the virus being undetectable for more than 3 years.
There are differences between this case, and that of the Mississippi baby (as well as the 'Berlin patient' Timothy Ray Brown, thought to be the only adult to be cured of HIV); importantly, the child's immune system continued to show multiple signs of responding to HIV infection even after the viral load became undetectable, which was not the case for either the Mississippi baby or the Berlin patient.The authors also suggest that the child's high viral load at birth, as well as an infection while in the womb, and low birthweight, may have also precluded long-lasting viral remission.The case report concludes that, "The availability of many classes of potent antiretroviral drugs has substantially decreased HIV morbidity and mortality, but these drugs cannot eradicate the virus because they do not eliminate viral reservoirs. The search for an HIV cure continues."

5) Signal of elusive Majorana particle emerges in a nanowire:

Evidence backs existence of exotic entity that is its own antiparticle. Blips of electric current at the end of an atom-thick wire have brought physicists one step closer to confirming the existence of Majorana fermions, particles proposed 77 years ago that are their own antiparticles.

The new experiment, described October 2 in Science, does not definitively prove that these particles exist. But it provides compelling evidence that complements findings from previous research.

“The level of evidence is enough for an arrest but not for the death penalty,” says Leo Kouwenhoven, a physicist at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, whose team has also seen hints of Majorana particles. If confirmed, these exotic particles could help scientists overcome a major barrier toward creating quantum computers.

Movie Release This Week:

Directed by David Fincher and based upon the global bestseller by Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl unearths the secrets at the heart of a modern marriage. On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) reports that his beautiful wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?

She terrified you in “The Conjuring,” but this is where it all began for Annabelle.Capable of unspeakable evil, the actual doll exists locked up in an occult museum in Connecticut—visited only by a priest who blesses her twice a month.New Line Cinema’s supernatural thriller “Annabelle” begins before the evil was unleashed.

John Form has found the perfect gift for his expectant wife, Mia—a beautiful, rare vintage doll in a pure white wedding dress. But Mia’s delight with Annabelle doesn’t last long.On one horrific night, their home is invaded by members of a satanic cult, who violently attack the couple. Spilled blood and terror are not all they leave behind. The cultists have conjured an entity so malevolent that nothing they did will compare to the sinister conduit to the damned that is now… Annabelle.

follows Rayford Steele (Nicolas Cage) who is piloting a commercial airliner just hours after the Rapture when millions of people around the globe simply vanish. Thirty thousand feet over the Atlantic, Rayford is faced with a damaged plane, terrified passengers, and a desperate desire to get back to his family. On the ground, his daughter, Chloe Steele (Cassi Thomson) is among those left behind, forced to navigate a world of madness as she searches for her lost mother and brother

A chance encounter of the unassuming bank receptionist Harleen Sahni with the charming yet mysterious Rajveer Nanda, results in an on-rush of ditched planes, car chases, shoot-outs, bombing raids and general global mayhem. But as the transcontinental chase ensues with Rajveer convincing Harleen that he's the good guy, can she really trust him, and will trust matter when the bullets start flying?

Hrithik Roshan (Rajveer Nanda)        Katrina Kaif (Harleen Sahni)   Danny Denzongpa (Omar)    Jaaved Jaffrey (Hamid Gul)
Ron Smoorenburg (Henchman #2).

This is an adaptation of William Shakespeare's 'Hamlet', Haider - a young man returns home to Kashmir on receiving news of his father's disappearance. Not only does he learn that security forces have detained his father for harboring militants, but that his mother is in a relationship with his very own uncle. Intense drama follows between mother and son as both struggle to come to terms with news of his father's death. Soon Haider learns that his uncle is responsible for the gruesome murder, what follows is his journey to avenge his father's death.

Shahid Kapoor (Haider)             Shraddha Kapoor (Arshia)                      Tabu (Ghazala)

6) Dracula Untold:

Almost an entire century after the world’s cinematic introduction to Dracula placed audiences under his haunting spell, the studio that pioneered the genre reawakens one of legend’s most captivating figures in an action-adventure that heralds a pulse-pounding rebirth of the age of monsters.

