Science News This Week:
1) Ebola's evolutionary roots more ancient than previously thought:
A New study is helping to rewrite Ebola's family history. The research shows that filoviruses -- a family to which Ebola and its similarly lethal relative, Marburg, belong -- are at least 16-23 million years old
Filoviruses likely existed in the Miocene Epoch, and at that time, the evolutionary lines leading to Ebola and Marburg had already diverged, the study concludes.The research was published in the journal PeerJ in September. It adds to scientists' developing knowledge about known filoviruses, which experts once believed came into being some 10,000 years ago, coinciding with the rise of agriculture. The new study pushes back the family's age to the time when great apes arose.
"Filoviruses are far more ancient than previously thought," says lead researcher Derek Taylor, PhD, a University at Buffalo professor of biological sciences. "These things have been interacting with mammals for a long time, several million years."
According to the PeerJ article, knowing more about Ebola and Marburg's comparative evolution could "affect design of vaccines and programs that identify emerging pathogens."The research does not address the age of the modern-day Ebolavirus. Instead, it shows that Ebola and Marburg are each members of ancient evolutionary lines, and that these two viruses last shared a common ancestor sometime prior to 16-23 million years ago.
Clues in 'fossil genes'
Taylor and co-author Jeremy Bruenn, UB professor of biological sciences, research viral "fossil genes" -- chunks of genetic material that animals and other organisms acquire from viruses during infection.In the new study, the authors report finding remnants of filovirus-like genes in various rodents. One fossil gene, called VP35, appeared in the same spot in the genomes of four different rodent species: two hamsters and two voles. This meant the material was likely acquired in or before the Miocene Epoch, prior to when these rodents evolved into distinct species some 16-23 million years ago.In other words: It appears that the known filovirus family is at least as old as the common ancestor of hamsters and voles.
"These rodents have billions of base pairs in their genomes, so the odds of a viral gene inserting itself at the same position in different species at different times are very small," Taylor says. "It's likely that the insertion was present in the common ancestor of these rodents."The genetic material in the VP35 fossil was more closely related to Ebola than to Marburg, indicating that the lines leading to these viruses had already begun diverging from each other in the Miocene.The new study builds on Taylor's previous work with Bruenn and other biologists, which used viral fossil genes to estimate that the entire family of filoviruses was more than 10 million years old. However, those studies used fossil genes only distantly related to Ebola and Marburg, which prevented the researchers from drawing conclusions about the age of these two viral lines.
The current PeerJ publication fills this viral "fossil gap," enabling the scientists to explore Ebola's historical relationship with Marburg.
Possible relevance to disease prevention
The first Ebola outbreak in humans occurred in 1976, and scientists still know little about the virus' history. The same dearth of information applies to Marburg, which was recognized in humans in 1967 and implicated in the death of a Ugandan health worker this month.Understanding the virus' ancient past could aid in disease prevention, Taylor says. He notes that if a researcher were trying to create a single vaccine effective against both Ebola and Marburg, it could be helpful to know that their evolutionary lineages diverged so long ago.Knowing more about filoviruses in general could provide insight into which host species might serve as "reservoirs" that harbor undiscovered pathogens related to Ebola and Marburg, Taylor says.
"When they first started looking for reservoirs for Ebola, they were crashing through the rainforest, looking at everything -- mammals, insects, other organisms," Taylor says. "The more we know about the evolution of filovirus-host interactions, the more we can learn about who the players might be in the system."
2) 3-D map of the adolescent universe:
Using extremely faint light from galaxies 10.8-billion light years away, scientists have created one of the most complete, three-dimensional maps of a slice of the adolescent universe. The map shows a web of hydrogen gas that varies from low to high density at a time when the universe was made of a fraction of the dark matter we see today.
The new study, led by Khee-Gan Lee and his team at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in conjunction with researchers at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley, will be published in an upcoming issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters.
In addition to providing a new map of part of the universe at a young age, says David Schlegel of Berkeley Lab, the work demonstrates a novel technique for high-resolution universe maps. The new technique, which uses distant galaxies to backlight hydrogen gas, might inform future mapping projects, he says. One such project could be the proposed Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI). Managed by Berkeley Lab, DESI has the goal of producing the most complete map of the universe yet."DESI was designed without the possibility of extracting such information from the most distant, faint galaxies," says Schlegel, "Now that we know this is possible, DESI promises to be even more powerful."
