Science News This Week:
1) Ebola continues rapid spread in West Africa:
Ebola has now infected about 9,000 people and killed nearly 4,500, including 263 health care workers, the World Health Organization reported Wednesday. These numbers are probably an underestimate, WHO officials said.
Disease transmission is still rampant in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, although in some parts of those countries the number of new cases is falling. Those improvements are welcome, but overall the numbers of cases and deaths continue to climb. Countries must work to stamp Ebola out entirely, said WHO assistant director-general Bruce Aylward in a call with reporters on Tuesday. “This is Ebola. It is a horrible, unforgiving disease. You’ve got to get down to zero” cases, he said.
Senegal and Nigeria are poised to declare victory over the deadly virus. In August, a Guinean man got sick with the virus while staying with relatives in Senegal. No one else fell ill, and tests on September 5 showed the man is no longer infected. On Friday, Senegal will reach 42 days without a new case, a benchmark that WHO uses to determine whether a country is Ebola-free.
Nigeria will reach that goal on Monday. Officials are tracking 891 contacts of Nigeria’s 20 Ebola patients. Those contacts have already remained disease-free well past the virus’s incubation period of 21 days
2) Scientific breakthrough will help design antibiotics of the future:
Researchers at the University of Bristol focused on the role of enzymes in the bacteria, which split the structure of the antibiotic and stop it working, making the bacteria resistant.The new findings, published in Chemical Communications, show that it's possible to test how enzymes react to certain antibiotics.
It's hoped this insight will help scientists to develop new antibiotics with a much lower risk of resistance, and to choose the best medicines for specific outbreaks.Using a Nobel Prize-winning technique called QM/MM -- quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics simulations - the Bristol research team were able to gain a molecular-level insight into how enzymes called 'beta-lactamases' react to antibiotics.Researchers specifically want to understand the growing resistance to carbapenems, which are known as the 'last resort' antibiotics for many bacterial infections and super bugs such as E. coli.
Resistance to carbapenems makes some bacterial infections untreatable, resulting in minor infections becoming very dangerous and potentially deadly.The QM/MM simulations revealed that the most important step in the whole process is when the enzyme 'spits out' the broken down antibiotic. If this happens quickly, then the enzyme is able to go on chewing up antibiotics and the bacterium is resistant. If it happens slowly, then the enzyme gets 'clogged up' and can't break down any more antibiotics, so the bacterium is more likely to die.The rate of this 'spitting out' depends on the height of the energy barrier for the reaction -- if the barrier is high, it happens slowly; if it's low, it happens much more quickly.
Professor Adrian Mulholland, from Bristol University's School of Chemistry, said: "We've shown that we can use computer simulations to identify which enzymes break down and spit out carbapenems quickly and those that do it only slowly.
"This means that these simulations can be used in future to test enzymes and predict and understand resistance. We hope that this will identify how they act against different drugs - a useful tool in developing new antibiotics and helping to choose which drugs might be best for treating a particular outbreak."
3) Researchers develop world's thinnest electric generator:
Researchers from Columbia Engineering and the Georgia Institute of Technology report today that they have made the first experimental observation of piezoelectricity and the piezotronic effect in an atomically thin material, molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), resulting in a unique electric generator and mechanosensation devices that are optically transparent, extremely light, and very bendable and stretchable. In a paper published online October 15, 2014, in Nature, research groups from the two institutions demonstrate the mechanical generation of electricity from the two-dimensional (2D) MoS2 material. The piezoelectric effect in this material had previously been predicted theoretically.
Piezoelectricity is a well-known effect in which stretching or compressing a material causes it to generate an electrical voltage (or the reverse, in which an applied voltage causes it to expand or contract). But for materials of only a few atomic thicknesses, no experimental observation of piezoelectricity has been made, until now. The observation reported today provides a new property for two-dimensional materials such as molybdenum disulfide, opening the potential for new types of mechanically controlled electronic devices."This material -- just a single layer of atoms -- could be made as a wearable device, perhaps integrated into clothing, to convert energy from your body movement to electricity and power wearable sensors or medical devices, or perhaps supply enough energy to charge your cell phone in your pocket," says James Hone, professor of mechanical engineering at Columbia and co-leader of the research."Proof of the piezoelectric effect and piezotronic effect adds new functionalities to these two-dimensional materials," says Zhong Lin Wang, Regents' Professor in Georgia Tech's School of Materials Science and Engineering and a co-leader of the research. "The materials community is excited about molybdenum disulfide, and demonstrating the piezoelectric effect in it adds a new facet to the material."
Hone and his research group demonstrated in 2008 that graphene, a 2D form of carbon, is the strongest material. He and Lei Wang, a postdoctoral fellow in Hone's group, have been actively exploring the novel properties of 2D materials like graphene and MoS2 as they are stretched and compressed.Zhong Lin Wang and his research group pioneered the field of piezoelectric nanogenerators for converting mechanical energy into electricity. He and postdoctoral fellow Wenzhuo Wu are also developing piezotronic devices, which use piezoelectric charges to control the flow of current through the material just as gate voltages do in conventional three-terminal transistors.
