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Saturday, 10 January 2015

Subhaditya News Channel Presents Science,Movie,Political ,Sports and Book News This Two Weeks (128,129)

Science News This Week:

1) New antibiotic candidate shows promise:

In lab and mouse tests, novel compound kills staph, TB microbes and other bacteria. A compound isolated from soil might have the right stuff for fighting troublesome bacteria, researchers report January 7 in Nature. While still far from being declared a true antibiotic drug, the compound teixobactin tested well in lab dishes against Clostridium difficile, a microbe high on doctors’ most-wanted list, as well as against bacteria that cause anthrax and tuberculosis.

In mice, teixobactin also knocked out strep microbes without showing any adverse effects in the animals. And also in mice, it killed staph bacteria that were resistant to other drugs. In these tests, the target bacteria showed no hint of developing resistance to teixobactin itself. That’s important because too often bacterial mutations engender resistance to treatment, rendering many drugs ineffective and outpacing Big Pharma’s efforts to come up with alternative drugs.

2) Insect-eating bats implicated as Ebola outbreak source:

Tree in Guinea harbored suspects in infection of first victim. The epicenter of the Ebola epidemic may be a hollow tree in Guinea.

A 2-year-old boy named Emile Ouamouno, who is thought to be the first person to contract Ebola in this outbreak, often played with other children in the hollow tree near his home in the village of Meliandou, Guinea. That tree was inhabited by small insect-eating free-tailed bats of a species (Mops condylurus) that previous research has suggested may harbor Ebola, Fabian Leendertz of the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin and colleagues report December 30 in EMBO Molecular Medicine.

3) Common human protein linked to adverse parasitic worm infections

Worm infections represent a major global public health problem, leading to a variety of debilitating diseases and conditions, such as anemia, elephantiasis, growth retardation and dysentery. Several drugs are available to treat worm infections, but reinfection is high especially in developing countries.

Now, scientists at the University of California, Riverside and colleagues around the world have made a discovery, reported in this month's issue of PLOS Pathogens, that could lead to more effective diagnostic and treatment strategies for worm infections and their symptoms. The researchers found that resistin, an immune protein commonly found in human serum, instigates an inappropriate inflammatory response to worm infections, impairing the clearance of the worm.

"Targeting this inflammatory pathway with drugs or antibodies could be a new therapeutic strategy to treat worm infections and the associated pathology," said Meera Nair, an assistant professor of biomedical sciences in the UC Riverside School of Medicine, whose laboratory made the discovery. "Additionally, our data point to the diagnostic potential for resistin as a new biomarker for impaired immune responses to worms."Jessica Jang, the lead author of the research paper and a third-year UCR graduate student in microbiology, explained that resistin regulates the recruitment of innate immune cells called monocytes to the site of infection to produce inflammatory cytokines (small proteins that are important in cell signaling)."Future work in my Ph.D. research will focus on further investigating the activation of monocytes so we can clinically exploit this immune pathway," she said.Parasitic worms, known scientifically as helminths, include filarial worms and hookworms. They cause diseases such as elephantiasis, which produces extreme swelling of extremities, and necatoriasis, which causes abdominal pain, diarrhea and weight loss. The infections are often associated with life-long morbidity, including malnutrition, growth retardation and organ failure.

In many developing countries where parasitic worms are prevalent due to substandard sanitation facilities, infections in humans are common, as are reinfections. Some infected patients develop immunity, but others remain susceptible to infections when they are re-exposed or develop chronic infections. Currently, no vaccine is available against human worm pathogens.The research directed by Nair's lab combined mouse studies with human data to demonstrate that resistin is actually detrimental, causing excessive inflammation that impedes the body's ability to clear parasitic worms.In the animal studies, mice containing the gene expressing human resistin and infected with a parasitic worm similar to the human hookworm experienced excessive inflammation, leading to increased weight loss and other symptoms. Clinical samples from two groups of individuals from the south Pacific island of Mauke and from Ecuador -- one group infected with filarial worms causing lymphatic filariasis and a second group infected with intestinal roundworms Ascaris -- revealed increased levels of resistin in the infected individuals compared to those who were uninfected or immune.
A better understanding of human resistin may also reveal new knowledge about obesity and diabetes. Resistin has been mapped to the pathway of immune-mediated inflammation that promotes diabetes and other obesity-related disorders and Nair hopes to combine her lab's basic science expertise with the developing clinical research enterprise in the UCR medical school as a future avenue to research new diagnostic or treatment strategies.

4) Poker-playing program knows when to fold 'em: Heads-up limit for hold 'em poker solved:

For over a half-century, games have been test beds for new ideas in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the resulting successes have marked significant milestones -- Deep Blue defeated Kasparov in chess and Watson defeated Jennings and Rutter on Jeopardy! However, defeating top human players is not the same as actually solving a game, and for the first time researchers in the Computer Poker Research Group at the Faculty of Science, University of Alberta in Canada, have essentially solved heads-up limit hold'em poker."Poker has been a challenge problem for artificial intelligence going back over 40 years, and until now, heads-up limit Texas hold'em poker was unsolved," says Bowling, lead author and professor in the Faculty of Science whose findings were published January 9 in Science.

Poker is a family of games that exhibit imperfect information, where players do not have full knowledge of past events. The most popular variant of poker today is Texas hold'em. When it is played with just two-players (heads-up) and with fixed bet-sizes and number of raises (limit), it is called heads-up limit hold'em. While smaller than checkers, the imperfect information nature of heads-up limit hold'em makes it a far more challenging game for computers to play or solve."We define a game to be essentially solved if a lifetime of play is unable to statistically differentiate it from being solved at 95% confidence," explains Bowling. "Imagine someone playing 200 hands of poker an hour for 12 hours a day without missing a day for 70 years. Furthermore imagine them employing the worst-case, maximally exploitive, opponent strategy, and never making a mistake."
While many perfect information games (where all players are informed of everything that has occurred in the game prior to making a decision) have been solved, e.g., Connect Four, no nontrivial imperfect information game played competitively by humans has previously been solved. These games are more challenging, with theory, computational algorithms, and instances of solved games lagging behind results in the perfect information setting. And, while perfect information may be a common property of parlour games, it is far less common in real-world decision making settings.