The first big 3D map of the universe was created using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), which began in 1998. Over the years, the survey has provided data to make a high-resolution map of the nearby universe, within about 1-billion light years. Recent telescope upgrades have stretched our ability to map the universe to about 6-billion light years, but, according to Schlegel, it's a fairly crude map with incomplete data in some areas. The next generation of maps will come from the DESI project, scheduled to begin operation in 2018 pending funding. DESI will allow scientists to visualize 10 times the volume of SDSS and will extend about 10-billion light years away.
Artist's impression illustrating the technique of Lyman-alpha tomography: as light from distant background galaxies (yellow arrows) travel through the Universe towards Earth, they are imprinted by the absorption signatures from hydrogen gas tracing in the foreground cosmic web. By observing a number of background galaxies in a small patch of the sky, astronomers were able to create a 3D map of the cosmic web using a technique similar to medical computer tomography (CT) scans. Credit: Khee-Gan Lee (MPIA) and Casey Stark (UC Berkeley)Beyond 10-billion light years, says Schlegel, the expectation was that the map would become sparse. The reason: astronomers planned to use a familiar technique that uses the bright light of quasars, which are, unfortunately, scattered and few. The technique uses a phenomenon called Lyman-alpha forest absorption, which relies on the fact that vast clouds of hydrogen exist between Earth and distant quasars and galaxies. At a certain distance, as measured by the red shift of the light, astronomers can determine the density of hydrogen, based on the absorption of quasar light. The problem is that this only provides information about the presence of hydrogen along the line of sight, not over a larger volume of space.
"It's a pretty weird map because it's not really 3D," explains Schlegel. "It's all these skewers; we don't have a picture of what's between the quasars, just what's along the skewers."The researchers believe their new technique, which uses the faint light of numerous distant galaxies instead of that of sparse quasars, can fill in the gaps between these skewers.Before this study, no one knew if galaxies further than 10-billion light years away could provide enough light to be useful, Schlegel says. But earlier this year, the team collected four hours of data on the Keck-1 telescope during a brief break in cloudy skies. "It turned out to be enough time to prove we could do this," Schlegel says.Of course, the galaxies' light was indeed exceedingly faint. In order to use it for a map, the researchers needed to develop algorithms to subtract light from the sky that would otherwise drown out the galactic signals. Schlegel developed the algorithm to do this, while Casey Stark and Martin White of UC Berkeley modified an existing algorithm, called a Wiener filter, to create the 3D map within a minute on a standard laptop computer.
Because the project was a proof-of-concept, the researchers are planning future Keck-1 telescope time to extend the volume of space they map. "This technique is pretty efficient and it wouldn't take a long time to obtain enough data to cover volumes hundreds of millions of light years on a side," says Khee-Gan Lee.This research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science and used the facilities of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) located at Berkeley Lab.
3) Engineered plants demolish toxic waste:
Greenery may one day clean up the chemical fallout of oil spills and air pollution.
Wielding the metabolic machinery of microbes, plants can now digest polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, the ubiquitous chemicals known as PAHs that ooze from oil spills and settle out from smog. The vegetation is still in early stages of development, but scientists are hopeful that it may act as green cleanup crews in future dirty environments. Plant-based scrubbings could be around one-tenth the cost of current methods to clean up contamination, such as harmful PAHs, researchers say.
The United States spends billions of dollars each year cleaning up dangerous waste sites. Global costs are estimated to reach up to $50 billion. The expense of the work — which often covers excavating contaminated land or pumping in chemical treatments — often results in waste sites being deserted without any cleanup.
4) Designer 'barrel' proteins created:
Proteins are long linear molecules that fold up to form well-defined 3D shapes. These 3D molecular architectures are essential for biological functions such as the elasticity of skin, the digestion of food, and the transport of oxygen in blood.
Despite the wide variety of tasks that natural proteins perform, they appear to use only a limited number of structural types, perhaps just a few thousand or so. These are used over and over again, being altered and embellished through evolution to generate many different functions. This raises the question: are more protein structures possible than those used and presented to us by nature?A team from Bristol's School of Chemistry and School of Biochemistry, headed by Professor Dek Woolfson, have addressed this by designing humanmade protein molecules from scratch.