Luke Evans transforms from the cursed man history knows as Vlad the Impaler to an all-powerful creature of the night in Universal Pictures’ Dracula Untold, the origin story of the alluring immortal we have come to fear as the sun sets: Dracula.

The year is 1462, and Transylvania has enjoyed a prolonged period of peace under the just and fair rule of the battle-weary Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, and his beloved and brave wife, Mirena (SARAH GADON of The Amazing Spider-Man 2). Together, they have brokered peace for their country and ensured its people are well-protected, especially from the powerful Ottoman Empire—an ever-expanding scourge that has its sights on global domination.

But when Sultan Mehmed II demands 1,000 of Wallachia’s boys, including Vlad’s own son, Ingeras be torn from their parents’ homes and forced to become child soldiers in his army, Vlad must decide: do the same as his father before him and give up his son to the sultan, or seek the help of a monster to defeat the Turks but ultimately doom his soul to a life of servitude.

Vlad journeys to Broken Tooth Mountain, where he encounters a foul demon and enters into a Faustian bargain—one that gives the prince the strength of 100 men, the speed of a falling star and enough power to crush his enemies. However, he will be inflicted with an insatiable thirst to drink human blood.

If by the end of three days Vlad manages to resist, he will return to his former self, and perhaps in that time manage to save his people. Though should he drink, he will be forced to dwell in the darkness for the rest of his days, feeding only on the blood of humans...and destroying all that he holds dear.

Political News This Week:

1) 5 killed, 34 injured in heavy shelling by Pakistan along IB:

In one of the worst ceasefire violations by Pakistan, 5 villagers were killed and 34 injured on Monday in heavy mortar shelling and firing from across the international border and Line of Control in Jammu and Poonch sectors, triggering strong condemnation by India.Pakistani troops indulged in heavy and unprovoked firing and shelling of mortars on 10 border outposts and civilian areas along international border in Arnia belt of Jammu district from 10 PM spilling over to this morning, a BSF spokesman said.BSF troops retaliated effectively and gave a befitting reply, he said, adding that the intermittent firing exchanges were on in the area when reports last came in.

In the shelling, five villagers were killed and 34 injured in several hamlets, SSP, Jammu, Uttam Chand told PTIIn New Delhi, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley deplored the ceasefire violations from across the border and said the Indian armed forces were "fully ready" and are responding to each of these provocations from across the border.Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, "Pakistan should stop ceasefire violations now and understand the reality that times have changed in India."

J-K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah strongly condemned the shelling on civilians, saying targeting them exposed the frustration of the Pakistani government after its failure to gain international attention on the Kashmir issue.

"They (the Pakistani leadership) have nothing else to speak, but only Kashmir. Whenever they go abroad, they try to raise only Kashmir issue, but every time they miserably fail to get international attention. The cross-border shelling is an indication of their frustration," he told reporters after meeting civilians injured in the shelling at the Government Medical College Hospital.

A PTI correspondent who visited some of the affected areas hit by the shelling saw blood stained beds, torn off roof-tops and windows punctured by bullets besides splinters of mortar bombs lying scattered around.

There were some reports of people moving out of the affected areas, fearing fresh attacks.

The Pakistani troops also resorted to mortar shelling and firing on forward posts along LoC in Bhimber Gali belt of Poonch district since 0830 hours today, a Defence spokesman said.The Pakistani troops used small, automatic weapons and mortar bombs to target the border hamlets and BoPs.29 of the injured have been shifted to GMC hospital Jammu. Three others were brought dead, chief medical officer of the hospital Dr Ritesh Shan said."We have always been the sitting ducks on fire. The Pakistani side always attack the civilians in the area and we become the worst sufferers," said 70-year-old Bira Devi.

A large number of houses were damaged and livestock perished in the firing and shelling, said Devender Singh, who was leading a team that shifted the injured people to hospital during the heavy shelling.