"The breakthroughs behind this result are general algorithmic advances that make game-theoretic reasoning in large-scale models of any sort more tractable," says Bowling.
And, while seemingly playful, game theory has always been envisioned to have serious implications, including a surge in game-theoretic applications involving security, such as systems being deployed for airport checkpoints, air marshall scheduling, and coast guard patrolling. With real-life decision-making settings almost always involving uncertainty and missing information, algorithmic advances, such as those needed to solve poker, are needed to drive future applications.

5) Neuroprosthetics for paralysis: Biocompatible, flexible implant slips into the spinal cord:

FL scientists have managed to get rats walking on their own again using a combination of electrical and chemical stimulation. But applying this method to humans would require multifunctional implants that could be installed for long periods of time on the spinal cord without causing any tissue damage. This is precisely what the teams of professors St├ęphanie Lacour and Gr├ęgoire Courtine have developed. Their e-Dura implant is designed specifically for implantation on the surface of the brain or spinal cord. The small device closely imitates the mechanical properties of living tissue, and can simultaneously deliver electric impulses and pharmacological substances. The risks of rejection and/or damage to the spinal cord have been drastically reduced.

An article about the implant will appear in early January in Science.So-called "surface implants" have reached a roadblock; they cannot be applied long term to the spinal cord or brain, beneath the nervous system's protective envelope, otherwise known as the "dura mater," because when nerve tissues move or stretch, they rub against these rigid devices. After a while, this repeated friction causes inflammation, scar tissue buildup, and rejection.

An easy-does-it implant
Flexible and stretchy, the implant developed at EPFL is placed beneath the dura mater, directly onto the spinal cord. Its elasticity and its potential for deformation are almost identical to the living tissue surrounding it. This reduces friction and inflammation to a minimum. When implanted into rats, the e-Dura prototype caused neither damage nor rejection, even after two months. More rigid traditional implants would have caused significant nerve tissue damage during this period of time.The researchers tested the device prototype by applying their rehabilitation protocol -- which combines electrical and chemical stimulation -- to paralyzed rats. Not only did the implant prove its biocompatibility, but it also did its job perfectly, allowing the rats to regain the ability to walk on their own again after a few weeks of training."Our e-Dura implant can remain for a long period of time on the spinal cord or the cortex, precisely because it has the same mechanical properties as the dura mater itself. This opens up new therapeutic possibilities for patients suffering from neurological trauma or disorders, particularly individuals who have become paralyzed following spinal cord injury," explains Lacour, co-author of the paper, and holder of EPFL's Bertarelli Chair in Neuroprosthetic Technology.

Flexibility of tissue, efficiency of electronics
Developing the e-Dura implant was quite a feat of engineering. As flexible and stretchable as living tissue, it nonetheless includes electronic elements that stimulate the spinal cord at the point of injury. The silicon substrate is covered with cracked gold electric conducting tracks that can be pulled and stretched. The electrodes are made of an innovative composite of silicon and platinum microbeads. They can be deformed in any direction, while still ensuring optimal electrical conductivity. Finally, a fluidic microchannel enables the delivery of pharmacological substances -- neurotransmitters in this case -- that will reanimate the nerve cells beneath the injured tissue.
The implant can also be used to monitor electrical impulses from the brain in real time. When they did this, the scientists were able to extract with precision the animal's motor intention before it was translated into movement."It's the first neuronal surface implant designed from the start for long-term application. In order to build it, we had to combine expertise from a considerable number of areas," explains Courtine, co-author and holder of EPFL's IRP Chair in Spinal Cord Repair. "These include materials science, electronics, neuroscience, medicine, and algorithm programming. I don't think there are many places in the world where one finds the level of interdisciplinary cooperation that exists in our Center for Neuroprosthetics."For the time being, the e-Dura implant has been primarily tested in cases of spinal cord injury in paralyzed rats. But the potential for applying these surface implants is huge -- for example in epilepsy, Parkinson's disease and pain management. The scientists are planning to move towards clinical trials in humans, and to develop their prototype in preparation for commercialization.

6) Solving a case of intercellular entrapment:

Optogenetics, which uses light to control cellular events, is poised to become an important technology in molecular biology and beyond. The Reich Group in UC Santa Barbara's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has made a major contribution to this emergent field by developing a light-activated nanocarrier that transports proteins into cells and releases them on command. The findings appear in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

Using inorganic gold nanoshells and a near-infrared laser, UCSB biochemistry professor Norbert Reich and graduate student Demosthenes Morales demonstrate for the first time a method that affords both spatial and temporal control over protein delivery in cells."You can point the laser at cells where and when you want a particular protein to be turned on," Reich said. "And that means you can ask biological questions that you could never ask before because you're able to say I want this one cell to do this."
The researchers exploited the receptors on prostate cancer cells, which rely on the recognition of a C-end rule internalizing peptide that has been fused to the end of a green fluorescent protein. This peptide is very specific for the receptor and once the two meet, it actually takes in the protein-loaded nanoparticles and shepherds them into the cell via endocytosis, a process that brings large molecules into cells.

The team used a modular nickel linking layer on the surface of the nanoparticles that is able to support different kinds of proteins fused with a polyhistidine tag commonly found on proteins expressed in labs. "We want this to be applicable to any type of protein that has a polyhistidine tail," lead author Morales said, "so if you synthesize or grow proteins in a lab, you can easily load the protein onto our nanoparticles."While the Reich Group's hollow gold nanoshells are effective carriers, transporting large biomolecules such as proteins into cells is only half the battle. In order for the protein to be effective once inside the cell, it must be released from the vesicle (endosome) holding it. The UCSB design enables that to happen.When we excite these hollow gold nanoshells with light, the surface of the nanoparticle becomes somewhat hot," Morales said. "The light not only releases the cargo that's on the surface but also causes the formation of vapor bubbles, which expand and eventually pop the vesicle, allowing for endosome escape."
The Reich Group's construct is designed around the advantage of protein delivery's specificity. "The best thing about our platform is that it has a wide range of applicability," Morales noted. "Not only do we have the ability to target with a laser where and when we want to release our therapeutic, but we also leverage the fact that the protein itself is very specific. We have specificity in terms of time and we have specificity toward the target. This is why proteins are very fascinating as a potent therapeutic."
According to Reich, this technology has important implications for basic research. "Biologists are going to make use of this kind of technology but they aren't going to develop it," Reich said. "There are a few people on campus who could use this technology so we have a unique opportunity at UCSB to be the lead in interfacing between the developers and the users."

