Science News This Week:
1) Ancient Egyptian blue glass beads reached Scandinavia:
Chemical analysis of Danish discoveries extends range of Bronze Age trade. Bronze Age bigwigs in what’s now Denmark wore brightly colored glass beads made in the workshops of Egyptian pharaohs and Mesopotamian rulers, a new investigation finds.
Trade routes connected Egypt and Mesopotamia with Denmark by 3,400 years ago and remained active until at least 3,100 years ago, say archaeologist Jeanette Varberg of Moesgaard Museum in Højbjerg, Denmark, and her colleagues. Chemical analyses of blue beads previously found in Danish Bronze Age graves from that period show that the ornaments originated in glass workshops of Egypt’s pharaohs and Fertile Crescent rulers, the researchers report December 13 in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
“This is the first evidence of ancient Egyptian glass outside the Mediterranean region,” Varberg says. Mesopotamian glass was previously known to have reached as far north as France, she adds.
2) Quantum physics just got less complicated: Wave-particle duality and quantum uncertainty are same thing:
Here's a nice surprise: quantum physics is less complicated than we thought. An international team of researchers has proved that two peculiar features of the quantum world previously considered distinct are different manifestations of the same thing. The result is published 19 December in Nature Communications.
Patrick Coles, Jedrzej Kaniewski, and Stephanie Wehner made the breakthrough while at the Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore. They found that 'wave-particle duality' is simply the quantum 'uncertainty principle' in disguise, reducing two mysteries to one."The connection between uncertainty and wave-particle duality comes out very naturally when you consider them as questions about what information you can gain about a system. Our result highlights the power of thinking about physics from the perspective of information," says Wehner, who is now an Associate Professor at QuTech at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.The discovery deepens our understanding of quantum physics and could prompt ideas for new applications of wave-particle duality.
Wave-particle duality is the idea that a quantum object can behave like a wave, but that the wave behaviour disappears if you try to locate the object. It's most simply seen in a double slit experiment, where single particles, electrons, say, are fired one by one at a screen containing two narrow slits. The particles pile up behind the slits not in two heaps as classical objects would, but in a stripy pattern like you'd expect for waves interfering. At least this is what happens until you sneak a look at which slit a particle goes through -- do that and the interference pattern vanishes.The quantum uncertainty principle is the idea that it's impossible to know certain pairs of things about a quantum particle at once. For example, the more precisely you know the position of an atom, the less precisely you can know the speed with which it's moving. It's a limit on the fundamental knowability of nature, not a statement on measurement skill. The new work shows that how much you can learn about the wave versus the particle behaviour of a system is constrained in exactly the same way.Wave-particle duality and uncertainty have been fundamental concepts in quantum physics since the early 1900s. "We were guided by a gut feeling, and only a gut feeling, that there should be a connection," says Coles, who is now a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Quantum Computing in Waterloo, Canada.It's possible to write equations that capture how much can be learned about pairs of properties that are affected by the uncertainty principle. Coles, Kaniewski and Wehner are experts in a form of such equations known as 'entropic uncertainty relations', and they discovered that all the maths previously used to describe wave-particle duality could be reformulated in terms of these relations."It was like we had discovered the 'Rosetta Stone' that connected two different languages," says Coles. "The literature on wave-particle duality was like hieroglyphics that we could now translate into our native tongue. We had several eureka moments when we finally understood what people had done," he says.Because the entropic uncertainty relations used in their translation have also been used in proving the security of quantum cryptography -- schemes for secure communication using quantum particles -- the researchers suggest the work could help inspire new cryptography protocols.In earlier papers, Wehner and collaborators found connections between the uncertainty principle and other physics, namely quantum 'non-locality' and the second law of thermodynamics. The tantalising next goal for the researchers is to think about how these pieces fit together and what bigger picture that paints of how nature is constructed.
3) Rosetta may have spotted comet’s primordial ingredients:
New images reveal 67P’s craggy terrain. The dynamic, rugged terrain of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko may be exposing the meter-wide building blocks that make up the comet, scientists reported December 17 at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting. If confirmed, the finding could give scientists an unprecedented look at pristine samples of the original material that bonded to form comets, asteroids and planets nearly 4.6 billion years ago.
The enticing evidence was delivered by the Rosetta spacecraft’s OSIRIS instrument, which snaps photos of the comet’s surface with a resolution as high as a few centimeters per pixel. The images quickly revealed that 67P violates the conventional wisdom of comets resembling smooth dirty snowballs, said Holger Sierks, a member of the Rosetta team. The photos, which are not yet available to the public, reveal cliffs tens or hundreds of meters tall, as well as mysterious pits, some about as long as two football fields and just as deep, that are venting gas into space.