Although the design principles used are learned from natural proteins, from which the team develops rules for assembling their proteins, some of the designed protein shapes are completely new and have not been observed in nature yet.
Specifically, the scientists have made proteins with central cavities, or channels, running through them. The team believes that these will be useful in designing new protein functions, such as catalysts for breaking down fats, or molecules that span cell membranes to allow new communications between cells.Professor Woolfson said: "This is a really exciting time to be exploring what can be done with biological principles and building blocks to make new and useful molecules, but completely outside the context of biology itself. It is one aspect of the emerging field of synthetic biology, in which Bristol is taking a lead both nationally and internationally."This work has been highly collaborative combining computational modelling, peptide chemistry, biophysics and protein X-ray crystallography across the Schools of Chemistry (Drew Thomson, Antony Burton, Gail Bartlett and Dek Woolfson) and Biochemistry (Richard Sessions and Leo Brady), and an South West Doctoral Training Partnership student (Chris Wood) working between the two Schools.
5) Mystery fossils belonged to giant ostrichlike dinosaur:
Behemoth bones reveal a fish-eating Cretaceous creature.Almost 50 years after paleontologists in the Mongolian desert dug up mysterious dinosaur fossils taller than most people, scientists have now put a fish-eating face to the bones.
The fossils probably belonged to a gigantic type of ostrichlike dinosaur, named Deinocheirus mirificus, or “unusual horrible hand” for its massive forearms and claws, two recently discovered skeletons suggest.Because the original fossils were mainly just arms, no one knew exactly where to place Deinocheirus in the dino family tree. The bones resembled those of other ostrich dinosaurs but seemed too big: At 2.4 meters long, about the length of a full-sized sofa, the forelimbs dwarfed known specimens. In fact, Deinocheirus’s burly bones stretched longer than the arms of any other bipedal animal.
The new fossils flesh out Deinocheirus’s skeleton and lifestyle, paleontologist Yuong-Nam Lee of the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources in Daejeon and colleagues report October 22 in Nature. Deinocheirus probably was an ostrichlike dinosaur after all, scientists conclude — just an unusually huge one.
At about 6,000 kilograms, more than twice the weight of a Hummer H2, and taller than a one-story building, Deinocheirus may have acted like a giant vacuum cleaner. Some 70 million years ago, the dino probably slurped fish and flora from the bottom of Cretaceous lakes with its ducklike bill and massive tongue
Movies Release This Week:
An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him. With New York City as his bullet-riddled playground, JOHN WICK (Keanu Reeves) is a fresh and stylized take on the "assassin genre
Maggie (McCarthy), a single mother, moves into a new home in Brooklyn with her 12-year old son, Oliver (Lieberher). Forced to work long hours, she has no choice but to leave Oliver in the care of their new neighbor, Vincent (Murray), a retired curmudgeon with a penchant for alcohol and gambling. An odd friendship soon blossoms between the improbable pair. Together with a pregnant stripper named Daka (Watts), Vincent brings Oliver along on all the stops that make up his daily routine - the race track, a strip club, and the local dive bar. Vincent helps Oliver grow to become a man, while Oliver begins to see in Vincent something that no one else is able to: a misunderstood man with a good heart.
For five friends, it was a chance for a summer getaway— a weekend of camping in the Texas Big Thicket. But visions of a carefree vacation are shattered with an accident on a dark and desolate country road. In the wake of the accident, a bloodcurdling force of nature is unleashed—something not exactly human, but not completely animal— an urban legend come to terrifying life…and seeking murderous revenge.
Sam is a killer by trade, a former assassin who was part of a group known as the Shadow Syndicate, whose business is death. But when Sam falls in love with a beautiful Thai girl (Mali), he tries to leave his former life. They flee to the hills of Thailand where Sam tries to live a normal life with his wife and newborn son (Shiro), but the Syndicate finds him and threatens his family. After a violent confrontation, Sam realizes he can't run from his past, but can only live to protect his son. He forges a mystical blade before embarking on a journey across the globe to exact vengeance on them all.