7) Scientists illuminate mysterious molecular mechanism powering cells in most forms of life:

A team led by structural biologists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has taken a big step toward understanding the intricate molecular mechanism of a metabolic enzyme produced in most forms of life on Earth.

The finding, published in the January 9 issue of Science, concerns nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase (TH), an ancient evolutionary enzyme found throughout the animal kingdom as well as in plants and many simpler species. The enzyme is part of a process key to maintaining healthy cells and has also recently been linked to diseases such as diabetes and cancer."Despite its importance, TH has been one of the least-studied of mitochondrial enzymes," said TSRI Associate Professor C. David Stout. "Our new study helps clear up some mysteries -- suggesting how the enzyme structure might harness protons and indicating that its two sides are able to alternate functions, always staying in balance."

Powering the Cell
In humans and other higher organisms, TH enzymes work within mitochondria, the tiny, double-hulled oxygen reactors that help power most cellular processes.
As a mitochondrion burns oxygen, it pumps protons (hydrogen atoms denuded of their electrons) out of its inner compartment ("matrix"), creating an excess of these charged particles just outside its inner membrane. TH enzymes, which are fixed at one end within this membrane, allow a one-by-one flow of protons back through the membrane within the matrix. This process -- which is similar to that which makes ATP, the cell's universal source of energy -- has also been linked to the production of a compound called NADPH, which is crucial for defusing oxygen free radicals to maintain cell health.Stout's laboratory and others have previously described portions of the TH enzyme that protrude from the membrane into the mitochondrial matrix. But a precise understanding of TH's mechanism has been elusive. In its entirety, the enzyme has an exceptionally loose structure that makes it hard to evaluate using X-ray crystallography, the standard tool for determining the structures of large proteins at atomic-level resolution.
"Key details we've been lacking include the structure of TH's transmembrane portion, and the way in which the parts assemble into the whole enzyme," said Josephine H. Leung, a graduate student in the Stout laboratory who was lead author of the study.

New Clues to a Dynamic Structure
In the new study, thanks to technology developed by Professor Vadim Cherezov, now of University of Southern California, Leung and her colleagues were able for the first time to form crystals (neatly lined-up groupings) of the TH transmembrane portion and use X-ray crystallography to determine its structure -- to an atomic-level resolution of 2.8 angstroms (280 trillionths of a meter).The team also was able to grow crystals of the whole TH enzyme. These yielded a much lower-resolution structural image, but the researchers were able to enhance the resolution to 6.9 angstroms by plugging in data from crystallography of individual TH portions. In a further study, Professor Bridget Carragher and colleagues at the TSRI-based National Resource for Automated Molecular Microscopy (NRAMM) imaged individual copies of the enzyme to 18 angstroms using electron microscopy. Stout emphasized that such seamless collaborations at TSRI made this work possible: "Only an environment as at Scripps would enable the study of transhydrogenase."The electron microscopy data confirmed that TH naturally exists as a "dimer" -- two identical copies bound together -- and provided major clues to how TH manages to work in this conformation.

Directly above TH's transmembrane structure, just inside the mitochondrial matrix, is the "domain III" structure that binds NADPH's precursor molecule, NADP+, during conversion to NADPH. Structural biologists haven't understood how two such structures could work side by side in the TH dimer and not interfere with each other's activity. The new structural data suggest that these side-by-side structures are highly flexible and always have different orientations."Our most striking finding was that the two domain III structures are not symmetric -- one of them faces up while the other faces down," said Leung.In particular, one of structures is oriented apparently to catalyze the production of NADPH, while the other is turned towards the membrane, perhaps to facilitate transit of a proton. The new structural model suggests that with each proton transit, the two domain III structures flip and switch their functions. "We suspect that the passage of the proton is what somehow causes this flipping of the domain III structures," said Leung.
But much work remains to be done to determine TH's precise structure and mechanism. For example, the new structural data provide evidence of a likely proton channel in the TH transmembrane region, but show only a closed conformation of that structure. "We suspect that this channel can have another, open conformation that lets the proton pass through, so that's one of the details we want to study further," said Leung."There are many experiments to follow," Stout said.

Other co-authors of the study, "Division of labor in transhydrogenase by alternating proton translocation and hydride transfer," were Robert B. Gennis, professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a research associate in his laboratory, Lici A. Schurig-Briccio, who produced whole TH proteins for analysis and characterized the activity of TH when mutated at key structural sites; Jeffrey A. Speir of NRAAM; former NRAAM member Arne Moeller, now at Aarhus University; and Mutsuo Yamaguchi, staff scientist in the Stout laboratory at TSRI.

Movie Release This Week:

Chronicles the life of a Temporal Agent (Ethan Hawke) sent on an intricate series of time-travel journeys designed to prevent future killers from committing their crimes. Now, on his final assignment, the Agent must stop the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time and prevent a devastating attack in which thousands of lives will be lost.

Liam Neeson returns as ex-covert operative Bryan Mills, whose reconciliation with his ex-wife is tragically cut short when she is brutally murdered. Consumed with rage, and framed for the crime, he goes on the run to evade the relentless pursuit of the CIA, FBI and the police. For one last time, Mills must use his “particular set of skills,” to track down the real killers, exact his unique brand of justice, and protect the only thing that matters to him now – his daughter.

Based on the acclaimed novel by the same name, The World Made Straight is set in a rural community heavy with a dark past and dangerous present. The film follows a rebellious young man, Travis, (Jeremy Irvine) as he struggles to decide between the dark path he is on and the chance at a new life.

A volatile, oil-rich Nigerian community wages war against their corrupt government and a multi-national oil corporation to protect their land from being destroyed by excessive drilling and spills. To seek justice, a rebel organization kidnaps an American oil executive and demands that his corporation end the destruction and pollution. Inspired by true events, Black November is the gripping story of how a community rises up and takes drastic measures to make sure their voices are heard.