But it was the components of the cliffs and pits that caught Sierks’ eye. Embedded along the edges of those features are strange spheres, most between 1 and 3 meters in diameter. He hypothesizes that the spheres are examples of the fundamental units of ice and dust that were sintered together in the infant solar system to form asteroids, planets and comets like 67P.
4) A clear, molecular view of how human color vision evolved:
ny genetic mutations in visual pigments, spread over millions of years, were required for humans to evolve from a primitive mammal with a dim, shadowy view of the world into a greater ape able to see all the colors in a rainbow.Now, after more than two decades of painstaking research, scientists have finished a detailed and complete picture of the evolution of human color vision. PLOS Genetics published the final pieces of this picture: The process for how humans switched from ultraviolet (UV) vision to violet vision, or the ability to see blue light."We have now traced all of the evolutionary pathways, going back 90 million years, that led to human color vision," says lead author Shozo Yokoyama, a biologist at Emory University. "We've clarified these molecular pathways at the chemical level, the genetic level and the functional level."
Co-authors of the PLOS Genetics paper include Emory biologists Jinyi Xing, Yang Liu and Davide Faggionato; Syracuse University biologist William Starmer; and Ahmet Altun, a chemist and former post-doc at Emory who is now at Fatih University in Istanbul, Turkey.
Yokoyama and various collaborators over the years have teased out secrets of the adaptive evolution of vision in humans and other vertebrates by studying ancestral molecules. The lengthy process involves first estimating and synthesizing ancestral proteins and pigments of a species, then conducting experiments on them. The technique combines microbiology with theoretical computation, biophysics, quantum chemistry and genetic engineering.Five classes of opsin genes encode visual pigments for dim-light and color vision. Bits and pieces of the opsin genes change and vision adapts as the environment of a species changes.Around 90 million years ago, our primitive mammalian ancestors were nocturnal and had UV-sensitive and red-sensitive color, giving them a bi-chromatic view of the world. By around 30 million years ago, our ancestors had evolved four classes of opsin genes, giving them the ability to see the full-color spectrum of visible light, except for UV."Gorillas and chimpanzees have human color vision," Yokoyama says. "Or perhaps we should say that humans have gorilla and chimpanzee vision."For the PLOS Genetics paper, the researchers focused on the seven genetic mutations involved in losing UV vision and achieving the current function of a blue-sensitive pigment. They traced this progression from 90-to-30 million years ago.
The researchers identified 5,040 possible pathways for the amino acid changes required to bring about the genetic changes. "We did experiments for every one of these 5,040 possibilities," Yokoyama says. "We found that of the seven genetic changes required, each of them individually has no effect. It is only when several of the changes combine in a particular order that the evolutionary pathway can be completed."
In other words, just as an animal's external environment drives natural selection, so do changes in the animal's molecular environment.In previous research, Yokoyama showed how the scabbardfish, which today spends much of its life at depths of 25 to 100 meters, needed just one genetic mutation to switch from UV to blue-light vision. Human ancestors, however, needed seven changes and these changes were spread over millions of years. "The evolution for our ancestors' vision was very slow, compared to this fish, probably because their environment changed much more slowly," Yokoyama says.About 80 percent of the 5,040 pathways the researchers traced stopped in the middle, because a protein became non-functional. Chemist Ahmet Altun solved the mystery of why the protein got knocked out. It needs water to function, and if one mutation occurs before the other, it blocks the two water channels extending through the vision pigment's membrane."The remaining 20 percent of the pathways remained possible pathways, but our ancestors used only one," Yokoyama says. "We identified that path."In 1990, Yokoyama identified the three specific amino acid changes that led to human ancestors developing a green-sensitive pigment. In 2008, he led an effort to construct the most extensive evolutionary tree for dim-light vision, including animals from eels to humans. At key branches of the tree, Yokoyama's lab engineered ancestral gene functions, in order to connect changes in the living environment to the molecular changes.The PLOS Genetics paper completes the project for the evolution of human color vision. "We have no more ambiguities, down to the level of the expression of amino acids, for the mechanisms involved in this evolutionary pathway," Yokoyama says.
5) Doctor who survived Ebola received experimental drug treatment:
28 September, 2014, the 38-year old doctor, who was in charge of an Ebola virus treatment unit in Lakka, Sierra Leone, developed a fever and diarrhea. He tested positive for the virus on the same day. The doctor was airlifted to Frankfurt University Hospital on the 5th day of his illness and admitted to a specialized isolation unit.