There are two keys to using molybdenum disulfide for generating current: using an odd number of layers and flexing it in the proper direction. The material is highly polar, but, Zhong Lin Wang notes, so an even number of layers cancels out the piezoelectric effect. The material's crystalline structure also is piezoelectric in only certain crystalline orientations.For the Nature study, Hone's team placed thin flakes of MoS2 on flexible plastic substrates and determined how their crystal lattices were oriented using optical techniques. They then patterned metal electrodes onto the flakes. In research done at Georgia Tech, Wang's group installed measurement electrodes on samples provided by Hone's group, then measured current flows as the samples were mechanically deformed. They monitored the conversion of mechanical to electrical energy, and observed voltage and current outputs.
The researchers also noted that the output voltage reversed sign when they changed the direction of applied strain, and that it disappeared in samples with an even number of atomic layers, confirming theoretical predictions published last year. The presence of piezotronic effect in odd layer MoS2 was also observed for the first time."What's really interesting is we've now found that a material like MoS2, which is not piezoelectric in bulk form, can become piezoelectric when it is thinned down to a single atomic layer," says Lei Wang.To be piezoelectric, a material must break central symmetry. A single atomic layer of MoS2 has such a structure, and should be piezoelectric. However, in bulk MoS2, successive layers are oriented in opposite directions, and generate positive and negative voltages that cancel each other out and give zero net piezoelectric effect."This adds another member to the family of piezoelectric materials for functional devices," says Wenzhuo Wu.
In fact, MoS2 is just one of a group of 2D semiconducting materials known as transition metal dichalcogenides, all of which are predicted to have similar piezoelectric properties. These are part of an even larger family of 2D materials whose piezoelectric materials remain unexplored. Importantly, as has been shown by Hone and his colleagues, 2D materials can be stretched much farther than conventional materials, particularly traditional ceramic piezoelectrics, which are quite brittle.The research could open the door to development of new applications for the material and its unique properties.
"This is the first experimental work in this area and is an elegant example of how the world becomes different when the size of material shrinks to the scale of a single atom," Hone adds. "With what we're learning, we're eager to build useful devices for all kinds of applications."Ultimately, Zhong Lin Wang notes, the research could lead to complete atomic-thick nanosystems that are self-powered by harvesting mechanical energy from the environment. This study also reveals the piezotronic effect in two-dimensional materials for the first time, which greatly expands the application of layered materials for human-machine interfacing, robotics, MEMS, and active flexible electronics.
4) New sequencing reveals genetic history of tomatoes:
This week, an international team of researchers, led by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing, is publishing in the journal Nature Genetics a brief genomic history of tomato breeding, based on sequencing of 360 varieties of the tomato plant. The C.M. Rick Tomato Genetics Resource Center here at UC Davis played an important role in this study by providing seed of both cultivated tomato varieties and related wild species.
This study, which builds on the first tomato genome sequence completed just two years ago, shows in great detail how the processes of early domestication and modern breeding influenced the genetic makeup of cultivated tomatoes. (UC Davis researchers also led an effort to sequence the genome of a wild relative of the cultivated tomato.)
Analysis of the genome sequences of these 360 varieties and wild strains shows which regions of the genome were under selection during domestication and breeding. The study identified two independent sets of genes responsible for making the fruit of modern commercial tomatoes 100 times larger than their wild ancestors.
An important finding is that specific regions of the tomato genome were unintentionally depleted in genetic variation: for example, in DNA around genes conferring larger fruit size or genes for resistance to diseases afflicting tomato plants.
These stretches of genetic uniformity illustrate the need to increase overall genetic diversity in modern varieties and highlight the important role that the Rick Tomato Genetics Resource Center and similar collections play in housing much of the genetic variability that will be critical for future breeding and research on tomato.
5) How to Replicate Hawking Radiation in a Lab:
Jeff Steinhauer, a physicist at the Institute of Technology in Israel, has successfully devised a way of producing Hawking Radiation in a lab. The paper detailing this method was published in Nature Physics. Before we delve into it, let’s first dive into the radiation itself.
What is Hawking Radiation?
Hawking radiation is a type of electromagnetic radiation emitted by a black body, which is defined as a physical body, like a black hole, that absorbs all electromagnetic radiation. However black holes are not perfect black bodies, as Stephen Hawking predicted 40 years ago, because they emit a type of radiation known as Hawking Radiation.
More specifically, Hawking Radiation (also known as Bekenstein-Hawking Radiation) asserts that black holes, through vacuum fluctuations, bleed radiation generated from the annihilation of particle-antiparticle pairs. When one of these particles, called a virtual particle, falls into the black hole before annihilating the other, the net effect is that one particle is emitted from the black hole (outside of the event horizon, the point at which nothing that enters can escape).
As a general rule, virtual particles only comes into existence for an infinitesimally small period of time. (As an interesting side-note, from a quantum physics point of view, these particles can be generated out of nothingness, happening all throughout space indiscriminately). However, they usually annihilate each other before they meaningfully manifest. This, paired with the fact that the existence of these particles is intrinsically tied to black holes, Hawking Radiation is difficult to reproduce and even more difficult to observe. So, how did they do it?
