Science News This Week:
1) Tadpole eye transplant shows new way to grow nerves:
Lowering cells’ electrical charges could help replacement organs wire properly. Wiring replacement organs into the body may be as easy as discharging a biological battery, new experiments with tadpoles suggest.
Scientists cut the eye from one tadpole’s head and transplanted it to another’s flank. Tweaking electrical charges in the recipient tadpole’s body cells stimulated nerve growth from the transplanted eye, researchers report December 1 in Neurotherapeutics.
The study could be an early step toward getting replacement eyes, ears and other organs to wire into a body properly, and it could possibly lead to a method for spinal cord repair.It’s a feat scientists didn’t think was possible, says Silvia Chifflet, a cell biologist and physiologist at the Universidad de la República medical school in Montevideo, Uruguay. “We used to think that the nervous system, once severed, would not regenerate,” says Chifflet, who was not involved with the work.
Researchers can now explore viruses, bacteria and components of the human body in more detail than ever before with software developed at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI). In a study published online ahead of print December 1 by the journal Nature Methods, the researchers demonstrated how the software, called cellPACK, can be used to model viruses such as HIV."We hope to ultimately increase scientists' ability to target any disease," said Art Olson, professor and Anderson Research Chair at TSRI who is senior author of the new study.
Putting cellPACK to the Test
The cellPACK software solves a major problem in structural biology. Although scientists have developed techniques to study relatively large structures, such as cells, and very small structures, such as proteins, it has been harder to visualize structures in the medium "mesoscale" range.With cellPACK, researchers can quickly and efficiently process the data they've collected on smaller structures to assemble models in this mid-size range. Previously, researchers had to create these models by hand, which took weeks or months compared with just hours in cellPACK.As a demonstration of the software's power, the authors of the new study created a model of HIV showing how outer "spike" proteins are distributed on the surface of the immature virus.
The new model put to the test a conclusion made by HIV researchers from super-resolution microscopic studies -- that the distribution of the spike proteins on the surface of the immature virus is random. But by using cellPACK to generate thousands of models, testing alternative hypotheses, the researchers found that the distribution was not random. "We demonstrated that their interpretation of the distribution did not match that hypothesis," said Olson.
A Team Effort
The cellPACK software began as the thesis project of a TSRI graduate student, Graham Johnson, now a QB3 faculty fellow at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) who continues to contribute to the project. Johnson had more 15 years' experience as a medical illustrator, and he wanted to create an easy way to visualize mesoscale structures. cellPACK is an expansion of Johnson's autoPACK software, which maps out the density of materials -- from concrete in a building to red blood cells in an artery.
The researchers see cellPACK as a community effort, and they have made the autoPACK and cellPACK software free and open source. Thousands of people have already downloaded the software from http://www.autopack.org."With the creation of cellPACK, Dr. Olson and his colleagues have addressed the challenge of integrating biological data from different sources and across multiple scales into virtual models that can simulate biologically relevant molecular interactions within a cell," said Veersamy Ravichandran, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which partially funded the research. "This user-friendly tool provides a new platform for data analysis and simulation in a collaborative manner between laboratories."As new information comes in from the scientific community, researchers will tweak the software so it can model new shapes. "Making it open source makes it more powerful," said Olson. "The software right now is usable and very useful, but it's really a tool for the future."
3) Pulsars with black holes could hold the 'Holy Grail' of gravity:
The intermittent light emitted by pulsars, the most precise timekeepers in the universe, allows scientists to verify Einstein's theory of relativity, especially when these objects are paired up with another neutron star or white dwarf that interferes with their gravity. However, this theory could be analysed much more effectively if a pulsar with a black hole were found, except in two particular cases, according to researchers from Spain and India.Pulsars are very dense neutron stars that are the size of a city (their radius approaches ten kilometres), which, like lighthouses for the universe, emit gamma radiation beams or X-rays when they rotate up to hundreds of times per second. These characteristics make them ideal for testing the validity of the theory of general relativity, published by Einstein between 1915 and 1916."Pulsars act as very precise timekeepers, such that any deviation in their pulses can be detected," Diego F. Torres, ICREA researcher from the Institute of Space Sciences (IEEC-CSIC), explains. "If we compare the actual measurements with the corrections to the model that we have to use in order for the predictions to be correct, we can set limits or directly detect the deviation from the base theory."