When atrocities are committed in countries held hostage by ruthless dictators, Human Rights Watch sends in the E-Team (Emergencies Team), a collection of fiercely intelligent individuals hired to document war crimes and report them to the rest of the world. Within this volatile climate, filmmakers Ross Kauffman and Katy Chevigny take us to the frontline in Syria and Libya, where shrapnel, bullet holes, and unmarked graves provide mounting evidence of coordinated attacks conducted by Bashar al-Assad and the now-deceased Muammar Gaddafi. The crimes are rampant, random, and often undocumented, making E-Team's effort to get information out of the country and into the hands of media outlets and criminal courts all the more necessary.
Political News This Week:
1) 'Uddhav keen on coalition govt with BJP':
Republican Party of India chief Ramdas Athawale on Friday claimed that Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray was "very keen" on coalition with its estranged ally Bharatiya Janata Party for formation of a government in Maharashtra.
"Uddhav Thackeray told me that he is very keen on forming the next government in alliance with the BJP...Details of how the portfolios will be shared will be revealed once the talks take place in the next two days. But there is no doubt about the alliance of both parties now. Uddhav is completely ready to support the BJP," Athawale told PTI after meeting the Sena chief in Mumbai on Friday afternoon. The RPI is a part of BJP-led alliance in Maharashtra which fought the assembly elections. Before it parted ways, Sena too was a part of this alliance.
Asked if Thackeray will attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Diwali dinner for National Democratic Alliance allies on October 26, Athawale said, "It does not really matter whether Uddhav attends the dinner or not. (Union minister) Anant Geete and other Sena MPs will attend."Athawale also claimed that the tension between the two saffron allies during the campaigning -- when the Shiv Sena had launched a sharp attack on the BJP -- was now a thing of the past, and the relations would be normal soon.
The BJP has emerged as the single largest party in the just-concluded state elections, but does not have majority. While it won 122 seats of the 288-member house, Sena won 63.
2) Major airports on high alert after threat of terror attack on flight:
A threat of a bomb explosion or a possible suicide attack on an Air India flight from Mumbai sparked an alert with authorities beefing up security at major airports across the country. A high alert has been sounded in the Mumbai, Kochi and Ahmedabad airports.
Airport Director A K C Nair told PTI that they received information from Kolkata that there is a threat to the AI flight on the Mumbai-Kochi sector on October 25 and Ahmedabad-Mumbai sector on Friday night.
"There was a threat of bomb attack or bomb suicide attack," he said.A high-level meeting was convened this morning by Central Industrial Security Force Deputy Inspector General Anand Mohan, who arrived in Kochi from Chennai, to review the security at the airport.The Director of Airports Authority of India, Kolkata, had received an anonymous call on Thursday night stating that AI flights on the Ahmedabad-Mumbai and Mumbai-Kochi sector will be 'sabotaged', airport sources said.
The information had been handed over to police and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and as per their directions security has been tightened at the airport, the sources said.A Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad, Quick Response team, CISF and police are keeping a constant vigil at the airports. Security at the Kochi airport perimeter entrance has also been further tightened.
3) Cong won't be embarrassed if any ex-minister on black money list':
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday dismissed Finance Minister Arun Jaitleys' remarks that disclosure of the names of black money account holders can embarrass Congress amid speculation that the list could include a former United Progressive Alliance minister. "These are individual transgressions, individual violations of law. Individual should be embarrassed. Why should the party be embarrassed? …If there is the name of any minister, it will embarrass him. Why should it embarrass the party? He is not keeping the account of the party. The party did not authorise him to keep that account," he said.
Chidambaram alleged that the government's affidavit in the Supreme Court arguing that it cannot disclose the names was "clearly a U-turn" of the Bharatiya Janata Party's earlier position on the issue as it had criticised the UPA government on the same position.Talking about the party leadership, Chidambaram said that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi should "speak more" and put in action a timetable that would enable the party to play the role of a "true opposition" at a time when the morale of party cadres is "pretty low". He also said that the reorganisation of the party was due for the larger task of being an "efffective, strong and robust opposition" to the government.Chidambaram said that Congress President Sonia Gandhi was "numero uno" in the organisation and that the decision in Jaipur in January 2013 to make Rahul Gandhi the vice president was "perhaps the correct decision". Steering clear of questions about clamour within a section of the party for Priyanka Gandhi, he urged the Congress president and the vice president "to speak more. I would urge them to address more rallies, urge them to meet the media..." "I agree that the Congress (cadres') morale is pretty low. But I don't agree that the morale cannot be lifted. Direction cannot be given...I am sure the Congress leadership has a timetable.”"I would urge again that timetable be shortened and we get on with the job of a reorganising the party and getting on with the job of being true opposition," he told NDTV, replying to a question about doubts being expressed about Rahul Gandhi's leadership.