How is it Being Recreated?
Jeff Steinauer, along with many other physicists in the field interested in studying related phenomena, approach the theory on the basis that quantum fluids can replicate the behavior of particles near the event horizon of a black hole. The experiment begins with supercooling rubidium atoms to just above absolute zero. Once the temperature is successfully brought down, lasers are used to make the atoms move at supersonic speeds, which, in turn, will cause sound waves to become trapped inside the fluid. They then behave as virtual pairs of particles, quickly appearing and disappearing when some of the particles fall in. This procedure creates a narrow, low density, very low temperature atomic Bose–Einstein condensate. It, thereby generates an analogue black-hole with an event horizon and an inner horizon.
This method took Steinhauer five years to perfect, and might be “the most robust and clear-cut evidence” that laboratory models can reproduce — as described by Daniele Faccio, an experimental physicist at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. The experiment can bring physics closer to understanding gravity, and hopefully shed light on a quantum model for gravity, as it is the only fundamental force of nature that has not been expressed in terms of quantum mechanics.
It is extremely difficult to tell whether this experiment fully mimics Hawking Radiation due to the difficulty in observing black holes and virtual particle pairs, however the paper has brought physics closer to understanding the mechanics of the daunting black hole.
Movie Release This Week:
April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.
The story of Dawson and Amanda, two former high school sweethearts who find themselves reunited after 20 years apart, when they return to their small town for the funeral of the beloved friend. Their bittersweet reunion reignites the love they've never forgotten, but soon they discover the forces that drove them apart twenty years ago live on, posing even more serious threats today. Spanning decades, this epic love story captures the enduring power of our first true love, and the wrenching choices we face when confronted with elusive second chances.
Riggan Thompson was Birdman, a crime-stopping superhero with a beak and a three-film franchise. Now, he's a washed up actor trying to get his career and life back together by opening his own play on Broadway. On the eve of it's opening, the play is close to falling apart and Riggan is forced to sign a younger, egotistical lead actor, whom he despises. What results over the next three days is strange, dark and downright hilarious, nearly costing Riggan his career, family and sanity in the process.
From producer Guillermo del Toro and director Jorge Gutierrez comes an animated comedy with a unique visual style. THE BOOK OF LIFE is the journey of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds where he must face his greatest fears. Rich with a fresh take on pop music favorites, THE BOOK OF LIFE encourages us to celebrate the past while looking forward to the future.
In Felony, starring Jai Courtney, Melissa George, Joel Edgerton, Sarah Roberts and Tom Wilkinson, three detectives become embroiled in a tense struggle after a tragic accident leaves a child in critical condition. How far will these men go to disguise and unravel the truth?
Political News This Week:
1) India successfully test-fires cruise missile Nirbhay:
India on Friday successfully test-fired its indigenously developed sub-sonic long range cruise missile, 'Nirbhay' from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, Odisha."The missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher positioned at launch pad 3 of the Integrated Test Range at about 10.03 hours," said an official soon after the flight took off from the launch ground."Flight details will be available after data retrieved from radars and telemetry points, monitoring the trajectories, are analysed," the official said.It is the second test of the sub-sonic long range cruise missile 'Nirbhay' from the ITR.
The maiden flight, conducted on March 12, 2013 could not achieve all the desired parameters as "the flight had to be terminated mid-way when deviations were observed from its intended course," sources said.
India has in its arsenal the 290 km range supersonic "BrahMos" cruise missile which is jointly developed by India and Russia. But 'Nirbhay' with long range capability is a different kind of missile being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation.Nirbhay has good loitering capability, good control and guidance, high degree of accuracy in terms of impact and very good stealth features.Low-flying cruise missiles such as the Nirbhay can easily slip past enemy air-defence systems due to small radar cross section.The Nirbhay will be configured to be launched from multiple platforms such as land, air and sea.
The missile, which could be compared with the American Tomahawk missile, has a strike range of around 750 to 1,000 km and is expected to supplement the Indo-Russian joint venture supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, which can carry warheads up to 290 km.While India is yet to have its own technology to develop supersonic or hypersonic cruise missiles, the Missile Technology Control Regime prohibits the signatories from providing technology to any other country developing a cruise missile with a range greater than or equal to 300 km.
2) SC grants Jayalalithaa bail in assets case:
In a major relief to jailed All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief J Jayalalithaa, the Supreme Court on Friday granted her bail in a disproportionate assets case in which she was sentenced to four-year jail term.A bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu stayed the sentence and warned Jayalalithaa against causing any delay by seeking adjournment in her appeal in Karnataka high court.
The bench directed Jayalalithaa to file paperbook of her appeal in the high court within two months. “If paperbook is not filed within two months, then we won’t give you even a single day more,” the bench said.It refused to dispose of the bail plea and posted the case for hearing on December 18 to ensure that Jayalalithaa complies with its order. The bench also said that it would ask the high court to dispose of her appeal within three months.In an hour-long hearing, initially the bench expressed reservation on granting bail to her, saying she had delayed the trial proceedings for years and if she is allowed to come out on bail then appeal would be decided in two decades.Senior advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for Jayalalithaa, assured the court that the matter would not be delayed, saying that he was willing to give the statement on affidavit that no adjournment would be taken by her in the high court.