These deviations can occur if there is a massive object close to the pulsar, such as another neutron star or a white dwarf. A white dwarf can be defined as the stellar remnant left when stars such as our Sun use up all of their nuclear fuel. The binary systems, composed of a pulsar and a neutron star (including double pulsar systems) or a white dwarf, have been very successfully used to verify the theory of gravity.Last year, the very rare presence of a pulsar (named SGR J1745-2900) was also detected in the proximity of a supermassive black hole (Sgr A*, made up of millions of solar masses), but there is a combination that is still yet to be discovered: that of a pulsar orbiting a 'normal' black hole; that is, one with a similar mass to that of stars.Until now scientists had considered this strange pair to be an authentic 'holy grail' for examining gravity, but there exist at least two cases where other pairings can be more effective. This is what is stated in the study that Torres and the physicist Manjari Bagchi, from the International Centre of Theoretical Sciences (India) and now postdoc at the IEEC-CSIC, have published in the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics. The work also received an Honourable Mention in the 2014 Essays of Gravitation prize.The first case occurs when the so-called principle of strong equivalence is violated. This principle of the theory of relativity indicates that the gravitational movement of a body that we test only depends on its position in space-time and not on what it is made up of, which means that the result of any experiment in a free fall laboratory is independent of the speed of the laboratory and where it is found in space and time.The other possibility is if one considers a potential variation in the gravitational constant that determines the intensity of the gravitational pull between bodies. Its value is G = 6.67384(80) x 10-11 N m2/kg2. Despite it being a constant, it is one of those that is known with the least accuracy, with a precision of only one in 10,000.In these two specific cases, the pulsar-black hole combination would not be the perfect 'holy grail', but in any case scientists are anxious to find this pair, because it could be used to analyse the majority of deviations. In fact, it is one of the desired objectives of X-ray and gamma ray space telescopes (such as Chandra, NuStar or Swift), as well as that of large radio telescopes that are currently being built, such as the enormous 'Square Kilometre Array' (SKA) in Australia and South Africa.
4) Centipede's genome reveals how life evolved on our planet:
Centipedes, those many-legged creatures that startle us in our homes and gardens, have been genetically sequenced for the first time. In a new study in the journal PLoS Biology, an international team of over 100 scientists today reveals how this humble arthropod's DNA gave them new insight into how life developed on our planet. Centipedes are members of the arthropods, a group with numerous species including insects, spiders and other animals. Until now, the only class of arthropods not represented by a sequenced genome was the myriapods, which include centipedes and millipedes. For this study, the researchers sequenced the genome of the centipede Strigamia maritima, because its primitive features can help us understand more complex arthropods.According to Prof. Ariel Chipman, senior co-author of the study and project leader at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Science, the genetic data reveal how creatures transitioned from their original dwelling-place in the sea to living on land."The use of different evolutionary solutions to similar problems shows that myriapods and insects adapted to dry land independently of each other," said Chipman. "For example, comparing the centipede and insect genomes shows that they independently evolved different solutions to the same problem shared by all land-dwelling creatures -- that of living in dry air."
According to Chipman, the study found that despite being closely related to insects, the centipede lacks the olfactory gene family used by insects to smell the air, and thus developed its own air-sniffing ability by expanding other gene families not present in insects.In addition, Chipman said, this specific group of centipedes live underground and have lost their eyes, together with almost all vision genes and genes involved in the body's internal clock. They maintain enhanced sensory capabilities enabling them to recognize their environment and capture prey.Published in the latest edition of PLoS Biology, the research is a collaborative effort by over 100 scientists from 50 institutions. Thousands of human-hours went into looking at specific genes in the centipede genome, with each researcher looking at a limited set of genes or at specific structural characteristics to address specific questions.Other leaders of the international research effort include Dr. Stephen Richards, Baylor College of Medicine; Dr. David Ferrier, University of St. Andrews; and Prof. Michael Akam of Cambridge University. The research paper is titled "The First Myriapod Genome Sequence Reveals Conservative Arthropod Gene Content and Genome Organisation in the Centipede Strigamia maritima."While early studies of genomics focused on humans, as sequencing equipment and expertise became more readily available, researchers expanded into animals directly relevant to human wellbeing. In the latest research, genomic sequencing has become more broad-based, investigating the workings of the world around us.In explaining the purpose of the research, Hebrew University's Chipman said: "If we have a better understanding of the biological world around us, how it operates, and how it came to be as it is, we will ultimately have a better understanding of ourselves."According to Chipman, the research will have applications for other researchers ranging from conservation to dealing with crop pests.