The story of a movement. The film chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernay’s SELMA tells the story of how the revered leader and visionary Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) and his brothers and sisters in the movement prompted change that forever altered history.

Political News This Week:

1) Imran Khan weds TV anchor in a simple ceremony:

Pakistan's flamboyant cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan on Thursday tied the knot with former BBC weather girl Reham Khan in a low-key ceremony in Islamabad, ending days of speculation about his marriage.The most talked about wedding of the season between Imran, 62, and Reham, 42, was conducted at the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief's Bani Gala farmhouse on the outskirts of the capital."Imran Khan & Reham Khan tied the knot in a simple ceremony in Bani Gala. Mufti Saeed conducted the nikah in the presence of witnesses," Shireen Mazari, spokesperson of Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, tweeted."Congratulations to Imran Khan on his marriage. We should now respect his privacy & his decision to keep this occasion simple," she said."There r no Wedding or Valima receptions. Tomorrow food will be distributed amongst poor children," she added.The Muslim ritual of nikah was performed by Mufti Saeed.

"Imran Khan asked me to speak on his behalf to the media. His nikah just happened and the witnesses included Aun Chaudhary, Zakir Khan, Reham's friend Aziz and others," Saeed said, adding that only close friends and family number were invited to the ceremony of nikah."The event was a low key affair because we did not want to celebrate due to the Peshawar school massacre," he said, adding that the Haq Mehr (payment from the husband to the wife at the time of marriage) is Rs 100,000.The couple, who released a few pictures showing them offering "dua" (prayer) after nikah, will give a charity dinner to orphan and poor children in the coming days, Dunya TV reported.

None of Imran's four sister attended the marriage as they reportedly did not approve the decision to wed Reham who has one son and two daughters from first marriage, local media reported.Earlier, it was reported that the events will be used to raise funds for Imran's Shaukat Khanum Cancer Memorial Hospital in Lahore, but Shireen denied such reports."There are no such ticketed cards and no grand function…Imran is in no mood to celebrate after the Peshawar tragedy," Shireen said.

Reham was born in Libya to Pakistani parents and has 3 children from her previous marriage to a doctor. She is presently hosting a political talk-show "In Focus with Reham Khan" on DawnNews.The show's rating has shot up following her marriage news.

2) Why Delhi cops believe Sunanda was murdered:

The final medical report by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the mysterious death of Sunanda Pushkar says that she died of poisoning, administered either through oral route or injection and the injuries on her barring one were a result of a "scuffle", according to the police FIR lodged in this case.The report rules out "natural cause" while noting out that all the 15 injuries found on her, except 'injury number 10' (an injection mark), were caused by blunt force and non-contributing to death.All the injuries mentioned are caused by "blunt force, simple in nature, non-contributing to death and are produced in scuffle, except injury number 10 which is an injection mark," it said.Injury number 12 is a teeth bite mark. The injuries number 1 to 15 is of various duration ranging from 12 hours to 4 days," says the FIR registered as a murder case at the Sarojini Nagar Police Station.

The autopsy board, in its final report submitted to police on December 29, has concluded that "it is not a natural death and the poisoning is through oral route. However, injectable route too also can’t be ruled out."The FIR also states how the post mortem report had indicated toward "alprazolam poisoning" while the forensic report by CFSL and FSL Rohini completely contradicted it by ruling it out."The post mortem of the deceased was conducted at AIIMS, New Delhi on 18 January by an Autopsy Board of three forensic doctors at AIIMS."The autopsy board opined that the cause of death to the best of its knowledge and belief in this case is poisoning. The circumstantial evidences are suggestive of alprazolam poisoning," the FIR said.Sunanda, 51, was found dead in a five-star hotel on January 17 last year.According to the FIR, on January 17 last year at about 9 pm a telephonic call was received by Inspector Atul Sood, the then SHO of Sarojini Nagar from Abhinav Kumar, PS to Tharoor, the then Minister of State of HRD that Sunanda had done something in Room No 345, Hotel Leela Palace, New Delhi.

Acting on this information, Sood along with staff went to the spot where Sunanda was found dead inside the bedroom of the suite.Preliminary enquiries at the spot showed that she had checked into the hotel on January 15 at 1748 hours, the FIR said.As it emerged that Sunanda had died within seven years of her marriage, Alok Sharma, SDM Vasant Vihar, was informed who inspected the place of occurrence and conducted Inquest Proceedings under section 176 CrPC.Sharma examined the witnesses and the relatives of the deceased and recorded their statements, it said.Director CFSL, Lodhi RoadNew Delhi, along with team also visited the scene of crime. The scene of crime was video graphed/photographed by the Crime Team/South District as well as CFSL Team.The exhibits were lifted by the CFSL Team from the spot and the scene of occurrence was preserved and the body was moved for post mortem, it said."The circumstantial evidences are suggestive of alprazolam poisoning," it said.The Autopsy Report was handed over to SDM, Vasant Vihar on January 20.

Sharma then sent his inquest proceedings report to SHO/Sarojini Nagar with the remarks, "In view of the examination of post mortem report where the cause of death is poisoning, you are directed to further investigate the matter thoroughly and take action as per law. You are further directed to request the Director CFSL for early report of viscera examination.""As per the directions, police then sent the viscera, clothes and medicines found on the spot to CFSL, Lodhi Road, for examination. The viscera analysis report was received from CFSL, New Delhi on March 10 and the same was sent to autopsy board, AIIMS. After the perusal of CFSL report, the autopsy board, AIIMS, sought some more information which included quantitative estimation of various chemicals/compounds in different viscera and exhibits, presence/absence of saliva in various swabs taken from hands and epithelial cells from nails and any other circumstantial evidence, statement, photos taken at the scene of the crime so as to give holistic and comprehensive opinion in the case," said the FIR."In compliance of the directions the exhibits/swabs were sent to CFSL, Lodhi Road, in April last year to verify the presence/absence of saliva while foreign material/epithelial cells and other exhibits were sent to FSL, Rohini for quantitative analysis of chemicals," said the FIR.The report from CFSL, Lodhi Road said the presence of saliva and foreign material was not detected.The report from FSL, Rohini was also obtained and both these reports were sent to the Autopsy Board, AIIMS.