“I undertake that no delay would be caused while appeal is heard by high court. It is not a game. It may have been a game before. You can record my statement,” Nariman told the bench.The apex court also granted bail to Jayalalithaa’s close aide Sasikala and her relatives V N Sudhakaran, disowned foster-son of the former chief minister, and Ilavarasi.While pressing for bail in the apex court, Jayalalithaa even pleaded that she is ready to be confined in a house for two-three months till her appeal is decided by the high court. The bench, however, said it cannot pass such an “unusual” order for house confinement and she can either be granted or denied bail.The bench asked Nariman within how many months would hearing of her appeal be completed.
Nariman replied that he requires six weeks’ time to file the paperbook as it contains 5,000 pages which have to be translated and the hearing can be completed by the high court by the end of January or February next year.Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy, who had filed a complaint against Jayalalithaa after which probe was conducted against her, strongly opposed the bail plea of the AIADMK chief.He contended that it is an exceptional case and bail be denied to her. He also raised questions on the law and order problem created in Tamil Nadu by her party workers.The bench, thereafter, asked Jayalalithaa to direct her party workers not to create such problems and said that it will take serious objection if it comes to know that the disturbances are caused by political workers on her instruction.Jayalalithaa, who was denied bail by Karnataka high court following her conviction and four year sentence in a graft case, had moved the apex court for bail on October 9.
The AIADMK chief, who has been behind bars since September 27, had challenged the HC order which had refused her bail.Jayalalithaa had pleaded that she had been sentenced to only four years jail in the case and she was also suffering from various ailments as grounds for her immediate relief.The former CM had also cited grounds of being senior citizen and woman for getting out of jail. The 66-year-old politician was denied bail by the HC on October 7 despite the special public prosecutor not objecting to grant of conditional bail to her.The special court had held Jayalalithaa and three others guilty of corruption. The court had also slapped a fine of Rs 100 crore on the AIADMK chief and Rs 10 crore fine on each of the three other convicts.
3) Burdwan blast: IEDs found in house where militants were staying:
Sleuths of the National Investigation Agency and the National Security Guard investigating the Burdwan blast on Thursday found IEDs in the attic of the two-storey house in Khagragarh where the militants were staying.
The ‘armoury’ of the militants was only 100 metres from the two-storey house at Khagragarh in Bengal’s Burdwan district where they militants were staying, sources told rediff.com.
Investigators had found the name of one Rizaul Shaikh on the palm of Abdul Hakim alias Hasan, who was injured in the October 2 explosion. NIA sleuths, while interrogating Hasan in their custody came to know that the latter had informed Shaikh about the blast around noon, and that Shaikh and his family had gone into hiding,
The NIA reached Shaikh’s residence at Badsahi Road near Khagragarh on Thursday with sniffer dogs, and discovered the ‘armoury’ in a loft above the toilet. The opening to the loft was too narrow and the NIA had to take the help of a local teenager to peep in. On being told that the space was full of ‘heavy-looking’ sacks, the NIA started digging.
The loft was laden with hand grenades and improvised explosive devices. NSG commandos thereafter took over and detonated the IEDs.
4) Haryana goes to polls in high stakes multi-cornered fight:
The fate of 1,351 candidates will be sealed by 1.63 crore voters in high-stakes multi-cornered contest in Haryana which goes to polls on Wednesday with top guns including the kin of the three famous 'Lals' battling it out in the state.After the hectic poll campaign came to an end at 6 pm on Monday, many parties on Tuesday issued advertisements in the newspapers appealing for vote for Wednesday’s polling to the 90 member state assemblyAbout 1.63 crore voters, including 87.37 lakh women, will decide the fate of 1,351 candidates, including 109 women, in 16,357 polling stations.The main contestants include top guns like Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Randeep Surjewala (Congress), former Chief Minister Om Parkash Chautala's son Abhay, daughter-in-law Naina and grandson Dushyant (Indian National Lok Dal), former Union Minister Venod Sharma and his wife Shakti Rani (Haryana Jan Chetna Party-Venod), former Member of Parliament Kuldeep Bishnoi, his wife Renuka and elder brother former Deputy Chief Minister Chander Mohan (Haryana Janhit Congres-BL).
Other main candidates include Haryana Bharatiya Janata Party President Ram Bilas Sharma and Abhimanyu (BJP), Arvind Sharma (Bahujan Samaj Party) and Gopal Kanda (Haryana Lokhit Party), who was booked in the Geetika Sharma suicide case.
Unlike in the recent past, when the fight has mainly been limited between the Congress and Indian National Lok Dal, a number of new players have thrown their hats in the ring this time.Besides the Congress and the INLD, the BJP is trying to come to power on its own for the first time since the formation of Haryana in 1966. Apart from banking on the anti-incumbency factor, the BJP is hoping that the "Modi factor" will work in its favour like in the Lok Sabha, in which it got seven of the eight seats it contested from Haryana.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi aggressively campaigned for the BJP in Haryana appealing the voters to give the party a chance to take the state on path of development.The Congress is eyeing a win for the third time in a row, mainly banking on the development card while main opposition INLD is seeking to return to power after a decade of hiatus, banking on the charisma of its President Om Prakash Chautala and consolidation of the Jat vote, besides other factors.Two new parties -- former Union Minister Venod Sharma-led Jan Chetna Party and former MP Kuldeep Bishnoi led Haryana Janhit Congress-BL are fighting the polls in alliance and both outfits will mainly bank on consolidation of the non-Jat votes.