5) Mapping human disease: 'Not all pathogens are everywhere':
Rsearchers at North Carolina State University have for the first time mapped human disease-causing pathogens, dividing the world into a number of regions where similar diseases occur.
The findings show that the world can be separated into seven regions for vectored human diseases -- diseases that are spread by pests, like mosquito-borne malaria -- and five regions for non-vectored diseases, like cholera.
Interestingly, not all of the regions are contiguous. The British Isles and many of its former colonies, such as the United States and Australia, have similar diseases and are classified in the same vectored and non-vectored regions. But Britain's former colonies in Africa and Asia contain different diseases and therefore are located in differing regions, suggesting that colonization is just one of a variety of factors, like climate and socio-political status, affecting the prevalence of disease in a specific area.
"This is about more than just the movement of people -- climate, history and geography all seem to be important factors in how diseases survive and thrive across the globe," said Michael Just, an NC State Ph.D. student in plant and microbial biology and lead author of a paper describing the research. "Understanding that not all pathogens are everywhere could have consequences for public health and the global society as a whole."
The researchers examined the world's 229 countries for the presence or absence of 301 diseases -- 93 vectored and 208 non-vectored. It found two more vectored-disease regions than non-vectored disease regions, which is likely due to the fact that the vectors -- the pests that carry disease -- sometimes have limited mobility. Think of a warm-weather pest that can't handle the cold, like the mosquito."Researchers have mapped humans, animals and plants and their movement and evolution across the globe, but the things that live on or with us -- pests and pathogens, for example -- have been largely ignored," Just said. "This study is a good first step in examining the relationship between people and their pathogens, which could have important human health implications."
6) Mass extinction led to many new species of bony fish:
Today, ray-finned fish, which belong to the bony fish, are by far the most biodiverse fish group in both salt- and freshwater. Their spectacular variety of forms ranges from eels, tuna, flounders and angler fish all the way to seahorses. With around 1,100 species, the second most biodiverse group is the cartilaginous fish, which are almost exclusively marine and include sharks, rays and chimaeras. Exactly why bony fish managed to prevail in different habitats is the subject of debate: Do they have a better body plan, which is suited to more ecological niches than that of the cartilaginous fish? Or are other factors involved in their successful distribution? Paleontologists from the University of Zurich now reveal that climate catastrophes in the past played a crucial role in the dominance of ray-finned fish today. Cartilaginous fish greatly depleted by extinction events
The scientists studied the changes in biodiversity among cartilaginous and bony fish during the Permian and Triassic periods around 300 to 200 million years ago -- an interval marked by several serious extinction events. They evaluated the global scientific literature on bony and cartilaginous fish from the last 200 years and collected data on diversity and body size, the latter providing an indication of the fish's position in the food chains in the seas and freshwater.
Based on the data evaluated, the researchers demonstrate that cartilaginous fish, the most biodiverse fish group at the time, especially suffered heavily during an extinction event in the Middle Permian epoch while the Permian ray-finned fish escaped relatively unscathed. After an even bigger mass extinction close to the Permian-Triassic boundary, which wiped out 96 percent of all sea organisms, these bony fish diversified heavily. Of the ray-finned fish, the so-called Neopterygii ("new fins") became particular biodiverse during the Triassic and, with over 30,000 species, today constitute the largest vertebrate group. Triassic Neopterygii primarily developed small species while the majority of the more basal ray-fins produced large predatory fish. Moreover, many bony fish developed morphological specializations in the Triassic, such as in the jaw apparatus, dentition or fins. This enabled new ways of locomotion, including gliding over the surface of the water, much like flying fish do today. Moreover, there is also evidence for viviparity in Triassic bony fish, for the first time ever.