Asked can a non-Gandhi become the Congress President, he said, "I think so. Someday yes", but was quick to add, "I do not know" when asked about the timeline for such an eventuality.”"I am too old to aspire for anything now," he, at the same time, said. His remarks have come at a time when the process of organisational elections has been set in motion, which will culminate into the election of the new party chief by July end next year. Sonia Gandhi is the longest serving party chief being at the helm since March 1998.To a question as to why the party was over-dependent on one family to lead it, he said, "It so happens that he (Rahul Gandhi) belongs to that family but that does not mean other younger leaders cannot emerge. After all Sachin Pilot has emerged."
The former finance minister dismissed suggestions that the party leadership was not talking even to party workers. "That is not right. I do see them at regular intervals. They do talk to me and I assume that there are others. I would urge them to talk to the public," Chidambaram said when asked about a perception that Congress has become a rudderless ship as Sonia and Rahul are seen or heard very rarely.
His remarks are significant as there has been criticism that lack of communication was one of the reasons for the party's debacle in Lok Sabha elections.Asked whether he was disappointed by the fact that Sonia has ceded the space and left it to her son, he said, "The question must be put to her. But I think the creation of the post of a vice president and installing Rahul Gandhi to that post was a deliberate strategy to handover the baton to next generation of leadership."This, he said, was happening at every level. "I don't think there is anything wrong with that. I think the decision in Jaipur was perhaps the correct decision welcomed with great enthusiasm not only in the party but even from people outside the party."On the issue of leadership, he said, "The most acceptable leader of the party of my generation is Sonia Gandhi and I think among the younger members of the party, there is wide acceptance of Rahul Gandhi. That does not mean other leaders cannot or should not emerge."
4) India can celebrate Diwali because of you: Modi tells jawans at Siachen:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday paid a surprise visit to Siachen to celebrate Diwali with soldiers posted at the world's highest battlefield and hailed the role of the armed forces in securing the country. Before reaching Srinagar, he went to Siachen early in the morning and spent more than an hour with the soldiers at a base camp situated at a height of over 12,000 feet.
He praised their valour and courage, saying that 125 crore Indians could celebrate Diwali today, and go about their lives in comfort, because the jawans stood guard at the borders, prepared to make every sacrifice for the nation From the icy heights, he also extended Diwali greetings to President Pranab Mukherjee.
Modi told the jawans that he had come unannounced, and they may be surprised, but one does not need to announce arrival when coming to one's own family."I have specially come on the occasion of Diwali to be with you. I am aware how it feels like to spend Diwali with your family. The happiness is different, but you are so involved in the devotion of your motherland that family is spending Diwali somewhere else and you are somewhere else guarding the motherland," he said.
"My coming to this place will not fill the void of your family members, but as a representative of 125 crore people... after being with you I feel proud and satisfied," Modi told the jawans.
5) Canadian parliament rocked by gunshots; 2 killed:
Canada's Parliament came under attack on Wednesday with a barrage of gunshots fired both inside and outside the building as a soldier was killed in the assault and a man with a rifle was gunned down by security forces.
Parliament Hill came under attack when a man with a rifle shot a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa, before seizing a car and driving to the doors of building's Centre Block nearby. The injured soldier later succumbed to his wounds."Condolences to family of the soldier killed and prayers for the parliamentary guard wounded. Canada will not be terrorised or intimidated," Employment Minister Jason Kenney said on Twitter.Heavily armed officers backed by armored vehicles sealed off the Parliament building.
"One shooting victim succumbed to injuries. He was a member of the Canadian forces. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones," the Ottawa Police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police said."One male suspect has also been confirmed as deceased," they said.The motive of the attack was not known but it came two days after a recent convert to Islam killed one Canadian soldier and injured another in a hit-and-run before being shot to death by police. Ottawa police confirmed shots were fired in three locations: the war memorial, inside Centre Block of the Parliament and at the Rideau Centre.