"People living in critical zones along the border will be evacuated," he said.The BSF spokesman said that the force did not suffer any casualty.Congress and BJP said the ceasefire violations by Pakistan were a "serious" issue and it should desist from such activities."Whatever Pakistan is doing is certainly a serious matter. And we want to tell Pakistan that indulging in such activities is not good for that country," BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

Condemning Pakistan's actions, former External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said it is despicable that such incidents have occurred on Eid. "There cannot be anything worse than this," the Congress leader said.

Party leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, however, asked why Modi government was "keeping silent".

"It's most unfortunate that firing is going on from Pakistan side in Jammu and Kashmir and at this juncture any firing from across the border is very critical. It's most unfortunate that the Government is also keeping silent," he said.There have been a dozen ceasefire violations along Indo-Pak border in Jammu and Kashmir during the last 4 days.On Sunday, Pakistani troops violated ceasefire by unprovoked and heavy firing on Indian forward posts along LoC in Balnoie sub-sector of Poonch district.On October 4, Pakistani troops resorted to firing and mortar shelling along LoC in Poonch district, drawing retaliation from Army.On October 3, Pakistani troops and rangers violated ceasefire in Gulmarg sector of Kashmir Valley and in Poonch in which a girl was killed and six persons injured.On October 1 and 2, Pakistani troops violated ceasefire 2 times along LoC in Poonch district resulting in injuries to 6 people, including three women.

2) Two women arrested in connection with Burdwan blast:

Two women were arrested and remanded to police custody for two weeks on Sunday in connection with the explosion at Khagragarh here that left two suspected militants dead.Superintendent of Police S M H Mirza told PTI the two women -- Rajira Bibi alias Rumi hailing from Karimpur in Nadia and Amina Bibi hailing from Lalbagh in Murshidabad were arrested from Khargragarh on Sunday morning.

Rajira Bibi is the widow of suspected militant Shakil Ahmed, who was killed in the explosion in a house at Khagragarh on October 2, while Amina Bibi is the wife of Hasan Saheb, who was critically injured in the blast and is under treatment at BurdwanMedicalCollege and Hospital.

They had been detained on the day of the blast and were arrested on Sunday morning. They were later produced before a local court which sent them to police custody, Mirza said.

The CID of West Bengal police is looking into possible involvement of terror outfits such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami in the blast which left two suspected militants dead. Rajira Bibi had said she and her husband were staying in the house for about three months, while Amina Bibi had said she was there for about one and a half months.

It is suspected that the victims of the explosion were associated with a militant outfit as a large number of watch dials, SIM cards, and other tools required to make improvised explosive devices were found in the house, the police had said.

Besides the two suspected militants who were killed another was injured in the explosion which took place in a house at Khargragarh locality of Burdwan town on October 2.One of the two had died on the spot and was identified as Shakil Ahmed hailing from Karimpur in Nadia district. Another injured Sovan Mandal died during treatment at BurdwanMedicalCollege and Hospital

3) Stop praising Modi, Kerala Congress tells Tharoor:

The Congress in Kerala on Friday warned Shashi Tharoor against praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi but the former minister set the record straight holding that he is a “proud Congressman” and had not even remotely endorsed the “Hindutva agenda” of the Bharatiya Janata Party.Signalling that disciplinary action would be contemplated against Tharoor if he kept on lauding Modi’s initiatives, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee vice president M M Hassan said, “As a first step, we are asking him to stop praising Modi as his stance went totally against the Congress’s ideals.”Expressing strong displeasure, KPCC president V M Sudheeran said Tharoor should not be oblivious of the fact that he had been elected on a Congress ticket. “Tharoor should not forget the fact that it is the Congress that made him a member of Parliament. He should refrain from speaking against the party line,” Sudheeran said at Vatakara in Kozhikode district.

Sudheeran also indicated that, if necessary, disciplinary action would be initiated against Tharoor after consulting other leaders if he kept on eulogising Modi.Defending himself, Tharoor said his response to Modi’s call to support the “Swachh Bharat” campaign would not mean that he even remotely endorsed the BJP’s “core Hindutva” agenda and that he continued to be a “proud Congressman”.