Independent Member of Legislative Assembly Gopal Kanda's Haryana Lokhit Party, besides the BSP and the Left parties are also trying their luck.BSP has roped in former Karnal Member of Parliament and prominent Brahmin face Arvind Sharma, who is the party's chief ministerial candidate. Two-time Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, son of veteran freedom fighter late Chaudhary Ranbir Singh, is seeking re-election from his Garhi Sampla Kiloi constituency in Rohtak district.
While Haryana's famous 'Lals'-- Devi Lal, Bansi Lal and Bhajan Lal -- may have dominated the state's political landscape for decades, their progenies and kin who are contesting from different seats this time hope to keep the family name flying high.
Devi Lal's son former Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala and the latter's son Ajay Singh may be out of the contest this time in the wake of their sentencing in the teachers' recruitment scam last year, prestige is at stake for the kin who are in fray fighting from the seats represented by the jailed leaders.Chautala's another son and senior INLD leader Abhay Singh is seeking re-election from Ellenabad Assembly segment. Naina Singh, wife of Ajay Singh Chautala, has entered the poll arena from her husband's Dabwali segment and has become the first woman from Devi Lal's clan to enter politics.
Her son and Hissar MP Dushyant Chautala is fighting from Uchana Kalan, the seat represented by O P Chautala at present. The Congress has nominated Devi Lal's youngest son Ranjit Singh from Rania constituency.
Former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal's younger son and HJC President Kuldeep Bishnoi, has entered the fray from the family's pocket borough Adampur constituency while Bishnoi's wife Renuka is contesting from Hansi.
Bhajan Lal's elder son and former Deputy Chief Minister Chander Mohan is contesting from the Nalwa segment. The kin of late Bansi Lal, who was considered as the architect of modern Haryana, have again entered the fray to retain hold over their traditional turfs.
Bansi Lal's son and former Board of Control for Cricket in India President Ranbir Singh Mahendra, daughter-in-law (late Surender Singh's wife) and Haryana Minister Kiran Chaudhary and Lal's son-in-law Sombir Singh are contesting as Congress candidates from Badhra, Tosham and Loharu segments in the Bhiwani district.
Among other top guns in the fray are Haryana cabinet minister and Congress's national spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala, seeking re-election from Kaithal constituency.
The BJP's chief ministerial aspirants state unit chief Ram Bilas Sharma, party's spokesman Capt Abhimanyu and former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Manohar Lal Khattar are in the fray from Mahendargarh, Narnaund (Hissar) and Karnal assembly segments, respectively.Congress Minister Savitri Jindal is seeking re-election from Hissar segment. Savitri is the wife of former Haryana Minister late O P Jindal and mother of former MP and noted industrialist Naveen Jindal.
Another Haryana Minister Capt Ajay Singh Yadav is seeking re-election from his stronghold Rewari assembly segment for a record seventh time. Contesting an election for the first time from Safidon seat, teacher-turned-politician Vandana Sharma is the younger sister of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Vandana has entered the fray as a BJP candidate.
Haryana Jan Chetna Party chief Venod Sharma, who snapped his four-decade old ties with the Congress, is seeking re-election from AmbalaCity constituency while his wife Shakti Rani is in the fray from Kalka assembly segment.
Gopal Kanda, currently out on bail in connection with airhostess Geetika Sharma suicide case, is seeking re-election from Sirsa constituency. The total of 1,351 candidates including 109 women, the highest number in state's history, are in the electoral fray this time.Those in fray includes 90 each of the BJP and the Congress both of which are contesting all the seats. Three other National Parties BSP, Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Communist Party of India have put up 87, 14, and 17 candidates respectively. The five national parties have in all put up 298 candidates.
The four state parties have put up a total of 251 candidates - INLD (88), HJC-BL (65), HLP (75) and HJCP-V (23). INLD's ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which supports BJP in Punjab but is opposing the candidates of saffron party in Haryana, has put up two candidates.Other registered parties have put up 197 candidates and remaining 603 are Independents.The polling will take place from 7 am to 6 pm on Wednesday and counting of votes will take place on October 19. The Congress had failed to get the required majority of 45 in the 90-member state assembly in the 2009 assembly polls, but Hooda managed to form the government after five Haryana Janhit Congress (BL) MLAs deserted their party and merged with the Congress, which also got the support of seven Independents and a lone BSP member.
Five HJC (BL) MLAs -- Satpal Sangwan, Vinod Bhayana, Rao Narender Singh, Zile Ram Chochra and Dharam Singh Chhokar -- had 'merged' the party with the Congress leaving their party Chief Kuldeep Bishnoi, who was also elected, alone in the HJC.