Police said an investigation was continuing and did not confirm earlier reports that more gunmen were involved. In a chaotic scene, witnesses said a sustained volley of shots was fired as startled security personnel and political staff scrambled to take cover in the limestone alcoves with bullets flying past. Alain Merisier, who works at the cafeteria in one of the Parliament Buildings, said he saw a man in a car at the Centre Block with a long gun.There were unconfirmed reports that a person was injured outside the Library of the Parliament.
"We were waiting there for a city tour and suddenly I heard four shots," said Jan Luchtenburg, a tourist visiting Ottawa from Holland."Suddenly I saw a small guy with long black hair... with a long rifle, and he ran away after the shots, across streets in the direction of Parliament Hill," he said.
6) 2 Maharashtra youths on way to Afghanistan for terror training held: Police:
A suspected SIMI operative and an aide of Indian Mujahideen media in-charge have been arrested from Secunderabad, with police saying that they were allegedly planning to go to Afghanistan to get training from Al Qaeda for carrying out terror activities in India.Police also claimed to have seized literature on explosives formula, a 16 GB pen drive containing literature in terror activities among other things from the Maharashtra youths.One of them was identified as Shah Mudassir alias Talha, who runs a general store at Umerkhed and is a member of SIMI, police claimed.
Even after ban on the organisation in 2001, Talha became a member of the Association of Indian Minority Students which is a front organisation of Students Islamic Movement of India.The other youth is identified as Shoeb Ahmed Khan alias Tariq Bhai of Hingoli district and is an associate of Mansoor Ali Peerboy (Media in-charge of Indian Mujahideen, Pune Module), police said.
"He (Tariq) is also a close friend of Mudassir," police said.Mudassir and Shoeb came to Hyderabad and got down in Secunderabad. As their movements were suspicious, they were taken into custody.A case is registered with Gopalapuram police station under relevant sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and IT Act. "They have been arrested and sent in judicial custody," Deputy Commissioner of Police (North Zone) R Jaya Lakshmi said.
When asked about Billah and two other citizens from Hyderabad, the DCP told PTI: "I can only say they are not in our custody. The investigations are still going on.""Both these persons are adept in using social networks in propagating Jihad and both of them are having several Facebook accounts," the DCP said in a release on Wednesday night.
During Facebook chats they came in contact with Abu Saif and Kamaran Sha, both of Pakistan, Zahid Al Hindi, a native of Afghanistan, and Mir Showkath, Sameer Khan and Mothasim Billah-- all residents of Saidabad area here, the DCP said.
Billah is a former SIMI member and son of Islahi, a Hyderabad-based Islamic scholar."During Facebook chats, Zahid Al Hindi and Mothasim Billah used to motivate them frequently. Once Kamaran Sha of Pakistan shared literature through Facebook on explosives wherein three methods of explosive manufacturing from the locally and easily available chemicals were narrated," the officer said.Through the literature Kamaran Sha motivated Mudassir and Shoeb to manufacture bombs and carry out blasts in Maharashtra and told them that he will "feel happy to see the news of triggering bomb blasts in India," according to police.
Billah, who came in contact with Mudassir and Shoeb through Facebook, asked them to visit Hyderabad. Accordingly, the duo visited Hyderabad on September 3 and met him.Billah motivated them to go to Afghanistan to get training from Al Qaeda in order to wage Jihad in India to establish Islamic state, the DCP said."Billah even expressed that he will extended financial support for VISA processing and asked Mudassir and Shoeb to come after October 10," the senior police officer said.
Accordingly, Mudassir and Shoeb visited Hyderabad in order to meet Billah and to take guidance from him in getting VISA and on external contacts.As per the request of Billah, Mudassir and Shoeb brought literature on explosives as well about the SIMI.The explosive literature was coded as "Hyderabadi Biryani", the DCP said, adding that they also brought a cover page for a book "Jihad Kya Hai' authored by Billah's father Islahi.
On their search, police recovered literature on explosive formula, a 16 GB pen drive containing Jihadi literature besides cell phones, passports, ATM cards, Voter ID cards and three CDs containing militant training programmes and Zahed Al Hindi's speech, police said.