“I am astonished that anyone would suggest that I am pro-BJP. I have a 30-year paper trail of published writings on my idea of India and my profound belief in India’s pluralism,” Tharoor, a minister in the previous United Progressive Alliance government and the second term MP from Thiruvananthapuram, said in a Facebook comment.

“Being receptive to specific statements or actions of BJP leaders does not remotely imply acceptance of the party’s core Hindutva agenda. The PM pitched his appeal as a non-political one and I received it in that spirit. I am a proud Congressman and a proud Indian. In short, not pro-BJP, just pro-India,” the former UN diplomat, said.Tharoor has responded positively to Modi’s invitation to join the ambitious Swachh Bharat campaign but wanted it to be a sustained programme instead of being “tokenism”.

4) A year after Phailin, another storm heads towards Odisha:

Exactly a year after the very severe cyclonic storm Phailin struck the state, another storm is heading towards the Odisha coast.

“The cyclonic circulation over Gulf of Siam and nearby region has already led to the formation of a low pressure area over Tenasserim coast and adjoining Andaman sea area. In next 24 hours, it may concentrate into a well marked low pressure and further intensify to depression in subsequent 24 hours”, said Sarat Sahu, Director, IMD (Indian Meteorological Department), Bhubaneswar."Our model indicate further intensification into a cyclonic storm. The low pressure area is located at around 1350 kms (kilometers) from Gopalpur and likely to impact the Andhra and Odisha coast", he added.The exact area of movement will be determined only after October 8 and 9. The state may experience heavy rainfall from October 10.If formed into a cyclonic storm, it may be christened as Hudhud, said the IMD official.

Interestingly, Phailin, the very severe cyclonic storm that hit the Odisha coast on October 12 last year was also laid as low pressure area at Tenasserim coast.

The cyclone had crossed Odisha and adjoining north Andhra Pradesh coast near Gopalpur with a sustained maximum surface wind speed of 200-210 kmph (kilometers per hour) gusting to 220 kmph.

The Phailin storm and flood triggered by it had affected 13.23 million people in 18 districts of Odisha.

The districts included Ganjam, Nayagarh, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Gajapati, Balasore, Bhadrak, Khurda, Cuttack, Keonjhar and Balasore. Ganjam had suffered the most.As many as 18374 villages under 2164 gram panchayats in 171 blocks were hit. The storm and floods had damaged 419,619 houses.

5) At Rs 72.10 cr Jaitley is richest minister; Modi has assets of Rs 1.26 cr:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assets worth Rs 1.26 crore while Defence and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stands out as the richest minister with assets totalling Rs 72.10 crore.Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu is among the union ministers who has the least assets of Rs 20.45 lakh, according to the Assets and Liabilities declared by the prime minister and other 44 members of the Council of Ministers made public on Monday.Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, daughter-in-law of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, has assets to the tune of Rs 37.68 crore. Minister of State for Coal and Power Piyush Goyal has assets of Rs 31.67 crore and is closely followed by Minorities Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla with assets to the tune of Rs 29.70 crore.

Notably, 17 out of 22 Cabinet Ministers are crorepatis including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The five cabinet ministers who are not crorepatis are Naidu with assets worth Rs 20.45 lakh, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan with Rs 39.88 lakh, Labour and Employment Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has assets worth Rs 44.90 lakh.Health Minister Harshvardhan has assets of Rs 48.54 lakh, while Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Ananth Kumar with Rs 60.62 lakh worth of assets.Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has assets to the tune of Rs 2.56 crore, while External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has assets worth Rs 2.73 crore besides some agriculture land in Palwal of Haryana.

Law and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has declared assets to the tune of Rs 14.91 crore, while Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has assets of Rs 3.34 crore.Railways Minister DV Sadananda Gowda is worth about Rs 4.34 crore, while his junior Manoj Sinha has declared assets worth Rs 29.82 crore. Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti has declared assets to the tune of Rs 1.62 crore.Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram, who is the tribal face of the Modi cabinet, has assets to the tune of Rs 1.77 crore, while Civil Aviation Minister has assets worth Rs 3.32 crore.