Within 72 hours of admission he developed signs of vascular leakage and severe multi-organ failure, including the lungs, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract. He was placed on a ventilator and on kidney dialysis, and was given antibiotics together with a 3-day course of an experimental drug called FX06 -- a fibrin-derived peptide that has been shown to reduce vascular leakage and its complications in mice with Dengue hemorrhagic shock.A marked improvement in vascular and respiratory function was seen under the combined measures of intensive care and drug treatment. After a 30-day observation period, no Ebola virus genetic material was detected in the patient's blood plasma. The patient was released from hospital and is now with his family."Even though the patient was critically ill, we were able to support him long enough for his body to start antibody production and for the virus to be cleared by his body's defenses," explains Dr Wolf."In terms of improving treatment for Ebola patients, we have shown how intensive care medicine can successfully be applied under strict isolation conditions," adds senior author Professor Zacharowski, head of the Department of Anaesthetics and Intensive Care Medicine at Frankfurt University Hospital."
Movie Release This Week:
From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” the third in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world. Enraged, Smaug rains his fiery wrath down upon the defenseless men, women and children of Lake-town.
Obsessed above all else with his reclaimed treasure, Thorin sacrifices friendship and honor to hoard it as Bilbo’s frantic attempts to make him see reason drive the Hobbit towards a desperate and dangerous choice. But there are even greater dangers ahead. Unseen by any but the Wizard Gandalf, the great enemy Sauron has sent forth legions of Orcs in a stealth attack upon the Lonely Mountain.
As darkness converges on their escalating conflict, the races of Dwarves, Elves and Men must decide – unite or be destroyed. Bilbo finds himself fighting for his life and the lives of his friends in the epic Battle of the Five Armies, as the future of Middle-earth hangs in the balance.
Academy Award® nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) stars as Annie, a young, happy foster kid who's also tough enough to make her way on the streets of New York in 2014. Originally left by her parents as a baby with the promise that they'd be back for her someday, it's been a hard knock life ever since with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz). But everything's about to change when the hard-nosed tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) - advised by his brilliant VP, Grace (Rose Byrne) and his shrewd and scheming campaign advisor, Guy (Bobby Cannavale) - makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in. Stacks believes he's her guardian angel, but Annie's self-assured nature and bright, sun-will-come-out-tomorrow outlook on life just might mean it's the other way around.
Get ready for the wildest and most adventure-filled Night At the Museum ever as Larry (Ben Stiller) spans the globe, uniting favorite and new characters while embarking on an epic quest to save the magic before it is gone forever.
In this twisted thriller, a young detective is caught in a sadistic game of cat-and-mouse when he is kidnapped and tormented by a masked serial killer. In order to survive, the rookie must use the wisdom imparted to him by senior detectives on their regular poker night.
PK is a 2014 Indian comedy-drama film directed by Rajkumar Hirani, produced by Hirani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Siddharth Roy Kapur, and written by Hirani and Abhijat Joshi. The film stars Aamir Khan in the title role, with Anushka Sharma, Sushant Singh Rajput, Boman Irani, Saurabh Shukla, and Sanjay Dutt in supporting roles. Hirani has stated that the film will be a satire on "God and godmen". PK released on 19th December 2014
PK (Aamir Khan) is an alien who gets stranded on earth and is befriended by Bhairon Singh (Sanjay Dutt) who helps PK try to adjust to Earth customs. PK goes to Delhi where he and reporter Jagat Janani (Anushka Sharma) end up confronting a huckster, the godman Tapasvi Maharaj (Saurabh Shukla).
Political News This Week:
1) J&K assembly poll final phase ends with a record turnout of 76 per cent:
The fifth and last phase of the state assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir ended on Saturday with a turnout of 76 per cent.“The highest turnout was recorded as 83.20 per cent in Bani and lowest as 60 per cent in Gandhinagar,” the Chief Electoral Officer Umang Narula said at a news conference in winter capital.With Saturday’s polls for 20 assembly seats spread in the three districts of Jammu, Rajouri and Kathua, the five phase poll process in the state has been completed.Counting of votes will be taken up on Tuesday at various counting centres across the state and the results are expected by afternoon.
Pollsters predict a hung house in the state with no major political parties including the Peoples Democratic Party, the Bharatiya Janta Party, the National Conference and the Congress able to get a simple majority in the 87 member state assembly.