Sports News This Week:
1) FC Goa 1-2 Atletico de Kolkata:
Atletico de Kolkata is all set to consolidate their position at the top of the table when they take on hosts FC Goa in their fourth Hero Indian Super League encounter at the Fatorda Stadium on Thursday.It will be an ideal Diwali gift for the growing number of Atletico fans, who would want their team to again display attacking brand of football against Robert Pires and co.Atletico has seven points from three games courtesy their twin victories against Mumbai City FC and NorthEast United FC and a draw against Delhi Dynamos.It will be their second away match in the cash-rich league and the team will miss their inspiration skipper Luis Garcia. In all likelihood, it will be his compatriot Jofre Mateu Gonzalez, who will be in the starting XI.
Coach Antonio Habas is also planning to start with East Bengal medio Cavin Lobo in place of Rakesh Masih, who got the marching orders during the last match for his stud show while trying to tackle Alessandro del Piero.
The good news for Atletico is that Borja Fernandes, who scored with a stunning volley in the ISL opener, will be back after having served his one-match sentence due to double yellow against NorthEast United.For Atletico, their go-to man will be Ethiopian striker Fikru Teferra Lemessa, who has already earned a sizeable fan following with his goal poaching abilitiesFor Goa, a lot will depend on how Ranti Martins fares upfront. Someone, who is among the all-time top scorers list in the I-League, one expects a better show from the Nigerian frontman.It will be too much to expect from Pires to turn the clock back to his days at Highbury but a bit of inspiration won't be too bad for the likes of Afghanistan captain Fakhruddin Amiri, young India U-23 players like Narayan Das, Prannoy Halder not to forget the old guards like Clifford Miranda."We are working very hard trying out various plans during training and are desperate.
"We are working very hard trying out various plans during training and are desperate to break the unbeaten run of the visitors," FC Goa manager Zico said on the eve of the match.On the assessment of his boys' performance in the first two games, Zico said,"The boys played well in both the matches and also created chances but were not able to score.
"Hope they don't miss those chances tomorrow against Atletico, who are very good in defence as well as attack. We can't always depend on defenders to score for us in every game," Zico stated referring two goals scored in two matches by defender Gregory.Zico downplayed Garcia's possible absence in tomorrow's game."We are still playing against their 11 players! If they were playing with a 10-member team, then it is an advantage! He (Garcia) is avery good player and it is a loss for the Kolkata team that he is injured," the Brazilian legend said.Looking for their elusive win, 'White Pele' further added,"A win is very important and even for the tournament. We need to win the games on home ground since we lost the first match in Goa. A win against the Atletico, who are unbeaten so far, will increase our confidence and balance everything out."Zico also defended his decision to play Andre Santos as an attacking midfielder, he reasoned:" Santos was always a forward and a very offensive player. He knows how to play in that position and because of that I used him in that position."Zico also downplayed the rivalry issue between traditional teams from Goa and Kolkata stating that superiority is decided on the pitch."Its football and we don't need to be worried of rivalry and things like that. Who is superior, can be witnessed on the pitch. Challenges like this are always a motivation for the players. A lot of the foreign players don't know about this rivalry. But in this league, everyone is a rival."
2) Murray improves London chances with Valencia win:
Andy Murray collected more points to aid his World Tour finals qualification bid when he fought back from a set down to beat Kevin Anderson 6-7(3) 6-4 6-4 in the quarter-finals of the Valencia Open on Friday.
A wild card at the Spanish indoor hard court event, which he won in 2009, Murray is eighth in the race to secure a berth at the season-ending tournament in London.The Scot will play top-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer, who is also eyeing a place at the Tour finals, on Saturday for a place in Sunday's showpiece.
Ferrer, chasing a fourth Valencia trophy after triumphs in 2008, 2010 and 2012, swept past Brazilian qualifier Thomaz Bellucci 6-1 6-2.Friday's remaining two quarter-finals feature unseeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy against Spanish wildcard Pablo Carreno Busta and an all-Spanish clash between unseeded pair Tommy Robredo and Pablo Andujar.
Murray is attempting to qualify for the Tour finals for a seventh consecutive year and won the Vienna title last week when he came from a set down to beat Ferrer in the final.