It was after this that the Autopsy Board gave subsequent medical opinion in September, which was its second report in which opined “the cause of death in the case is poisoning”."Viscera are positive for ethyl alcohol, caffeine, acetaminophen and cotinine.The medical board reserved the comment on specific poison/chemical since there is a lot of limitation on viscera report," the report had said.The report was termed "inconclusive" by the Delhi Police, following which the Autopsy Board further required that a few of other medico-legal points need to be addressed by the Investigating Officer since the circumstantial information are essential for medical opinion.  "In response to the information sought by the Board, photographs of the scene of crime, statements of witnesses and relatives, e mails etc. were provided with a request that the Board members may visit the scene of crime to collect any object/material from the scene of occurrence which may be of any importance for medical examination and conclusive opinion in the post mortem report as the scene of occurrence was still preserved," the FIR said.

The autopsy board members, along with CFSL expert team, visited the scene of occurrence on November 5 last year and lifted exhibits from there. Seized exhibits were sent to CFSL, Lodhi Road for chemical examination, it said. The report in this regard was received on December 24 and the same was sent to the Autopsy Board along with other relevant treatment papers related to the deceased on the same day, according to the FIR. The latest report from the autopsy board in this matter has been received on December 29 in which the autopsy board has opined that all above medical documents given by the IO and detailed post-mortem report, including HPE, conclude that the deceased Sunanda Pushkar was neither ill nor had any disease prior to her death."She was a normal healthy individual. In view of the above analysis, the death due to natural cause is ruled out in this case. The cause of death in this case is poisoning.

"The poisoning is through oral route, however injectable route too also can’t be ruled out," the FIR quotes the final report as saying.In view of this latest report, a case under section 302 IPC is made out, said the FIR adding "therefore a case under Section 302 of IPC has been registered.

Sunanda case: Tharoor's domestic help quizzed by SIT:

The Special Investigating Team probing death of Sunanda Pushkar on Thursday interrogated her husband Shashi Tharoor's domestic help on specific details such as people who met her during the 48 hours prior to her death and the injury marks on her body.The domestic help, Narayan Singh, who was in Himachal Pradesh, came to Delhi on Thursday morning after investigators asked him last night to join the high-profile probe. His interrogation started around noon and it continued till late in the evening at an undisclosed location in South Delhi.

He was interrogated by police at least twice earlier.Asked whether Tharoor is a suspect, Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi did not give a direct reply saying, "As far as we are concerned anything and everything is possible.""Once we complete our investigation, we will definitely be able to tell you," he added.Sources said Singh was asked about details of the people with whom she was apparently in touch on email and different social media including twitter.

Singh's interrogation came a day after a letter, written by Tharoor in November last year to the Delhi Police Commissioner, surfaced in which the Congress MP accused investigators of "assaulting" and "intimidating" Singh into "confessing" that they both killed Sunanda.Sources said SIT is likely to question Tharoor's personal staff along with the employees of the five-star hotel in Delhi where she was found dead on January 17 last year.Delhi Police had on Tuesday registered a murder case in connection with Sunanda's death under section 302 of IPC on the basis of an AIIMS medical report that concluded that her death was unnatural and due to poisoning.

The sources said Singh was asked whether Sunanda was suffering from any ailments and was there any medication she was taking. He was specifically asked about the Tablet Alprax, two used strips of which were found in her room in Leela Palace hotel."He was also asked about the 15 injuries found on her body, especially 'injury number 10' which was termed as a mark caused by the needle of a syringe," the sources said.

This injury mark had raised suspicion that poison was injected into her body, sources said. The AIIMS medical report had dismissed the theory that Sunanda died of an overdose of Alprazolam as the viscera report is negative for the presence of the substance."The SIT will soon question other members of Tharoor’s staff, the employees of the hotel, a female journalist with whom she apparently spoke to before her death and all those who came in close contact with her in the last 48 hours before her death," the sources said.It will also examine the hotel doctor who declared Sunanda dead and go through CCTV footage of the hotel.

The fresh statements of these people will be matched with the ones they had given to the SDM who had carried out an inquest proceeding in the case.These people can be called for questioning directly and police does not need to issue a notice to them in this regard.The forensic report of Sunanda's mobile phones and laptop which were sent for tests will also be evaluated.Police has already got the details of the people with whom she was apparently in touch on email and different social media including twitter.From the medical document made available to them the panel has also concluded that Sunanda did not have cardiac problem. She was not suffering from any diseases like hypertension, diabetes or tuberculosis.The panel has concluded that Sunanda was neither ill nor had any disease prior to her death. She was a normal healthy individual.

3) Gunmen attack Paris newspaper office, 12 killed:

Heavily-armed gunmen shouting Islamist slogans stormed the Charlie Hebdo (a satirical newspaper) office in Paris on Wednesday and shot dead 12 people including its editor-in-chief Stephane Charbonnier, known as Charb.

The gunmen, who wore hoods and were armed with Kalashnikov automatic rifles, exchanged gunfire with police at the scene, killing two officers. Police launched a massive hunt for the masked attackers who sped off in a car after shooting at officers. Some of the best-known cartoonists in France were among the 12 killed in the deadliest attack in France in four decades. Editor-in-chief Stephane Charbonnier, known as Charb, and the cartoonists known as Cabu (Jean Cabu), Tignous (Bernard 'Tignous' Verlhac) and Wolinski (George Wolinski) were killed in the attack on the paper, which gained notoriety for repeatedly publishing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, said media reports. 

The newspaper had published a new cartoon on Twitter only hours before the attack that appeared to show Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Media reports said the attackers were heard shouting "Allahu Akbar," and the "prophet was avenged." A police spokesman, said the three armed men, wearing masks, had forced their way into the offices of Charlie Hebdo and had fired indiscriminately at people in the lobby, hitting many. He said that they were carrying AK-47 weapons, and that the attack had lasted several minutes before the attackers fled by car.