Mirco, Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Kalraj Mishra has assets to the tune of Rs 72.11 lakh, while Prakash Javadekar has assets of about Rs 1.05 crore. Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh has assets to the tune of Rs 2.47 crore, while Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawarchand Gehlot has assets worth about Rs 2.08 crore.The youth face of Modi's cabinet, Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani has declared assets of around Rs 4.15 crore, while Heavy Industries Minister Anant Geete has assets of Rs 1.66 crore.Minister of State for North East Gen V K Singh, who is the former army chief, has declared assets worth Rs 68.76 lakh, while Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has assets to the tune of Rs 1.03 crore.

Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh has assets of Rs 2.67 crore while MoS Home Affairs Kiran Rijiju is worth around Rs 66.55 lakh. MOS Heavy Industries P Radhakrishnan has declared his assets of around Rs 7.11 crore, while MOS Tribal Affairs Mansukhbhai Vasava has declared his assets of around Rs 69.49 lakh.Sudarshan Bhagat, the MOS for Social Justice and Empowerment, is worth Rs 44.51 lakh

6) Land deal nod Hooda govt's parting gift to Gandhi family: BJP:

Bharatiya Janata Party termed the Haryana government's approval to the land deal between Robert Vadra and DLF as its "parting gift" to the Gandhi family and questioned the Bhupinder Singh Hooda dispensation for displaying "haste" in clearing it.

The party also attacked the state government for "shying away" from moving the high court and instead "indulging in breach of hierarchy" in clearing the deal."We see it as a parting gift to the Gandhi family before the Haryana government of Congress loses it out," BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told reporters.He said before losing the government in Haryana, it is a parting gift to the Gandhi family "from one syndicate to another syndicate".Questioning the state government's haste in clearing the Vadra land deal, he asked, "Why did the government of Haryana shy away from going to the higher appealing authority, the high court in this case. Why was the government in an absolute haste to solve the problem before a particular date even when the two parties involved had no grievance."

Citing a similar case where the Punjab and Haryana high court had questioned the state government why there should not be a CBI probe into all the land deals, the BJP leader said the case was withdrawn by the petitioner allegedly "under pressure" from the state government.The BJP leader alleged that in the present case, Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner had issued orders on July 16 not to follow the instructions issued by the Director General Consolidation, who had cancelled the mutation of Vadra's land for which he had struck the deal with DLF, and is the higher appealing authority under the law.

The DC, he alleged, instead of moving the high court which is the appellate authority, issued orders terming the DG Consolidation of Land's letter as "illegal, void and without any jurisdiction"."This is akin to a lower court saying that the higher court's jurisdiction should not be followed and that the higher court's orders are erred and invalid...," Patra said.BJP also accused the Haryana government of promoting front companies for builders for "forcible and distress" sale of farmers land in the state as also for making money through clearing CLUs (Change of Land Use)."What is the modus operandi of the Haryana government in looting the people of their land in the state," he questioned, alleging that the farmers are being forced to sell their land in distress to builders.

Patra alleged that the builders first approach the farmers for their land directly or through their front companies, and after their refusal the government initiates acquisition proceedings under Section 4 and Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act."There is forcible and distress sale of farmers land due to the threat of acquisition," he said, claiming that the government gave benefits to big families, including the Gandhi family."Knowing very well that a non-corrupt government is going to take over in Haryana post-October 19, the Congress' corrupt dispensation of Haryana has seemed to act in a haste that the land the mutation of which was in dispute has legitimised and handed over as a parting gift to the 'damaad' of the Congress first family," Patra said.

Asked what its government in Rajasthan was doing in similar land deals in the state, the BJP spokesperson merely said, "Probe is on and the law will take its own course."He claimed that the BJP if voted to power in Haryana will initiate a probe on such land deals and "the guilty will not be spared".

7) Jayalalithaa refused bail, Tamil Nadu continues to grieve:

Jailed former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, undergoing four-year imprisonment in a graft case, was on Tuesday refused bail by the Karnataka high court which held that there were no grounds for it as corruption amounts to “violation of human rights” and must be dealt with seriously.