Extinction events correlate with climate changes:
Unlike bony fish, cartilaginous fish, which had already been heavily decimated by the end of the Permian, did not really recover. Many groups that were still biodiverse in the Permian disappeared completely or became extremely rare during the extinction events of the Permian and the Triassic. "Our results indicate that repeated extinction events played a key role in the development of today's fish fauna," explains Carlo Romano, a postdoc at the University of Zurich's Paleontological Institute and Museum. Most of these severe crises are linked to massive volcanic activity, global climate changes and sea level lowstands.
Movie Release This Week:
The ancient wonders of the world have long cursed explorers who've dared to uncover their secrets. But a team of U.S. archaeologists gets more than they bargained for when they discover a lost pyramid unlike any other in the Egyptian desert. As they unlock the horrific secrets buried within, they realize they aren't just trapped, they are being hunted.
In Wild, director Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club), Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line) and Academy Award nominated screenwriter Nick Hornby (An Education) bring bestselling author Cheryl Strayed’s extraordinary adventure to the screen. After years of reckless behavior, a heroin addiction and the destruction of her marriage, Strayed makes a rash decision. Haunted by memories of her mother Bobbi (Academy Award nominee Laura Dern) and with absolutely no experience, she sets out to hike more than a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail all on her own. WILD powerfully reveals her terrors and pleasures --as she forges ahead on a journey that maddens, strengthens, and ultimately heals her.
Academy Award® winner Nicolas Cage ignites a powder keg of action in this electrifying cloak-and-dagger thriller. Evan Lake (Cage), a veteran CIA agent, has been ordered to retire. But when his protégé (Anton Yelchin) uncovers evidence that Lake's nemesis, the terrorist Banir (Alexander Karim), has resurfaced, Lake goes rogue, embarking on a perilous, intercontinental mission to eliminate his sworn enemy.
Ben Barnes plays Nick, an ambitious young man running with the Boston crime syndicate. Once on the inside he realizes that the glory days of the Mafia are long gone. Behind his boss’s (Harvey Keitel) back he decides to strike out on his own and expand the business. Seemingly on top of the world with more money than he could have dreamed of and a great girl (Leighton Meester), Nick soon realizes that by making his own rules he’s put himself and everyone he loves in grave danger.
Filmmaker Talya Lavie steps into the spotlight with a dark comedy about everyday life for a unit of young female Israeli soldiers. The human resources office at a remote desert base serves as the setting for this cast of characters, who bide their time pushing paper, battling for the top score in Minesweeper, and counting down the minutes until they can return to civilian life. Amidst their boredom and clashing personalities, issues of commitment—from friendship to love and country—are handled with humor and sharp-edged wit. In Hebrew with subtitles.
Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain
Interwoven stories of people in India and US as they face dilemmas of life time in the months leading to the biggest Industrial disaster in human history that claimed 10,000 innocent lives within a few hours. Inspired by real events.
Political News This Week:
1) Gopinath Munde death: CBI files chargesheet against 'negligent' cabbie:
Six months after the death of Union Minister Gopinath Munde in a road accident, the Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday filed a charge sheet against taxi driver Gurvinder Singh, 32, for rash and negligent driving while ruling out any foul play.
The CBI chargesheeted Singh under Sections 279 and 304-A of Indian Penal Code for the charges and if found guilty, he will have to undergo a prison sentence of a maximum of two years.Singh's car had collided with the official vehicle of the minister at the Prithviraj Road-Tughlak Road roundabout in the heart of the high security Lutyen's zone when Munde was on his way to the IndiraGandhiAirport on June 3.
Singh had alleged that the minister's driver had jumped the traffic signal leading to the accident. The Delhi police had registered a case against Singh. The case was later handed over to the CBI which registered a case under sections 279 (rash driving) and 304A (causing death by negligence) of the IPC against unknown persons relating to accidental death, CBI spokesperson said.