The police said that an abandoned car used by the gunmen had been discovered by police in the 20th Arrondissement of Paris, a neighborhood with a large immigrant population.There will be reinforced security at media company offices, major stores, religious centres and on public transport. All available forces have been mobilised, with civil and military reinforcements as part of this plan. President Francois Hollande, who rushed to the scene of the shooting, described it as a barbaric terrorist attack. "This is a terrorist attack, there is no doubt about this," he said. "An act of exceptional barbarism has just been committed here in Paris against a newspaper, meaning (against) the expression of liberty," Hollande said.Hollande called for "national unity", adding that "several terrorist attacks had been foiled in recent weeks".

The Danish newspaper that caused a global stir with a series of controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed stepped up security after the deadly attack in Paris.US President Barack Obama condemned the horrific terror attack in France and directed his officials to provide any assistance needed to help bring these terrorists to justice. "I strongly condemn the horrific shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris that has reportedly killed 12 people. 

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrorist attack and the people of France at this difficult time," Obama said in a statement. The satirical magazine's premises have been under long-running police surveillance because of a potential threat from Islamist extremists. In 2011, Charlie Hebdo's offices were firebombed, its website hacked, its Facebook page suspended for 24 hours and its staff targeted with death threats.'France's Muslim leadership sharply condemned the shooting calling it a "barbaric" attack and an assault on press freedom and democracy.

The body represents France's Muslim community, which is Europe's biggest and estimated to number between 3.5 million and five million people.

4) These brothers are wanted for attack on Charlie Hebdo:

The French police have released photos of the two brothers wanted in connection with the attack of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris on Wednesday that left 12 people dead including the editor, three celebrated cartoonists and two police officers.  The gunmen have been identified as Hamyd Mourad, 18, and brothers Said Kouachi, 34, and Cherif Kouachi, 32.  According to the police, an arrest warrant has been issued against the two who are likely to be "armed and dangerous."A massive manhunt continued for the suspects even as AFP reported that Mourad, the youngest suspect, has surrendered. 

A car, carrying the three gunmen, pulled up near Charlie Hebdo’s building and asked a maintenance worker where the magazine office was located. Two of the attackers, wearing masks and carrying AK-47 weapons, got out of the car and opened fire, killing one of the workers.

They stormed the newsroom and killed some of France’s best-known cartoonists. The gunmen then left the building and drove off with a third suspect, exchanging fire with police. An officer was killed in the final exchange. The satirical weekly, which has long been in confrontation with Islamists, had published a new cartoon on Twitter only hours before the attack that appeared to show Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. However, there is no indication that Wednesday’s attack was linked to this.

Media reports said the attackers were heard shouting "Allahu Akbar," and the "prophet was avenged."French President Francois Hollande, who rushed to the scene of the shooting, described it as a barbaric terrorist attack. "This is a terrorist attack, there is no doubt about this," he said.

5) Sirisena to be sworn-in as Sri Lanka's new prez today:

Maithripala Sirisena, the Sri Lankan president-elect, will be sworn-in on Friday evening following his stunning victory in the tightest-ever presidential race that ended the 10-year-rule of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said the swearing in ceremony will be held at 6 pm in the Independence Monument on Friday. "The new president will be sworn-in on Friday evening. I met President Rajapaksa ion Friday morning who declared his intention for a smooth transition. For his action to finish the war (with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) we have to respect him," he told media persons1.

Sirisena, 63, was officially elected as the sixth president of Sri Lanka by Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya. "I declare that Maithripala Sirisena has been duly elected as the president of Sri Lanka," Deshapriya announced. He polled 6,217,162 or 51.2 per cent of the vote against the incumbent Rajapaksa's 5,768,090 or 47.6 per cent.

Sirisena, backed by the main opposition United National Party, the Buddhist nationalist JHU or the Heritage Party and a host of other Tamil and Muslim minority parties, defeated Rajapaksa in a keenly contest battle.

Rajapaksa, 69, called a snap presidential election to win a mandate for his third term. Hailing from the rural north central province, Sirisena does not speak English, is ever seen in the national dress. He has no background of hobnobbing with the Colombo elite and socialites.

No old boy of a leading Colombo school, he was more than a match for Rajapaksa's rural appeal. "What was expected to be an easy win for him turned into a difficult task when Sirisena broke ranks in late November to challenge Rajapaksa as the opposition unity candidate," political experts said.

Sirisena ran his campaign based on a 100-day reform programme to introduce constitutional and democratic reforms. He has pledged a national unity government with the participation of all political parties represented in parliament.

Rajapaksa left his tightly guarded official residence early on Friday morning in order to facilitate Sirisena's induction. Sirisena said he wished to thank Rajapaksa and urged the new president's supporters to celebrate victory peacefully.

6) Fresh drama unfolds in Paris: Gunman takes 5 hostages:

Hours after Paris police cornered two gunmen, who were responsible for the Charlie Hebdo killings, at a printing press in Dammartin-en-Goele, another gunman took 5 people hostage at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris. According to French police, two hostages have already died.The attacker was suspected of being the same gunman who killed a policewoman in a shooting in Montrouge in southern Paris on Thursday.

French police have now named two people suspected to have taken the hostages as Amedy Coulibaly, 33, and a woman named Hayat Boumeddiene, 26. There is a hostage situation - shots have been fired,” said a Paris police source, who said armed officers were attending the scene. The French media reported that the gunman was carrying a Kalashnikov.

Police have surrounded the grocery store, which is located on the ground floor. Armed police threw a cordon across Cours de Vincennes at the junction.A helicopter was also seen flying over a four block section of the district.

7) With no government in sight, Governor's rule imposed in Jammu and Kashmir:

Governor's rule was imposed in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday with the People’s Democratic Party, which emerged as the single-largest party, and the Bharatiya Janata Party failing to cobble up the required number to form the government, triggering a blame game among political parties.

The decision came a day after Governor N N Vohra submitted his report to President Pranab Mukherjee, stating that Omar Abdullah had requested to be relieved of the post of being a caretaker chief minister.The governor's report contained some suggestions including the option of a spell of governor's rule in the wake of no party getting the number required to form a government after the highly-fractured verdict in the assembly elections, official sources said here.