The order, that came as a blow to the 66-year-old All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief and shocked her supporters outside, was delivered by Justice A V Chandrashekhara despite the Special Public Prosecutor Bhavani Singh saying he had no objections to grant of conditional bail to her.

There “are no grounds” to give bail to Jayalalithaa. Corruption amounts to “violation of human rights” and leads to economic imbalance, the judge observed in his order delivered in a packed court room amidst tight security in the court complex.

Jayalalithaa’s lawyers are planning their next strategy on approaching the Supreme Court at the earliest to challenge the order. AIADMK MP and lawyer A Navaneethakrishnan said they are awaiting a word from Jayalalithaa who has been in the central prison since her conviction on September 27.The judge said corruption had become a “serious malady in human history” and noted that the Supreme Court has repeatedly directed that graft cases should be disposed of on top priority basis. He also held that there is no reason to extend the benefit of suspension of sentence to the four accused, including Jayalalithaa.

Justice Chandrashekhara said corruption should not be lightly dealt with. It had to be dealt with seriously as otherwise, “it will become a disease in our society”.The SPP had earlier filed objections to suspension of the sentence and bail in writing but on Tuesday told the court during hearing that conditional bail could be granted to Jayalalithaa and three others.As word of the SPP’s stance spread, celebrations broke out among delirious AIADMK supporters near the jail and the court as they burst crackers and danced in joy. But the celebrations were shortlived, giving way to a state of shock when the verdict was out. Women supporters wailed while some men laid themselves flat on the road. Pleas by Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala and her relatives V N Sudhakaran, also disowned foster son of former Tamil Nadu chief minister, and Ilavarasi, for suspension of sentence and bail were also rejected by the court.

“My client will take a call,” senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, who appeared for Jayalalithaa, said after the verdict when asked whether they will approach the Supreme Court.

Citing a court judgment, Justice Chandrashekara said “the suspension of sentence and grant of bail cannot be asked as a matter of routine (saying) that the accused was on bail during the trial and did not misuse the liberties granted”.

Azmath Pasha, counsel for Ilavarasi, said “tomorrow is holiday. We will get the verdict copy on October 9 and file Special Leave Petition on October 10 in the Supreme Court. All the four... we are approaching.”

Strongly pleading for immediate bail to Jayalalithaa, Jethmalani cited several Supreme Court verdicts, including the one granting relief to his client former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad, in the fodder scam.

The court did not accept the submission, with the judge noting that Lalu Prasad had spent 10 months in jail before being granted bail by the apex court.Jethmalani pleaded for suspension of the sentence by the special court which had sent her to four years in jail, pending her appeal against it.He also told the court, which took up the matter on Tuesday after the vacation bench had adjourned it on October 1, that the “regular practice” was to give bail. Jethmalani also said appeals should be heard within a reasonable period of time.    Criticising the judgment of the special court in the Rs 66.65-crore disproportionate case, he said assets prior to the period between 1991 and 1996 (when Jayalalithaa was chief minister) could not be taken into account. There was nothing disclosed in the conduct of Jayalalithaa to show that she might abscond, he contended.

Special News : 5,000-year Harappan stepwell found in Kutch, bigger than Mohenjo Daro's:

A 5,000-year-old stepwell has been found in one of the largest Harappan cities, Dholavira, in Kutch, which is three times bigger than the Great Bath at Mohenjo Daro. Located in the eastern reservoir of Dholavira by experts from the Archaeological Survey of India working with IIT-Gandhinagar, the site represents the largest, grandest, and the best furnished ancient reservoir discovered so far in the country.

It's rectangular and 73.4m long, 29.3m wide, and 10m deep. Another site, the ornate Rani ki Vav in Patan, called the queen of stepwells, is already on Unesco list. "This is almost three times bigger than the Great Bath of Mohenjo Daro that's 12m in length, 7m in width, and 2.4m in depth," said V N Prabhakar, visiting faculty at IIT and superintending archaeologist, ASI.