CBI has already ruled out any foul play in the death of Munde and also claimed to have established ‘convincingly’ that the politician had died due to injuries in a road accident.
Munde, 64, a popular backward class leader from Maharashtra, died due to shock and haemorrhage following injuries to his neck and liver in the road accident, the CBI had said in its report. Several political leaders from Maharashtra had demanded a CBI probe into the accident of Munde, who had then just taken charge as the rural development minister in the Narendra Modi government.
"Investigation was conducted to find out if any foul play or criminal conspiracy was involved in the death of Munde. During the probe a through scrutiny of all possible leads and angles was conducted,” the CBI report had said."The antecedents and movements of suspected persons and all persons associated with the Minister were verified. However, the probe has clearly ruled out any foul play in Munde’s death, and it has been concluded that he died as a result of injuries sustained in the accident," it said.
2) UP bus accident: Driver's negligence proved fatal for 6 kids:
Negligence by the van driver appears to have led to its collision with the train near Mau in Uttar Pradesh which led to the death of six kindergarten students on Thursday, government told Parliament.
In a statement in Lok Sabha, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu also said the visibility in the area was poor due to foggy conditions at the time of the mishap.
The same statement was read out in the Rajya Sabha by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Prabhu’s behalf.
“As per the preliminary information received, the incident occurred due to the negligent driving by the driver of the road vehicle. The driver did not stop the road vehicle at the stop board short of the level crossing to check for any approaching train as prescribed in Section 131 of Motor Vehicle Act, 1988,” the railway minister said.“As per the last information received, 16 passengers of the van have been admitted to two local hospitals in Mau while six passengers have died,” he said.He said an ex-gratia amount of Rs 2 lakh each to the next kin of deceased, Rs 1 lakh to greviously injured and Rs 20,000 to persons with simple injuries has been announced.
Six kindergarten children were killed and several others were injured when a school van crashed into a Varanasi-bound passenger train at an unmanned railway crossing in Mau.Prabhu pointed out that there are 11,000 unmanned crossings in India. “This is very sad that these accidents take place in this manner. While it should be an effort, and all of us join in that effort, to make sure that we have manned crossing or a crossing in which such accidents do not take place; but while we do that, we are trying to find out a way of preventing such accidents by taking such steps. I am really working on that,” he said.
3) PM Modi leads in Time's 'Person of the Year' poll:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has regained his top position in the 'Time Person of the Year' poll after the Ferguson protesters surged ahead of him for a brief period.
Modi, according to latest results, has 12.8 per cent of the total votes polled and is followed by Ferguson protesters with 10.1 per cent. Joshua Wong, face of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement, is placed third with 7.5 per cent, while Pakistan's teen rights activist Malala Yousafzai is fourth with 5.2 per cent.
"Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has retaken the lead in TIME's Person of the Year poll, surpassing the protesters for Ferguson...with just four days left to vote," the weekly news magazine said on Tuesday when Modi had 10.8 per cent of the votes against 10.2 per cent of the Ferguson protesters who took to street after the fatal shooting of a black teen.Modi strengthened his lead on Wednesday. Russian President Vladimir Putin with 4.1 per cent has been pushed to sixth place by Ebola doctors and nurses, which are now on the fifth spot with 4.5 per cent. United States President Barack Obama is placed at a distant 11th position with just 2.3 per cent of the total votes.
The annual poll is scheduled to end on December 6 and the poll's winner will be announced on December 8. The TIME's editors will choose the Person of the Year and would announce on December 10.Since 1927, TIME has named a person who, according to it, has most influenced the news and lives in that year.
4) Bank accounts with possible links to Burdwan blast case found:
The Enforcement Directorate probing the money laundering aspect in the Burdwan blast case has unearthed a few suspect bank accounts and would probe whether they were linked to terror funding."We have got a few account numbers of some unidentified persons while probing the money trail in the Burdwan blast case," an official source said.
The source said the agency had obtained the account numbers of the persons whose identities were yet to be ascertained.
The agency would probe possible links of these accounts to find whether money was used for terror funding.
Early November, the ED had registered a case of money laundering against Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh and several of its recruits in connection with the blast.