The polling, which began at 8 am, saw brisk voting in all the 20 constituencies for which as many as 2,391 polling stations were set up, which included 278 hypersensitive ones and comprised 18,28,904 electors including 9,59,011 male and 8,69,891 female voters.Since early this morning voters began to queue up outside the polling booths to cast their votes.A large number of women and first time voters also lined up to exercise their franchise in the three districts.Saturday’s polling, held under tight security would decide the fate 213 candidates including state Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, ministers Sham Lal and Raman Balla.
The state director general of police K Rajendra had directed the officers to ensure high alertness, especially in the border areas to check any infiltration attempt.
Rajendra, who reviewed the security arrangements with top police officers, said, “In view of the recent developments on the other side of border, we have to remain vigilant as the subversive elements could try to disrupt the peaceful atmosphere in the state.”He had asked to conduct naka checking to identify suspicious movement in these areas.
2) Jammu and Kashmir records highest turnout, Jharkhand breaks records:
Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand broke records as they voted for the fifth and final leg of assembly polls on Saturday. Standing at 65 per cent J&K saw the highest voter turnout in over two decades, while Jharkhand saw a record 66 per cent voting. Jharkhand, which also went to the polls along with J&K, broke all previous polling records to witness over 66 per cent of turn-out in the five phases, bettering the previous mark of 54.2 per cent in the 2004 assembly poll.
Vinod Zutshi said the fifth and final phase of polling in the assembly elections on Saturday saw 76 per cent of polling.Similarly, the last phase recorded over 71 per cent of polling in Jharkhand, he said.Chief Electoral Officer P K Jajoria lauded the police personnel and election staff for successfully carrying out the elections in all the five phases.
He said free, fair and peaceful conduct of elections is a matter of pride for Jharkhand.Jajoria also commended the voters for turning out in large numbers, saying that they have become aware of the value of vote and its impact on development.Dumka Deputy Commissioner Harsh Mangla said the polling in all the constituencies under the district concluded peacefully.A total of 36,90,069 electorate, including 17,84,486 women, were eligible to choose from 208 candidates, including 16 women nominees, for the 16 seats spread over 6 districts of Dumka, Godda, Sahebganj, Jamtara, Deoghar and Pakud in Santhal Pargana region.
The polling began at 7 am and ended at 3 pm.Prominent among those in the fray for fifth phase polls are Chief Minister Hemant Soren from Dumka and Barhait, Assembly Speaker Shashank Sekhar Bhokta from Sarath and Rural Works Minister Lobin Hembrom from Borio.
Prominent Jharkhand politician and former Jharkhand Vikas Dal MP Suraj Mandal is challenging the speaker at Sarath.The incumbent Jharkhan Mukti Morcha had won nine of the 16 seats in the 2009 assembly polls.The EC said it had marked as many as 833 polling stations as hyper-sensitive and 1,496 sensitive and 291 polling stations were made available with web casting facilities.A total of 22,240 polling personnel were deployed for the polling.
The previous four phase polling were held on November 25 (63.26 per cent voter turnout), December 2 (68.01 per cent), December 9 (63.96 per cent) and December 14 (64.63 per cent) with updated polling percentage, according to the EC.A senior security official reportedly said that security deployment in Jharkhand was three to four times more than it was in the Lok Sabha elections.
3) Cold wave continues in north; 8 killed in Uttar Pradesh:
Intense cold wave continued unabated in north India on Saturday as fog-related incidents claimed eight lives in Uttar Pradesh and disrupting traffic movement in several parts of the region.Chilly weather prevailed in the national capital on Saturday with the minimum temperature touching 7.2 degrees Celsius, a notch below the normal.
Moderate foggy conditions were witnessed early in the morning in several parts of the city causing drop in visibility but the situation improved as the day progressed.The maximum temperature settled five notches below the season's average at 17.5 degrees Celsius.Cold wave intensified its grip in different parts of Uttar Pradesh with mercury dipping to sub-zero levels and claiming eight lives while dense fog threw transport systems out of gear in most areas.While six persons were killed and 34 others injured when a truck fell into a canal in Kadura area amidst dense fog, two deaths were reported in an accident in Kushinagar due to poor visibility.Though weather was dry over the state, fog occurred at most places adversely hitting air, train and road traffic.Lowest minimum temperature over the state was 3 degrees Celsius recorded at Nazibabad (Bijnore) while Kanpur recorded a minimum of 8.3 degrees Celsius.Mercury dipped further in Srinagar to record the season's lowest temperature on the eve of 'Chillai-Kalan'– the 40-day harshest winter period.