Justice K Kannan of the Punjab and Haryana high court in his verdict on October 9, 2014 while allowing the writ petition filed by Kuldeep Bishnoi, president of HJC challenging the merger, termed the order of speaker as bad in law.
The judge held that there was no proof of merger of the original political party and the decision of the speaker was against constitutional mandate.
5) Cyclone-hit Vizag limps back to normalcy:
The port city of Visakhapatnam was limping back to normalcy on Wednesday with restoration of essential supplies and public transportation services, three days after it was battered by cyclone Hudhud.
The residents of Visakhapatnam have been reeling under a crisis as electricity and daily need items like milk were not available and communication network had virtually collapsed due to the devastation caused by the cyclone which struck on Sunday.
The state government has begun efforts to resume electricity supply. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who has been camping in the city to oversee relief operations, directed officials to supply a package of food items like rice, daal, edible oil and some vegetables to the victims.Naidu said the exact financial loss caused by Hudhud are yet to be calculated even as initial estimates indicate that it can go up to Rs 70,000 crore. The situation in north coastal districts is still grim and all efforts are being made to bring back normalcy as far as power supply is concerned, Naidu told reporters.
"It is very difficult to assess the damage and loss caused by the cyclone. We cannot come to a figure now. Our immediate priority is to conduct rescue and relief operations in the cyclone-hit areas," Naidu said.
In the wake of complaints that some traders are trying to exploit the situation by selling various items at exorbitant prices, Naidu has said vegetables would be provided at a low price.With resumption of transportation to Visakhapatnam from other places in the state following removal of uprooted trees and other debris, vegetables and milk are now arriving in the city, officials said.The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation, a major mode of public transportation in AP, said in a release in Hyderabad on Tuesday that bus services in the cyclone-hit districts of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts have been resumed.The South Central Railway opened up rail route to Visakhapatnam on Tuesday after repairing the track breaches on the Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam section.
The cyclone, accompanied by gusty winds with a speed of about 180 kmph and heavy rains, left a trail of destruction behind in Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts in coastal Andhra Pradesh.Uprooted trees and electric poles have become a common sight in the cyclone-hit districts with most parts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam languishing in darkness following the onslaught of the cyclonic storm.Naidu ensured the people that power is expected to be partially restored in some places by the evening or tomorrow.According to the state disaster management department, 25 people have been killed in various rain-related incidents till late last night.Over 1.35 lakh people were provided shelter in relief camps and 6,85,000 people have been provided food.Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the port city on Tuesday and announced an interim assistance of Rs 1,000 crore to take up immediate relief works. He also announced Rs two lakh to the next of kin of those killed in the cyclone and Rs 50,000 to the injured.
6) Indian American scientist Subra Suresh honoured:
A top Indian American scientist who heads the prestigious Carnegie Mellon University, will be inducted into the Institute of Medicine in recognition of his research into cell mechanics related to malaria, blood diseases and certain types of cancer.
Subra Suresh, would be one of the only 16 living Americans to be elected to all 3 national academies -- IOM, National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering.Suresh is the first Carnegie Mellon faculty member to hold membership in all three academies.
Before becoming president of CMU last year, he served as director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), a USD 7-billion independent government science agency charged with advancing all fields of fundamental science, engineering research and education.
He has also been elected a fellow or honorary member of all the major materials research societies in the United States and India.Suresh received his Bachelor of Technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, a master's degree from Iowa State University and Doctor of Science degree from MIT.
Following postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, he joined the faculty of engineering at Brown University in December 1983.
He joined MIT in 1993 as the R P Simmons Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and served as head of MIT's Department of Materials Science and Engineering during 2000-2006.
In 2011, Suresh was awarded the Padma Shri.
7) Pakistan violates ceasefire twice along LoC, IB:
Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire twice by firing on forward posts along the LoC and International Border in Poonch and Jammu districts, drawing retaliation from the army. There have been four ceasefire violations along the IB and LoC in Jammu and Poonch districts during the past over 24 hours."Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire and resorted to small arms and automatic weapons firing on Indian posts along the LoC in Hamirpur sector of Poonch district around 8:55 pm last night, a senior army officer said today.
Troops gave a befitting reply to the Pakistani firing, resulting in exchanges which continued till 9:20 pm. There was no loss of life or injury to anyone in the firing.Pakistani rangers resorted to firing on BoPs in Makwal and Allah Mahi Da Kothay areas in Jammu district on Friday evening, a BSF officer said, adding, "it was a minor firing".
Earlier, Pakistani troops had violated the ceasefire in Hamirpur sector twice on Thursday night and Friday morning, drawing retaliation from Indian troops. Pakistan had earlier violated the ceasefire by resorting to firing and mortar shelling along the LoC in Saujian-Kirni-Shahpur belts of Poonch on October 15 in which seven-year-old Riyaz of Kuiyian Gotirian village was injured.
Meanwhile, a villager injured in Pakistani mortar shelling succumbed to injuries in Government Medical College Hospital in Jammu on Friday, taking the toll to nine in recent incidents of ceasefire violations.The IB and LoC in Jammu region have witnessed heavy firing and mortar shelling by Pakistani troops since October 1, leaving nine persons dead and over 95 injured, including 13 security men. Around 30,000 people have fled their border homes leaving 113 hamlets deserted along the IB.