The case was registered by the agency based on the FIR filed by the National Investigation Agency and the information provided by it. The NIA is probing the terror angle of the blast which took place in October two.
The source said that accounts of the accused persons named in the FIR were also being probed to ascertain the money trail.asked whether the agency had got any clue so far on money raised by Ponzi firms being used for terror funding, the source said no evidence was there as of now.Soon after the NIA took charge of the probe, a team from the terror funding cell of the agency met ED officials to share information.
5) Mamata seeks financial independence for states:
With her long-standing demand for a loan waiver yet to be met by successive governments at the Centre, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday sought financial independence for states.
She said a major chunk of her state's earnings went towards servicing of debts of more than Rs 2 lakh crore, which was affecting people's welfare projects.
"The Centre is taking away all our money. It is not giving us funds for 100 days' work programme. A large sum is due to us on this count. We want our economic freedom restored. We will keep protesting," Banerjee said addressing a crowd after inaugurating several development projects.
"If somebody commits a mistake, why should we be punished? This is thwarting the development of the state in every way," she said, referring to the debt burden inherited by her government from the erstwhile Left Front government."We have started a mega road project. We will connect India with Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh," she said.
6) Hit-and-run case: Salman tests POSITIVE for alcohol:
A chemical analyst on Wednesday told the sessions court in Mumbai that he had found alcohol in the blood sample of actor Salman Khan during his medical examination after the infamous 2002 hit-and-run accident.During the examination by special public prosecutor Pradeep Gharat, Bal Shankar, the analyst, said he conducted analysis of a 100 ml sample, and found 62 mg of ethyl alcohol.To a question, he said normally a person who consumes alcohol would have about 30 mg of alcohol per 100 ml, but if he or she is on medication then the alcohol content may increase by upto 40 per cent.The prosecution examined the witness to establish that Khan had liquor before his car met with the accident in suburban Bandra on September 28, 2002, killing one person and injuring four others.While the prosecution has alleged that Salman was at the wheel, the actor has denied it.
The witness said he had also conducted a test to detect presence of morpholin, and it came out positive.Salman's lawyer Srikant Shivade pointed out that Bandra police, who probed the accident, referred the case to government-run J J hospital for a blood test mentioning that they were forwarding one sample. However, the hospital wrote to the forensic lab saying it was sending two samples.
On Shivade's request, the court deferred the cross examination of the chemical analyst until he cross-examined a doctor of J J Hospital to find out how many samples it had received.Another witness, a regional transport officer, told the court that he had inspected the white colour Toyota Land Cruiser belonging to the actor after the mishap and found that it had not developed any mechanical problem.The prosecution brought this witness to show that nothing was wrong with the car, and the mishap took place solely because of `rash and negligent' driving.
Sports News This Week:
1) Australia would want to win the India series for Phillip Hughes: Wasim Akram:
Warning that Australia will play a “hard game” to win the Test series for their departed teammate Phil Hughes, Pakistan pace legend Wasim Akram has said India will certainly find it tough against the hosts who will go all out to come up trumps.
“The Australians will certainly play a hard game. And India should be ready for it. They would want to win the series for Phil Hughes and will go all out in their efforts to come up trumps. They have got a good team and India will certainly find it tough against them,” Akram told PTI ahead the much-awaited Test series.India are set to face Australia in Adelaide on December 9 after the four-match series was re-scheduled post Hughes’ tragic demise.The left-handed batsman was hit on the head by New South Wales pacer Sean Abbott in a domestic game in Sydney on November 25 and succumbed to his injuries two days after in a city hospital.Describing Hughes’ fatal injury as a “freak incident”, Akram said as a pacer, he feels for Abbott, the bowler.
“You feel for the young guy (Abbott). But I would just tell him to ease up. It could have happened with anybody. It’s not his fault at all. He is being counselled and I guess he will bounce back,” the former Pakistan captain said.Asked if the Indians and Australians might go easy on bowling bouncers after the on-field tragic incident that claimed Hughes’ life, Akram said, “I don’t think the Australian or the Indian bowlers will stop bowling bouncers and stuff like that.“But yes it will be emotionally very demanding for the Australians to get back on the field but once a few days pass by and they start bowling or batting things will become normal. As I said it’s a freak incident.”