After the election results were out on December 23, neither the PDP which emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats nor the BJP with 25 could get the magic figure of 44 to stake claim to form a government. The NC has 15 members of Legislative Assembly while the Congress 12.A blame game erupted on Friday with Omar squarely blaming PDP patron Mufti Mohammed Sayeed for bringing the state under governor's rule and accusing him of continuing the deadlock over government formation to get a full six-year term as chief-minister.The PDP hit back at Omar, saying there was time until January 19 to form the government and he had forced the present situation on the state. In the midst of this spat, BJP President Amit Shah said in Vijayawada that his party was in talks with both the the PDP and the NC to form the next government in the state."Our talks are going on with the two parties in Kashmir...We are trying to form a BJP government in the state," he said. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had on Thursday night forwarded the governor's report to the Prime Minister's Office.Governor's rule was imposed in the state under Section 92 of Jammu and Kashmir Constitution which allows the governor to proclaim it in case of failure of Constitutional machinery in the state.President Pranab Mukherjee is understood to have given his concurrence for governor's rule which has been imposed in the state for the sixth time since 1977. Omar had said the state needed a full-time administrator to deal with the situation along the border with Pakistan and providing relief to flood-affected people in the Kashmir Valley.He was asked to continue as caretaker chief minister on December 24 after his resignation in the wake of defeat of his party.An official statement issued this evening in Jammu said governor's rule has been imposed in the state under Section 92(1) of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution under which this can be done by issuing a proclaimation after the Governor is satisfied about the failure of constitutional machinery in the state.It said that in the past two weeks the governor held consultations with the leadership of the PDP and the BJP. However, no party or group of parties has so far staked claim to form the next government in the state.

After Omar requested for being relieved as caretaker CM, the governor was of the view that since none of the political party or parties have so far staked their claim to form the
next government, the governance of the State cannot be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the State, the statement said.The new government is required to be constituted before January 19 when the term of the current assembly expires. Omar's decision may have also hastened the governor's decision to send a report to the home ministry.The state is witnessing such a stalemate for the second time in 12 years. A similar situation had arisen when Farooq Abdullah had asked the then Governor G C Saxena to relieve him of being a caretaker chief minister as the PDP and the Congress were taking a lot of time in cobbling up numbers to form the government.

Despite intervention by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Abdullah refused to continue as the caretaker chief minister and governor's rule had to be imposed for a fortnight from October 18, 2002."It's been months since the state had a full fledged administration and the people can't wait for Mufti Sayeed to negotiate his six-year term," Omar tweeted after the state was put under the governor's rule.Omar, who is the Working President of National Conference, said restoration and rehabilitation in the wake of the floods was suffering as accountable administration was absent besides there was a humanitarian problem on the border."Yet the @jkpdp would like the limbo to continue as people suffer only so the Mufti can force a 6 yr term as CM from the BJP," he tweeted. He termed as ‘amazing’ PDP's contention that the NC's offer of support to in in government formation was non-serious."I'm sorry after an election with such a good turnout we have a situation of governor's rule but as I've maintained the onus lies with JKPDP," he said. PDP maintained that it was in talks with various political parties for formation of a stable government in the state."We are in touch with different parties as informal channels are open with all parties," party spokesman Naeem Akhtar said in Srinagar. "We are hopeful that we will be able to form a stable government soon," he said, indicating that governor's rule may last only for a brief period.

Asked if fresh election in the state was a possibility, Akhtar said, "we will discuss the situation if it comes to that".In Delhi, the BJP said it was an ‘evolving’ situation in J-K and that Governor's rule was imposed owing to constitutional limitation of time and reluctance of Omar to continue as caretaker CM."It is an evolving situation", Union Minister and senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said in response to questions from reporters.

8) Pak boat: No mention of ‘terror’ in NTRO alert:

The National Technical Research Organisation’s (NTRO's) intelligence alerts about the fishing boat that caught fire and sank in the Arabian Sea on New Year’s eve reveal that the first information of the boat passed on by the technical intelligence agency to the Indian Coast Guard neither mentioned the word terror nor explosives, HT has learnt. “Suspect Pak entity… undertaking suspect transaction in area (340 km off Porbandar),” said the first alert sent out by the NTRO to the coast guard and the Indian Navy on December 31, 2014. HT saw the alerts the NTRO sent to the coastal agencies.

The NTRO followed its “suspect Pak entity” alert with a second alert to the navy and coast guard, which did not mention the word “terror” either and revised the boat’s location from 340 km off Porbandar to 357 km from Porbandar. The controversial burning and sinking of the fishing boat by its four occupants led to questions in the media and by the Congress, which asked whether the vessel was carrying terrorists or smugglers.

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar called the four aboard the boat “suspected terrorists” primarily on the basis that they “committed suicide”, but an HT investigation reveals the terror angle has not yet been confirmed.Questions have been raised as to why the NTRO shared intelligence directly with the coastal agencies and not via the Intelligence Bureau’s (IB) Multi Agency Centre (MAC) as mandated. HT found that when the IB took up the matter with the NTRO, it was told the information was not shared because it did not relate to terror.“We were categorically told by the NTRO that they did not share the information because it related to smugglers and not to terror,” a senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity.Sources in the agency, however, said they did not say “terror” because they did not suspect terror. One official said they had been tracking the Thuraya satellite phone used by the boat’s occupants for at least a fortnight and put out its first alert only when the boat veered off course and appeared to be entering Indian waters.“That is why we said suspect Pak entity,” the official said, adding, “The boat emanated from Keti Port in Pakistan and the same Thuraya was being used by its occupants.”

The coast guard dispatched a Dornier aircraft and sent its ship Rajratan to look for the boat after receiving the alert.According to the ministry of defence (MoD) press release, “The coast guard ship warned the fishing boat to stop for further investigation of the crew and cargo; however, the boat increased speed and tried to escape away from the Indian side of maritime boundary… Four persons were seen on the boat who disregarded all warnings by the coast guard ship to stop and cooperate with investigation. Soon thereafter, the crew hid themselves in below deck compartment and set the boat on fire, which resulted in explosion and major fire on the boat.”The press release uses “explosion” only in this one line. At no point does it mention terror or even explosives, although the subject line read: coast guard intercepts suspect boat carrying explosives in Arabian Sea.Questions still abound over whether the boat was indeed on a terror mission. Coast Guard commander (North West), Kuldip Singh Sheoran told HT, “The matter is under investigation. I cannot jump to such a conclusion. My job was to intercept the boat after we received intelligence inputs from NTRO.”A full internal review of the intercepted satellite-phone interceptions will likely answer the question. HT does not have access to subsequent intelligence gleaned by NTRO.The MoD, when contacted, refused to comment on the grounds that the investigation was still on.