"We will conduct spot analysis in December as various surveys have indicated other reservoirs and stepwells may be buried in Dholavira," Prabhakar told TOI. "We also suspect a huge lake and an ancient shoreline are buried in the archaeological site that's one of the five largest Harappan sites and the most prominent archaeological site in India belonging to the Indus Valley civilization," he added. Experts will investigate the advanced hydraulic engineering used by Harappans for building the stepwell through 3D laser scanner, remote sensing technology and ground-penetrating radar system. "We will study how water flowed into the well and what was the idea behind water conservation," said Prabhakar. The IIT Gandhinagar team and ASI officials will also excavate various tanks, stoneware, finely furnished brick blocks, sanitation chambers and semi-precious stones hidden at the site. Precious stones like carnelian were in great demand during the Harappan era. Gujarat was the hub of bead and craft manufacturing industries. "Agate carnelian beads were also coveted," Prabhakar said.

Siddharth Rai and V Vinod of IIT-Gn are working on characterization of internal structures of various forms of pottery unearthed from the site to identify the diet followed by Harappans. "Through pottery typology, we'll find out whether different communities lived in Dholavira," Rai said. The team will also analyze precious copper and bronze artefacts.

Indian treasure, found in UK castle cupboard, up for grabs!

A Mughal-era manuscript filled with Indian miniatures discovered locked up in a cupboard inside a rural England castle is now up for sale at Sotheby's upcoming auction in London. Also on offer at the auction titled "Art of Imperial India" scheduled for October 8 is a group of albums containing historical black and photographs of India.

"The contents of the sale are very eclectic. One very old manuscript with 140 miniatures in it was discovered in a cupboard in a castle owned by the Duke of Northumberland," Edward Gibbs, Chairman and Head of the Middle East and India departments at Sotheby's, London said.

"The manuscript is quite splendid and looking at the miniatures is a very intimate experience as it was locked up so it has been preserved in pristine condition in its original binding and not subject to natural light or insects. It's an exciting find for scholars and historians and those in auction business," Gibbs said. The illustrated book, which Gibbs says is "about the size of an iPad" is likely to originate from end of 17th century.

"Interestingly the manuscript contains an earlier portrait of Shah Jahan in his old age on folio seven, and this appears to have been added at some point after the production of the work," auctioneers said.

Towards the end of the sale is featured a group of 31 albums containing over 2,000 photographs of India, Ceylon, Burma and South East Asia dating from the 1850s to the early 20th century. Sourced from London-based collector Sven Gahlin, provenances of the album date to the family of Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India among others.

"Gahlin has been slowly putting together a collection of photos of India. He has been a true pioneer in the filed going to flea markets, jumble sales and other sales. The collection runs to thousands of photos of historical places, costume studies of the courts of the maharajahs etc," Gibbs said.The photos, according to auctioneers can be broadly categorised into three categories- architecture, topographic images and generic subjects.It includes among others "views and people in Bombay, Agra, Delhi, Amritsar, Darjeeling, Kashmir, the Himalayas, Calcutta, and Ceylon."  Among the group photographs is one of the Maharajah of Kashmir and his entourage, and one of another tribal leader.

A set of photographs of the train for the Viceroy of India which was constructed in the workshops of East Indian Railway Company 1902-1904. The images include a exterior view of the train, and images of the interior including the viceroy's office, bedroom, bathroom, the dining saloon, kitchen, servant's apartment and guards compartment. It has been estimated to fetch Rs 151,454 to Rs 201,939.

Sports News This Week:

1) Double kabaddi gold for India on penultimate day of Asian Games

The Indian men's kabaddi team clinched its seventh successive gold medal at the Asian Games after coming from behind to beat a spirited Iran 27-25 in the summit clash in Incheon, South Korea on Friday.

The Indian team, which has been winning gold ever since the sport was introduced on the Asiad roster in 1990, was given a massive scare by Iran, who had finished runners-up in the 2010 edition as well.