Sports News This Week:
1) Kohli century sets up series win:
India 330 for 6 (Kohli 127, Raina 71, Rahane 68) beat West Indies 271 (Samuels 112, Bhuvneshwar 2-25, Akshar 2-26) by 59 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball detailsVirat Kohli cracked his 20th ODI hundred, Suresh Raina and Ajinkya Rahane made fifties as India comfortably downed a seemingly eager-to-leave West Indies in Dharamsala. The news that West Indies' tour had been cut short due to the players' payment dispute with their board broke during India's innings, and the visitors backed that up with shoddy fielding and bowling performances. Marlon Samuels overcame a struggle of a start to make his seventh ODI century, but barring Andre Russell's belated and brief blitz, the rest of the line-up sank after India had racked up 330. India took the five-match series 2-1, with the third ODI washed out by a cyclone and the fifth cancelled by West Indies' pullout.There was more bounce in the Dharamsala track than on most Indian ODI pitches, but it was useful to the bowling side only when backed by serious pace. West Indies weren't really willing to bend their backs barring the odd occasion. They were eager to bowl short, though, and continued to do so throughout the innings. And India kept hooking and pulling harmless stomach-high bouncers to the short boundaries.
As early as the first ball of the second over, Shikhar Dhawan showed there was nothing to worry about the bouncers short on intent as he pulled Jason Holder for four. West Indies refused to learn and Dhawan helped himself to easy boundaries.
Ajinkya Rahane was timing the ball superbly at the other end, caressing full deliveries both sides of the wicket. West Indies tried bowling wide with a packed off-side field, but he disturbed those plans by stepping out and going leg side.
The stand had grown to 70 in the 12th over when Russell combined pace with bounce and Dhawan, not for the first time, top-edged an awkward hook to the deep. West Indies had an opportunity to claw back further in Russell's next over, but Jerome Taylor spilled a simple chance at fine leg off another top-edged hook, reprieving Rahane on 38.Kohli, at No. 4, had made his first fifty across Tests and ODIs since February in the previous game. Back at his usual No. 3 position today, he had his ODI-autopilot mode on from ball one, to which he leaned forward solidly and pushed a single to cover. There was some turn and bounce for the spinners, and Kohli wasn't going to go after anything unless it was too wide or short. He and Rahane collected 72 at just under five an over without taking any risk, and it took an incorrect leg-before decision against Rahane, on 68, to break the partnership.India were 142 for 2 when Rahane went in the 27th over. Kohli and Raina nearly doubled that with a 138-run stand that took 108 balls.
West Indies had gone overboard with the short ball; they weren't going to hold back against Raina. But even he wasn't troubled with their half-hearted, predictable offerings as he swiped and pulled five sixes on way to 71 off 58.
Raina and Kohli collected 52 off the batting Powerplay, and India took 94 off the last ten overs as West Indies, who had been threatening to do so all the time, completely lost it in the field. The dropped chances, overthrows and misfields piled up.
Kohli reached his hundred on an overthrow off his 101st delivery, and he and MS Dhoni were both put down in the same over. Kohli ended with 127 off 114.Samuels responded with 112 off 106 and was last man out as the rest crumbled around him, despite the considerable dew soaking the outfield in the cool mountain weather. Samuels was peppered with bouncers, especially by Mohammed Shami, when he came in but he survived and hit back with the odd boundary before taking 47 off the 29 deliveries he faced from Ravindra Jadeja.
Jadeja went for 2 for 80 from nine overs, while the second left-arm spinner in the XI, Akshar Patel, returned 2 for 26 from ten. Akshar conceded just one boundary from his quota, and broke the 56-run third-wicket stand between Samuels and Darren Bravo, who fell for a steady 40.Bhuvneshwar Kumar had tied up the top order with prodigious swing under lights. Kieron Pollard, promoted to No. 3, could not put bat to ball, unable to figure out which way it was swinging. When Bhuvneshwar ended Pollard's crawl on 6 off 31, West Indies were 27 for 2 in 11 overs. West Indies kept losing wickets, and though Russell powered 46 off 23 at No. 8, they had already slipped too far behind on the asking-rate.
2) Indian Super League: A paradigm shift in Indian football:
Jeje, Sabeeth, Manandeep, Subrata Pal, Gouramangi, how many of you'll know who are they? If you follow Indian football, these are very familiar/known names.But unfortunately, majority of the population don't know anyone from the list of people I mentioned above. Who they know are people like John Abraham, Ranbeer Kapoor, Sachin Tendulkar, Abhishek Bachchan, Neeta Ambani, etc.
In 2010, IMG-R approached the All India Football Federation and undertook the marketing rights for the I-League. They tried to lure in corporate firms and diversify the entertainment aspect around the league. IMG also had a first hand experience of the very much successful Major League Soccer (MLS) in the USA. A similar approach to the local football was the plan on paper. It was sad that things did not go as planned and the IMG-R team faced a lot of criticism from the I-League clubs.