3) Wozniacki never lacked self-belief against the best:
Caroline Wozniacki arrived in Singapore as the eighth and bottom seed for the WTA Finals, but the Dane never doubted her ability to compete against the very best and goes into Saturday's semi-finals with a spotless record after round robin play.
Wozniacki opened her tournament with a three-set win over Maria Sharapova and after brushing aside Agnieszka Radwanksa, she ensured she finished top of the White Group with a 6-2 6-3 victory over Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova on Friday.
"I believe in myself and I believe in my skills. I've been playing well, so I believed I could beat anyone," the 24-year-old Dane told reporters after she set up a last-four encounter against world number one Serena Williams."I obviously also knew that if I wasn't playing up to my best I could lose to all of them."So I'm really pleased about the way this week has gone so far. I played really well. Today was a really great match for me."Wozniacki has enjoyed a resurgence in form in the second half of the season following poor displays in the first two grand slams, reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon and her second U.S. Open final last month, which she lost to Williams.
She won the Istanbul Cup in July and reached the final of Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo last month to all but confirm her place in the elite eight-woman WTA Finals being held in Singapore for the first time.
4) Williams reaps benefits as her rivals slip up:
With a little help from her rivals, Serena Williams secured a place in the last four of the WTA Finals on Friday and clinched the year-end number one ranking for the fourth time in her illustrious career.
The American was not involved in Friday's final group matches but still emerged as the big winner after Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic both bowed out of the tournament despite winning their final matches.
Sharapova, who needed to go on and win the season-ending event to overtake Williams at the top of the rankings, had to beat Poland's Agnieska Radwanska in straight sets to reach the semis but blew her chance after a second set meltdown.
She squandered three match points and a 5-2 lead to lose the second set in a tiebreak, and although the Russian recovered to win the match 7-5 6-7(4) 6-2, she failed to make it out of the round-robin stage of the elite eight-woman event.
"It would've been very easy for me to get down on myself. I had so many chances being up, having match point, and just saying you know what? I've lost two matches," said Sharapova. "(It would have been) so easy to just let it go but I didn't. "I got the job done. I know I'm not moving forward, but I'm proud of that effort and to finish the year off on this way."
Williams, who won two of her three group matches, faced another anxious wait before knowing whether she would play on the weekend.
Ivanovic had the chance to leapfrog her in the group standings, but the Serbian needed to beat Simona Halep in straight sets.
After coming from 5-2 behind to win the first set in dramatic fashion, Ivanovic had all the momentum but she was unable to finish off Halep in the second, and had to settle for a 7-6(7) 3-6 6-3 consolation victory."It's mixed emotions, obviously," said Ivanovic. "I feel like it was such a great match, yet it's such a low not to be able to qualify for the semi-finals."Williams will now play her good friend Caroline Wozniacki in the semis, in a rematch of last month's U.S. Open final, after the Dane romped to a 6-2 6-3 win over Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
Book Of This Week:
Becoming Marie Antoinette: by Juliet Grey
This enthralling confection of a novel, the first in a new trilogy, follows the transformation of a coddled Austrian archduchess into the reckless, powerful, beautiful queen Marie Antoinette. "Why must it be me?" I wondered. "When I am so clearly inadequate to my destiny?"
Raised alongside her numerous brothers and sisters by the formidable empress of Austria, ten-year-old Maria Antonia knew that her idyllic existence would one day be sacrificed to her mother's political ambitions. What she never anticipated was that the day in question would come so soon. Before she can journey from sunlit picnics with her sisters in Vienna to the glitter, glamour, and gossip of Versailles, Antonia must change "everything" about herself in order to be accepted as dauphine of France and the wife of the awkward teenage boy who will one day be Louis XVI. Yet nothing can prepare her for the ingenuity and influence it will take to become queen. Filled with smart history, treacherous rivalries, lavish clothes, and sparkling jewels, "Becoming Marie Antoinette" will utterly captivate fiction and history lovers alike.
Writer : Juliet Grey
New York, The United States
member sinceFebruary 2011
About this author edit data
Juliet Grey has extensively researched European royal history and is a particular devotee of Marie Antoinette. She and her husband divide their time between New York City and Washington DC.