The Iranians took a massive 10-point lead in the first 20 minutes before the Indians got their act together to nullify the deficit and edge past in the closing few minutes of the match.Earlier in the day, the Indian women's team beat Iran 31-21 for its second successive kabaddi gold medal at the Asian Games

2) Indian women clinch gold in 4x400m relay at Asian Games 2014

3) Asian Games: Indian men sink Pakistan, seal hockey gold after 16 years:

4) Mary Kom wins India's 7th gold medal at Asian Games 2014 in the Women's Fly (48-51kg) category:

5) Asian Games 2014: India end mixed campaign in eighth position with 57 medals:

The medal count went down but Indian sports still had lots to celebrate with the men's hockey team coming good after a long time to strike gold even as the legend of M C Mary Kom got bigger in a mixed Asian Games campaign for the country's athletes here.Pistol shooter Jitu Rai and freestyle grappler Yogeshwar Dutt were among the other heroes of the Games, where the Indian contingent entered with the aim to better or equal the record medal haul of 65 fetched in 2010.

The huge Indian contingent fell short of the target and emerged with a diminished tally to its credit in this growing South Korean business hub. India secured 11 gold medals, three fewer than what they collected in China four years ago, 10 silver (including the upgraded one of Manju Bala in women's hammer) and 36 bronze for a total haul of 57.
Four of those gold medals came in athletics (two) and kabaddi (two) while archery, boxing, hockey, shooting, squash, tennis and wrestling accounted for the rest.The gold medal haul also placed India in the eighth position on the medals table, two rungs below where they had finished in China.

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2014:

Patrick Modiano
Prize share: 1/1

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2014 was awarded to Patrick Modiano "for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation".

Patrick Modiano (born 30 July 1945) is a French novelist. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2014, having previously won the Austrian State Prize for European Literature in 2012 and the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca from the Institut de France for his lifetime achievement in 2010. His other awards include the Prix Goncourt in 1978 for his novel Rue des boutiques obscures and the Grand prix du roman de l'Académie française in 1972 for Les Boulevards de ceinture.

Modiano's novels all delve into the puzzle of identity, of how one can track evidence of one's existence through the traces of the past. Obsessed with the troubled and shameful period of the Occupation—during which his father had allegedly engaged in some shady dealings—Modiano returns to this theme in all of his novels, book after book building a remarkably homogeneous work. "After each novel, I have the impression that I have cleared it all away," he says. "But I know I'll come back over and over again to tiny details, little things that are part of what I am. In the end, we are all determined by the place and the time in which we were born." He writes constantly about the city of Paris, describing the evolution of its streets, its habits and its people

Books of This Weeks:

Book :Honeymoon:

Jean B., the narrator of Patrick Modiano's Honeymoon, is submerged in a world where day and night, past and present, have no demarcations. Having spent his adult life making documentary films about lost explorers, Jean suddenly decides to abandon his wife and career, and takes what seems to be a journey to nowhere. He pretends to fly to Rio to make another film, but instead returns to his own Parisian suburb to spend his solitary days recounting or imagining the lives of Ingrid and Rigaud, a refugee couple he had met twenty years before, and in whom he had recognized a spiritual anomie that seemed to reflect and justify his own. Little by little, their story takes on more reality than Jean's daily existence, as his excavation of the past slowly becomes an all-encompassing obsession.

Book : Out of the Dark

Patrick Modiano, the author of more than twenty books, is one of France?s most admired contemporary novelists. Out of the Dark is a moody, expertly rendered tale of a love affair between two drifters.

The narrator,¯writing in 1995, looks back thirty years to a time when, having abandoned his studies and selling off old art books to get by, he comes to know  Van Bever and Jacqueline, a young, enigmatic couple who seem to live off roulette winnings. He falls in love with Jacqueline; they run off to England together, where they share a few sad, aimless months, until one day she disappears. Fifteen years later, in Paris, they meet again, a reunion that only recalls the haunting inaccessibility of the past: they spend a few hours together, and the next day, Jacqueline, now married, disappears once again. Almost fifteen years after that, he sees her yet again, this time from a distance he chooses not to bridge. A profoundly affecting novel, Out of the Dark is poignant, strange, delicate, melancholy, and sadly hilarious

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