Srinagar recorded a low of minus 4.4 degrees Celsius, down from the previous night's minus 4.2 degrees Celsius, a MeT official said.Leh continued to be the coldest place in the state with minimum temperature at minus 13.9 degrees Celsius, as Kargil, also in Ladakh region, recorded a low of minus 13 degrees Celsius, he said. Temperature elsewhere in Kashmir region stayed below the freezing point.Biting cold conditions continued without any respite in Himachal even as the region had a clear day while the state started limping back to normalcy with partial restoration of water and power supply in Kullu and Manali after seven days.While the National Highway from Manali to Rohtang Pass was closed all major roads have been opened and efforts are on to open 150 link roads in the interior areas of Kullu where 83 roads are still shut.The high altitude tribal areas continued to reel under piercing cold wave with mercury staying well below the freezing point.Cold wave conditions continued unabated in Punjab and Haryana throwing normal life out of gear with all flight operations being cancelled at Chandigarh airport due to dense fog which reduced visibility levels.
Many trains, including Chandigarh-Delhi Shatabdi, Tata Mori, Paschim Express ran hours behind schedule.Dense fog engulfed almost all major cities of the region, including Amritsar, Ludhiana, Patiala in Punjab and Hisar, Karnal and Ambala.Narnaul in Haryana was the coldest place in the region as it recorded a minimum temperature of 4 degrees Celsius.In Punjab, Amritsar recorded a low of 4.1 degrees Celsius, the joint capital Chandigarh's minimum settled at 7 degrees Celsius.
4) 'Made in India' guided bomb can hit targets 100 km away:
India has tested a 1,000 kg indigenously-developed glide bomb, which successfully hit a target 100 km away, in the Bay of Bengal off the Odisha coast, making the country self-reliant in guided precision bombs.
"The nation today has capability to design, develop and launch heavy bombs for delivery up to 100 km away with high precision," said DRDO Director General Avinash Chander.
Designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation, the bomb was dropped by an Indian Air Force aircraft in the ocean, according to an official statement.
The bomb, guided by an on-board navigation system, glided for nearly 100 km before hitting the target with great precision.
The flight of the glide bomb was monitored by radars and electro-optic systems stationed at IntegratedTestRange at Chandipur in Odisha's Balasore district, about 230 km from Bhubaneswar.The flight of the glide bomb was monitored by radars and electro-optic systems stationed at the ITR.
5) Bitter rivals Modi and Mamata all smiles at Pranab's dinner:
A banquet hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee for a visiting foreign dignitary on Friday night provided the platform for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his bitter political foe West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to meet and exchange pleasantries. As the Prime Minister arrived at the banquet at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in honour of Bangladesh President Md Abdul Hamid, he shook hands with the Indian delegation that had lined up for customary introduction to the visiting head of state.
Modi stopped for a while and exchanged greetings with the West Bengal chief minister.
After exchanging pleasantries with Banerjee, Modi walked ahead along the line and stood with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh while Banerjee talked to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
This was the first time Mamata met Modi in the backdrop of weeks of a bitter war of words between BJP and Trinamool Congress, including the party supremo, for weeks on a range of issues including Saradha chit fund scam, Burdwan blast and incidents of communal tension in parts of the country.
Mamata has repeatedly targeted Modi using some strong words against him and BJP too attacked her and Trinamool Congress accusing them of shielding those involved in Saradha chit fund scam and Burdwan blast. The President, who returned from a week-long hospitalisation where he underwent a coronary angioplasty, did not stay for the banquet and retired to bed on health grounds.
The banquet, where the visiting President was served 'sorsey maach' (fish dipped in mustard paste), 'doi maach' (fish prepared with curd), 'maach bhapa' (steamed fish) with Bengali music playing in the background, was carried forward by Vice President Hamid Ansari.
6) ISRO does it again: India's heaviest rocket GSLV-Mark III launched successfully:
India on Thursday successfully launched its heaviest rocket yet and tested an unmanned crew module in a step towards its manned space mission in twin achievements that gave a big push to its space prowess.As India got a giant new satellite launch vehicle that opened more commercial opportunities, the crew module -- Crew Module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment -- splashed down into the Bay of Bengal after it separated from the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle.
The successful test of the atmospheric re-entry of the 3.65 tonne unmanned capsule came around 730 seconds after the three-tonne rocket on its experimental mission lifted off at 9.30 am from the second launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
While the rocket cost Indian Space Research Organisation Rs 140 crore, the crew module has taken another Rs 15 crore, officials said. Three levels of parachutes specially designed by Agra-based DRDO lab Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment helped the crew module descend safely into the sea, about 180 km from Indira Point, the southern tip of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.“This was a very significant day in the history of Indian space programme,” ISRO Chairman K S Radhakrishnan said from mission control, as fellow scientists clapped and broke into a round of cheers.