In 2013, IMG-R decided to let go of the I-League. It approached the AIFF and floated the concept of the ISL. AIFF faced strong opposition from the I-League clubs in releasing their players. Many also feared the loss in Brand Equity to their own team. AIFF did not want any kind of rebel whatsoever like we saw in Cricket: IPL and ICL a few years back.
India has a huge appetite for football following. Unfortunately, this was filled by European Leagues. Football fans are majorly influenced by big names, big clubs, big tournaments, etc. Philosophy, style of play, tempo, usually are not considered as much.
ISL is a perfect platform where we can attract the masses through big footballing names, known ‘celebs’ and a geographical/emotional connection with the teams from all the
The way forward?
It is too early to say how this will work in the long term. It is a proven concept in the country with Cricket and Kabaddi, and also the MLS in the USA. Some of the early criticism which I heard lately were:
1. IMG-R should have rather invested in the I-League – Well, IMG-R tried but had limited role to play in the I-League and most of the clubs were skeptical. ISL gave IMG-R complete freedom to build the boat from scratch.
2. The quality of football is very low! - Yes, it is! It has always been. Most of us are used to the quality of football in Europe. India stands nowhere close. But you cannot expect one League to come in and directly take the football quality to the next level. This is a perfect reality check for all of us here, with some glamour!
3. The duration is just a few months, hence No development of Football! - Agreed. But again this is the debut year, let's hope that the ISL adds two new teams every year and hence increasing not only the number of players and cities, but also the length of the competition.
Hopefully 6-7 years down the line we get to see a full fledged league with 18-20 teams, playing each other over 10 months! Come one India, Let's Football!
3) Atletico de Kolkata gave the football-crazy city fans a night to remember in their 3-0 drubbing of Mumbai City FC:
as the inaugural Hero Indian Super League football tournament kicked off in spectacular fashion after a star-studded opening ceremony.
It was Fikru Teferra who struck the first goal of the ISL to give the home franchise a 27th minute lead to bring the 70,000 capacity crowd at the Salt Lake Stadium to their feet, while Borja Fernandez's stunning volley from the edge of the box delighted one and all with some top quality stuff.
4) Atletico de Kolkata Destroy NorthEast United FC 2-0:
Goals from Fukri and Podany gave Atletico de Kolkata their second successive win in the Indian Super League.
5) NorthEast United Beat Kerala Blasters 1-0:
Playing in front of thunderous crowds at Guwahati, NorthEast United put on a spirited show to beat Sachin Tendulkar-owned Kerala Blasters 1-0
6) Del Piero Dazzles on Debut as Delhi, Pune Play Out Goal-less Draw:
Delhi Dynamos were better but wasteful as they paid the price for their profligacy even as Alessandro del Piero's presence failed to break the deadlock in their barren draw against FC Pune City in the Indian Super League here on Tuesday.
Alessandro del Piero did not start, much to the disappointment of the 30000-odd turnout at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, but the Italian and Juventus legend was introduced in the 37th minute amid the loudest cheers from a fairly packed Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
7) Chennaiyin FC Edge Past Hosts FC Goa in Indian Super League:
In a pulsating Indian Super League (ISL) encounter, Chennaiyin FC edged past hosts Goa FC 2-1 as forward Balwant Singh, who scored for the visitors, became the first Indian goalscorer in the tournament at the Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium on Wednesday. Chennaiyin, co-owned by Abhishek Bachchan and Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, went ahead with Balwant etching his name in the history books with his 32nd minute strike.Substitute Arnal Llibert (90+3rd) gave the Kolkatans enough reasons to celebrate by turning Fikru's cross from the right to give a perfect ending to the match of the league touted to change the landscape of Indian football.
Book Of This Week:
The Red Lily Crown: A Novel of Medici Florence by Elizabeth Loupas:
April, 1574, Florence, Italy. Grand Duke Cosimo de’ Medici lies dying. The city is paralyzed with dread, for the next man to wear the red lily crown will be Prince Francesco: despotic, dangerous, and obsessed with alchemy.
Chiara Nerini, the troubled daughter of an anti-Medici bookseller, sets out to save her starving family by selling her dead father’s rare alchemical equipment to the prince. Instead she is trapped in his household—imprisoned and forcibly initiated as a virgin acolyte in Francesco’s quest for power and immortality. Undaunted, she seizes her chance to pursue undreamed-of power of her own.Witness to sensuous intrigues and brutal murder plots, Chiara seeks a safe path through the labyrinth of Medici tyranny and deception. Beside her walks the prince’s mysterious English alchemist Ruanno, her friend and teacher, driven by his own dark goals. Can Chiara trust him to keep her secrets even to love her or will he prove to be her most treacherous enemy of all?
genre : Historical Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers, Romance
influences : Dorothy Dunnett, Elizabeth Goudge, Mary Stewart, Rumer Godden, Cecelia Holland
I live near the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas.
I hate housework, cold weather, and wearing shoes. I love animals, gardens, and popcorn. Not surprisingly I live in a state of happy barefoot chaos with my delightful and faintly bemused husband (the Broadcasting Legend™), my herb garden, my popcorn popper, and two beagles.