Talking about the phyche of a fast bowler when he bowls a bouncer, Akram said, “The intent of the bowler is to intimidate the batsman. Primarily it’s not about picking a wicket, if it comes your way then its fine. But just to create that fear in the batsman’s mind, not really to hurt him but to keep him on the backfoot.”
Asked if the Indian and Pakistani players were more vulnerable to the short ball due to the equipment available in the domestic circuit of the two countries, he said, “I don’t know about India but equipment standards have certainly improved all over the world.”“There are certain prescribed guidelines that are to be followed by the equipment makers and suppliers. In domestic cricket I don’t know whether they follow these guidelines or not. But by and large the cricketing gear used now is of highest
2) After boxing her way out of obscurity, Sarjubala Devi targets World Championship gold :
Sarjubala Devi’s father Rajen drives a water-tanker, the huge guzzling cylindrical container that rumbles through Imphal’s narrow streets when drinking water is scarce. Her mother Thoibi sits for days endlessly weaving prints on fabric on a home-machine. The sort of urban poverty that the 21-year-old boxer has seen in her family in Imphal, for years now, is not stark or scary, but of the humdrum variety where nothing’s really changed for decades.
One way out of this drudgery, a young Sarju had figured at age 13, was to hop across her street to a small boxing academy Kongba Amateur where she could punch to her heart’s content and attempt to do what Manipur’s idol Mary Kom did to leap out of obscurity.In her first attempt at winning a World Championship — “since Mary didi has won 5 times” — Sarju fell one step short. “I was very disappointed with silver. I will not stop until I win a World title,” says the dogged pugilist who faltered in the final at Jeju, Korea and had to settle for the second medal, paler than the gold. “Just a silver”. She’s a diminutive boxer, almost always shorter than most of her opponents, even for the light welter weight (48 kg). She’s waited three years since her gold medal at the World Youth in Turkey to be given a chance to compete internationally, and patiently bided her time never slackening in practice because boxing is something she doesn’t want to stop.“I can practice endlessly because I really want to do well and become someone like Mary didi,” she says, recalling the last time she was consumed by the sport – an occasion of achievement that was laced with deep regret.
“Before my trials for Youth Nationals, I had set off to SAI for a camp and hadn’t been home for months. I’ll never forget 8th July. My sister — she was 14 or 15 then — had called up in the morning and told me she had prayed I’d be selected. She died later that day of an illness that was never diagnosed because the family couldn’t afford. They’d kept away the news of her suffering from me until the trials were over. Me doing well in boxing is very important for my whole family,” she recalls.
And so it is that Sarju never stops training — or thinking about it even as she stops at Mumbai for some media interactions. “I don’t like taking off on Sunday,” says the soft-spoken girl, restless to grasp that World title. The next Championships couldn’t come soon enough for her. “I was very happy when I got selected for this edition after winning Nationals. But I knew only gold medals get noticed, otherwise they’ll say she’s a loser boxer,” she explains.
3) Phillip Hughes funeral: Michael Clarke’s emotional eulogy :
Australia captain Michael Clarke urged mourners to “dig in and get through to tea” as he choked back tears in an emotional eulogy for Phillip Hughes at the cricketer’s funeral on Wednesday. A near-constant presence at Hughes’s bedside during his two-day fight for life, Clarke sucked back deep breaths at Macksville High School hall during the tribute to his “little brother’s” spirit. “Oh, he would definitely be calling me a sook (crybaby) right now, that’s for sure,” Clarke began, gasping for air in the stifling hot room packed with 1,000 people. “I don’t know about you, but I keep looking for him. I know it is crazy but I expect any minute to take a call from him or to see his face pop around the corner
“Is this what we call the spirit? If so, then his spirit is still with me. And I hope it never leaves.” Hughes died last Thursday at the age of 25, two days after being rushed to hospital for emergency surgery, having been struck by a rising delivery during a domestic match at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Clarke joined fellow cricketers and Hughes’s father and brother among the pallbearers in delivering the coffin to the hearse before it set off in procession through the cricketer’s hometown of Macksville, New South Wales.