President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were among other leaders who congratulated the ISRO scientists for the feat that will help carry heavier communication satellites.“Successful launch of GSLV Mark-III is yet another triumph of brilliance and hardwork of our scientists. Congrats to them for the efforts. @isro,” Modi tweeted. The Lok Sabha also hailed ISRO for the new achievements. GSLV Mark III Project Director S Somanath said the country has made it again and it has a new launch vehicle. “India, you have a new launch vehicle with you. We have made it again,” he said.“We have made it again. ISRO’s capability of launching heavier payloads has come to shape and this will change our destiny and our capability has significantly enhanced.”The 2.7 metre tall cupcake-shaped crew module with a diameter of 3.1 metre features aluminium alloy internal structure with composite panels and ablative thermal protection systems and can carry two to three astronauts.
The module would be shipped to KamarajarPort in Ennore near Chennai, from where it would be taken to Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala for further study.Though it would take at least 10 years for India to send humans into space, this experiment has helped the space agency to test the module for safe return of humans from space, according to ISRO.As for the objective of validation of the complex atmospheric flight regime of GSLV Mk III, Radhakrishnan said the two active S200 and L110 propulsive stages “performed as expected”.“We have got the signal from the beacon in the crew capsule. Indian Coast Guard ships have received them and they are some 100 km away from the site presently moving to recover it,” S Unnikrishnan Nair, Project Director of ISRO’s Human Spaceflight Programme, said.
Taliban Peshawar school massacre:
As many as 141 people, nearly all of them school children, were massacred on Tuesday when heavily armed Taliban suicide bombers stormed a Pakistan army-run school in Peshawar, firing indiscriminately, leaving another 130 injured.Dressed in para-military Frontier Corps uniforms, the seven Arabic-speaking terrorists entered the Army Public School on Warsak Road around 10 am (local time) from the rear side and went from classroom to classroom shooting innocent children indiscriminately in one of the most gruesome terror attacks anywhere.
Chief Military Spokesman Maj Gen Asim Bajwa told a news conference tonight that 132 of the dead were children and another nine were staff members. A total of 130 people -- 118 students, three staffers, seven SSG soldiers and two officers -- were injured, he said. He also said that 960 students and staffers were rescued. Bajwa said all the seven militants were killed in the operations involving Special Services Group or commandos.
Some of them reportedly blew themselves up."The operation is over. The school has been handed over to its administration. SSG troops are withdrawn" he added.Bajwa said about 1,100 students and staffers were in the school at the time of the attack.Earlier, reports had put the death toll at 160 but later it was scaled down.During the over eight-hour standoff, the terrorists also took several hostages, including teachers and the principal of the school, and used them as human shield during the assault.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack, the bloodiest in recent years since the 2008 suicide bombing in Karachi in which 150 people were killed.The Taliban spokesman claimed that 6 suicide bombers were involved in the attack and that it was a revenge for the military's operation against militants in the North Waziristan tribal area close to Peshawar
Taliban Peshawar School Massacre incident is the most horrific faliure of Pakistan Army intelligence, which will be remember as Most Devilish act of the Human to other human. Complete Faliure of Pakistani government can only be compensated by the Complete annihilation of Terrorism throughout Pakistan. Without That Pakistan Government cannot be faced in front of Civilized world. ISI and Taliban Terrorists rule parallal government throughout the Pakistan where terrorism nurtured with heavy care. This hellish act must be stopped by the intervention foreign contries like India. The root-cause of Indian Terrorism are these Talibans which must be annihilated for the betterment of our country. Pakistani Exsisting government alone cannot stopped these Talibani People because many International powerful muslim groups (Like Muslim Brotherhood) all over the world are promoting them to create internal disputes.
Sports News This Week:
1) Atletico de Kolkata beat Kerala Blasters 1-0 to lift inaugural ISL trophy:
Substitute Mohammad Rafique headed in an injury time header as Atletico De Kolkata clinched the inaugural Indian Super League crown with a 1-0 win over Kerala Blasters here on Saturday.
Rafique, who replaced Mohammad Rafi in the 74th minute of the mega clash at the packed DY Patil stadium, followed up a corner from Czech defender Jakub Podany to fire the header in the 94th minute, a minute before the second half injury time was slated to end to send ATK fans into raptures here as also in Kolkata and other parts of the world.