4) Star, strikes missing from Delhi Dynamos’ show:
The clock was winding down and the crowd was getting restless. Goals were hard to come by, shots were at a premium and the game listless. Behind the Atletico de Kolkata goal, Alessandro Del Piero was busy juggling with the ball. First with his right foot and then with the left. If he had harboured hopes of playing in Delhi Dynamos’ last home game in this edition of the Indian Super League — it will remain so if they don’t make it to the semi-finals — then coach Harm van Veldhoven had other ideas. So Del Piero watched the last of the substitution being played out, and then trudged back towards the dug out.Not known to vent out his anger publicly, Del Piero stood for a while and with the match finishing goalless, walked up to some of the kids waiting close to the touchline, shook hands and joked with them before walking away.
Chants of ‘Del Piero’ were no more to be heard, the hysteria that accompanied his arrival having long vanished and only to be replaced by a sense of disillusionment. While the league’s ambassador was relegated to the position of an onlooker, Atletico de Kolkata’s marquee player Luis Garcia was perhaps surprised to find himself in a similar situation. He has been the engine that drives Kolkata, but coach Antonio Lopez Habas chose to keep him out of the equation at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Tuesday. Garcia spent most of the second half standing behind the Delhi goal, watching opportunities go by.Without him the team did come up with some decent chances — like the one Baljit Sahni shot wide in the 18th minute or when Joffre’s header from a Borja Fernandes lob was kept out by Kristof Van Hout in the Delhi goal at the fag end of the match. However, those were few and far between.Kolkata had come to Delhi looking for a win, and truth be told, a point is not all that bad given that a semi-final place is their for the losing. So it made sense from the coach’s point of view not to risk Garcia and preserve him for more important matches. But it robbed Delhi of some quality in the middle without which the game gradually lost its impetus.
Delhi tried their bit. They were the ones who desperately needed the win before they hit the road for their last two league matches. They did start with a flurry, Gustavo dos Santos teasing and troubling down the right with his pace and skill. But despite possessing a fairly gifted left foot, he ain’t no Messi.Hence, efforts to drift in and attempt a quick one-two or weave his way in through a maze of legs got stuck, in those very legs, and Delhi lost the momentum
5) India humbled by France in Women’s World Team Squash Championship :
Sans their top squash player Dipika Pallikal, India’s struggle continued as they were blanked 0-3 by France for their second straight defeat in the ongoing WSF Women’s World Team Squash Championship.On the other hand, France claimed their second 3-0 win in two days by seeing off India in Pool D.Coline Aumard defeated Anaka Alankamony 11-4 11-6 11-5 in 27 minutes to give France a solid start.
Camille Serme then got the better of India’s best hope Joshana Chinappa 11-3 11-4 11-7 in 28 minutes, ensuring France’s firm hold over the contest.Cyrielle Peltier saw off the challenge of Sachika Ingale 11-8 11-7 11-7 in 27 minutes to complete the task for her country.India were earlier outplayed by Hong Kong 0-3 in their their opening match of the tournament.Seeded five, France are now expected to record their best-ever finish in 15 appearances in the event since 1987“Today was a good day for us – India are strong, even without their number one Dipika,” said French team coach Philippe Signoret.“Joshana can beat the best in the world. Anaka doesn’t play much on the WSA Tour, but we knew she was strong,” he added.Meanwhile, a packed all-glass showcourt at White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa saw USA triumph over North American rivals and hosts Canada 3-0 in a crucial qualifying tie.
Book Of This Week:
The Experiment :by John Darnton
In an isolated laboratory, a test subject discovers a human corpse with its heart removed...In New York City, a journalist investigates a homicide victim with its face and fingerprints removed...
Drawn together by medicine and murder, these two men are about to make a discovery that will change everything they think about science, nature, and themselves...
They share the same face.
John Darnton:John Darnton has worked for The New York Times for forty years as a reporter, editor, and foreign correspondent. He is the recipient of two George Polk Awards and a Pulitzer Prize. He is also the author of five novels, including The Darwin Conspiracy and the best seller Neanderthal. He lives in New York.