Rafique - later adjudged hero of the match - ran into the box, outjumped rival defender Nirmal Chetri and put the ball into the net past Blasters' veteran custodian- cum-coach David James to decide the fate of the game which seemed poised to roll into extra time.
It was a revenge of sorts for the Sourav Ganguly co-owned ATK, which had lost 1-2 to the Blasters in Kochi in the return leg of the round robin stage. The two sides had finished 1-1 in the first leg.
2) India win men, women kabaddi title:
India defeated Pakistan (45-42) in a controversy-marred final of the fifth World Cup Kabaddi tournament at the Guru Gobind Singh Multipurpose Stadium here on Saturday. In the women's final, the Indian eves defeated New Zealand (36-27).
In the men's final where Pakistan alleged foul play, both the teams were neck and neck for the first 10 minutes. Gradually, Pakistan gained lead, and it was only towards the end that India came back in the game.Pakistan captain Shafiq Chisti alleged that the Indian players resorted to unfair means to win the title. "Indian raiders applied mustard oil on themselves to avoid being caught. They openly drank water in between the game, which is against the rules. They also hurled abuses to intimidate us."
Coach Malik Safdar said: "If this is the standard of the tournament, I am very sure our team will not come next year." The team, however, accepted the trophy and award under protest but some of the team members did not go onstage to receive the award. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal appreciated the "keenly contested match". "From next year, the prize money for the winners in the girls' category will be Rs 2 crore, same as for men," said the chief minister.In women's section, Ram Bateri and Priyanka were adjudged the best raiders. Anu Rani was declared the best stopper for the second year in running. In men's section, Sandeep Surakhpur (India) and Shafiq Ahmed Chisti of Pakistan were adjudged best raiders while Yadwinder Singh Yada was declared the best stopper.
3) Yearender: Prizes shared but Djokovic and Serena still rule:
Grand slam titles were shared around like slices of pizza in 2014 but for all the welcome variety Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams ended the year still setting the standard.
For the first time since 1998 the eight grand slam singles trophies on offer were lifted by eight players.While the four women's champions were existing members of the elite club, Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka and Croatia's Marin Cilic marked the biggest shake-up of men's tennis for a decade with breakthrough victories.
After years spent in the shadow of 17-times grand slam champion and compatriot Roger Federer, Wawrinka came good in Melbourne, beating Djokovic in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and showing no mercy to injured Spaniard Rafa Nadal in the final.
Nadal rebounded to claim a ninth French Open title, but the year was too prove a worrying one for the injury-prone Mallorcan who suffered a shock defeat by Australian teenager Nick Krygios at Wimbledon before a wrist problem and a grumbling appendix restricted him to only seven more matches.Federer, 33, claimed five titles but was unable to add to his record collection of grand slams.He came close though. The Swiss maestro went toe to toe with Djokovic for five sets in an epic Wimbledon final, while a few weeks later in New York he looked favourite for the title before being ambushed by the powerful Cilic in the semi.
The door had been opened invitingly by events earlier on that sweltering New York day when Asian trailblazer Kei Nishikori became the first Asian man to reach a grand slam singles final with a stunning defeat of Djokovic.It meant that, for the first time since 2005 a men's grand slam final took place without a member of the Fab Four, be it Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Briton Andy Murray.
Cilic seized his chance in ruthless fashion by destroying Nishikori, completing a stunning comeback from the depths of the previous year when he served a doping ban.
Djokovic, who got married and became a father this year, claimed a chart-leading seven titles and won his last three events, culminating at the ATP World Tour Finals.
"I physically feel very fit," Djokovic said ominously. "I'm very motivated to keep on playing on a very high level. I'm going to try to use these years in front of me to fight for number one in the world and the biggest titles in the sport."Like Djokovic, Williams, 33, will start 2015 as the measuring stick for the rest as usual.
The American, now the oldest world number one, overpowered Caroline Wozniacki to win her 18th grand slam title at the U.S. Open, moving level on the all-time list with Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert and only four behind record holder Steffi Graf.While not as dominant as the year before, she still bagged seven titles and the way she scythed through the draw at Flushing Meadows was awe-inspiring, winning 14 consecutive sets and dropping only 32 games in bagging a sixth U.S. Open crown.
Romania's Simona Halep, the most improved player on the circuit, and Canadian Eugenie Bouchard both contested their first grand slam finals but the establishment showed they are unwilling to cede the top trophies to the new generation.Chinese veteran Li Na, who retired in September, won the Australian Open, Maria Sharapova fought off Halep to win the French Open title while Czech Petra Kvitova thrashed Bouchard to win her second Wimbledon title.Tennis entered the brave new world of the International Premier League in December but a more fitting climax to a memorable year was Federer leading Switzerland to the Davis Cup title to fill one of the final gaps on his CV.
4) Messi double, Suarez hits first La Liga goal in Barca rout:
Lionel Messi scored twice and Luis Suarez struck his first La Liga goal as Barcelona crushed struggling Cordoba 5-0 on Saturday to finish the year a point behind Real Madrid at the top of the table.In-form Pedro put Barca ahead after just 71 seconds, the second quickest in La Liga this season, with a clinical finish from a ball over the top of the defence by Ivan Rakitic.
The signs were ominous for Cordoba as they found themselves encamped in their own half, although Barca did not add to their lead until the start of the second half through Suarez.The Uruguayan returned from a four-month ban for biting at the end of October and claimed his first goal in La Liga when he slotted the ball home from a Pedro pass.“I am more relaxed now having got the goal. Perhaps we had something to prove going into the match as the draw (last weekend) against Getafe was a blow,” Suarez told reporters.“We are candidates for La Liga and we want to turn things around at the top. For me personally to get a goal in the league is important but I knew with all the support I was getting that it would come soon.”With the Cordoba players’ heads going down, Gerard Pique nodded in Barca’s third and then Messi fired in a late double.Xavi came on as a second-half substitute in his 741st match for Barca, equalling the record of Real's Raul for the number of games for a single club in Spanish football.
Barca have moved on to the shoulders of Real who are playing the Club World Cup final on Saturday against San Lorenzo and have played a game less then their arch-rivals.Suarez went close to adding to Pedro’s opener as his strike from a Jordi Alba pull-back narrowly went the wrong side of the post.
Barca have looked susceptible at the back this season and there were warning signs when Nabil Ghilas was able to run unopposed down the right wing but he fired into the side netting from a tight angle.Luis Enrique’s side were still clearly in control with Rakitic and Pedro having further chances before Suarez struck after 52 minutes.From there the game opened up as Cordoba began to lose concentration.Pique headed in a cross from Xavi and Messi came to life having had a quiet game with two well-struck drives from inside the area to complete the rout.
5) U.S. swimmer Phelps sentenced to 18 months probation for drunken driving:
American swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, pleaded guilty on Friday to driving under the influence of alcohol and received 18 months of supervised probation and a one-year suspended jail sentence.The 18-time Olympic gold medalist was arrested for drunken driving early on Sept. 30 after speeding and then crossing the double yellow lines inside a Baltimore tunnel, police said.
"The last three months of my life have been some of the hardest times I've ever gone through, some of the biggest learning experiences I've ever had," Phelps, wearing a dark suit, white shirt and blue tie, told reporters."I'm happy to be moving forward. I'll continue to grow from this."Phelps, 29, was clocked by radar at around 1:40 a.m. traveling 84 miles per hour (135 kph) in a 45-mph (72-kph) zone, police said, adding that he blew a .14 on a Breathalyzer, nearly twice the legal limit of .08 in Maryland.
He faced up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine."I hope we don't have this conversation again and I'm optimistic that we won't have this conversation again," Judge Nathan Braverman told Phelps during his sentencing.
Among the observers in the courtroom were Phelps' mother, Debbie, his two sisters, and close friend Ray Lewis, the retired 13-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens.Police said an officer followed Phelps' 2014 Land Rover onto northbound Interstate 95, through the Fort McHenry Tunnel, and pulled him over just beyond the tunnel's toll plaza.The drunken-driving arrest was the second for Phelps, who has spent most his life working feverishly in the pool but admits he likes to have a good time when not competing.Following his arrest, Phelps, who is eyeing a spot on the U.S. team for the 2016 Olympics, was suspended for six months by USA Swimming and barred from representing the United States at the 2015 FINA World Swimming Championships in Russia.Phelps said he completed a 45-day rehab program at an Arizona treatment center following his arrest, continues aftercare in Baltimore, and will participate in Alcoholics Anonymous."What I did was wrong, and I made a bad mistake," Phelps told Braverman. "I'm looking forward to having a much brighter future than I had in the past."Phelps was charged in Salisbury, Maryland, in 2004 for drunken driving. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of driving while impaired in exchange for 18 months' probation.
Book Of This Week:
Mr. Mercedes :by Stephen King
In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.
In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the "perk" and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again.
Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.
Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen's grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.
Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.
He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men's magazines.
Stephen made his first professional short story sale ("The Glass Floor") to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men's magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.
In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.