9) Youth who slapped Mamata's nephew 'in hospital with severe injuries' :

Debashish Acharya, the youth who allegedly slapped West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee, was admitted to SSKM Hospital in Kolkata on Thursday for medical treatment, police said. “It was a medical decision. He has been admitted for better treatment. He is stable now,” Superintendent of Police (East Midnapore) Sukesh Jain told Mail Today. Debashish suffered severe injuries after TMC supporters thrashed him after he allegedly attacked Abhishek during a rally in East Midnapore on Sunday.

Debashish reportedly slapped Abhishek in front of thousands of party supporters when the leader was delivering a political speech.
After the incident, Debashish’s parents met Abhishek seeking an apology. “I had gone there to express that my son is very ill. He has been suffering from severe pain in his chest and head. My son was not being treated properly,” Debashish’s mother Shibani Acharya said.She added that the TMC Lok Sabha member from Diamond Harbour had assured her that he would help. The state police said the youth was affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s students' arm, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.
BJP state unit president Rahul Sinha, however, denied that Debashish had any political connection with the Sangh Parivar and the party. A day after the incident, the police had arrested Debashish on charges of attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy against Abhishek.

Sports News This Week:

1) Sharapova stamps her authority in Brisbane:

Top seed Maria Sharapova stamped her authority on the Brisbane International when she downed Ukraine's Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-3 in the semifinals on Friday.

Sharapova was in magnificent touch as she disposed of Svitolina to set up a dream final against Serbia's Ana Ivanovic on Saturday. The Russian world number two also showed she will be a serious contender to win her second Australian Open when the year's first Grand Slam begins in just over a week. Svitolina, 20, is considered a rising star of the women's game. She showed tremendous fighting spirit to defeat third seed Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals when she came back from losing the first set. But she had no answer to Sharapova's power and precision, despite a late fightback at 5-1 down in the second set which saw her save four match points.

"She's an up and comer -- top 30 in the world and only 20 years of age," Sharapova said. "I knew she was going to come out and be competitive and fierce, and we saw that tonight." Sharapova is using the tournament as preparation for Melbourne and said she was feeling confident ahead of the Australian Open. "I'm a step further ahead than last year when I lost in the semis (in Brisbane). It's great to be in the final, I'll just go and give it everything I have," she said.

Ivanovic reached the Brisbane final for the first time in four attempts when she saw off tenacious American Varvara Lepchenko 7-6 (7/2), 6-4. The Serb appeared cruising for an easy win when she went ahead 5-1 in the second set. But Lepchenko, who fought back from a similar position to beat Samantha Stosur in the first round, began to swing freely when her back was against the wall. Ivanovic faltered under the pressure of the American's groundstrokes and dropped her serve to allow Lepchenko back into the set. The American continued to go for broke, and saved six match points as she closed to 5-4.

However, Ivanovic at last held her nerve and took the match in one hour and 53 minutes. Ivanovic conceded that she had begun to worry that she wouldn't be able to close the match out. "Definitely my heart was racing a little bit, especially as it was really becoming a battle," she said.

"All the way up to that point, even though I was 5-1 up, it still felt like a battle all the way through. "I really tried to take it one point at a time and do the things that I've been working on and practising and try not think too much about the score." Sharapova and Ivanovic played four times in 2014 with two wins apiece. "The results last year went back and forth and we had some tough three-setters," Sharapova said.

2) Smith sparkles as Australia push lead to 348 over India:

Skipper Steve Smith led the way with another torrent of runs as Australia raced to 251 for six and a lead of 348 over India before rain stopped play at the end of the fourth day of the fourth test on Friday.

Looking to wrap up the four-match series 3-0, the hosts dismissed India for 475 shortly before tea to take a 97-run first innings lead and then embarked on a fierce assault on the Indian bowlers in a bid to force a result.It started poorly when spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (4-104)had David Warner (4) caught in the slips after facing five balls and Shane Watson played on for 16.Opener Chris Rogers, though, hit a 77-ball 56 before he was caught at midwicket off Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Smith was soon back in his considerable stride.

The Australian captain raced to his half century in 44 balls and had soon passed Donald Bradman as his country's highest scorer in a series against India.Shaun Marsh came and went for a single run to give Ashwin his third victim before Smith's 93-minute innings came to an end when Mohammed Shami trapped him plumb lbw.

His 71 brought his series tally to 769 and a group of fans in the member's stand bowed low to him as he walked back to the Sydney Cricket Ground dressing room to ponder his declaration.Joe Burns took up the mantle and hit three sixes and eight fours in his 39-ball 66, while Brad Haddin ably assisted with 31 not out."It was lots of fun," Burns told reporters. "It's a fantastic opportunity to come out tomorrow and win a test match for Australia, so very exciting."The wicket spun and I think it will only get harder to bat on as the game goes on. I'm sure we're going to create 10 opportunities. It's just a case of taking all 10."

India captain Virat Kohli has been no slouch with the bat in this series but he was only able to add seven runs to his overnight score before clipping a Ryan Harris delivery to Rogers at midwicket some 20 minutes into play.The 147 helped bring his tally over the four tests to 646 runs, the second highest by an Indian batsman in an overseas series after the 774 Sunil Gavaskar accumulated in West Indies in 1971.

Despite the Indian tail wagging for the first time in the series and good batting conditions, the Australians managed to winkle out four more batsman.They got some help from the third umpire to get rid of Kumar (30), who put on 65 with Ashwin (50) for the eighth wicket, after a referred decision that will do little to persuade India to embrace the Decision Review System."It's still pretty decently poised, although they definitely have an ace up," said Ashwin, despite 288 being the highest successful fourth innings run chase in a test at the ground.

3) Neymar hits double as Barca put five past Elche:

Neymar's double helped Barcelona cruise to a 5-0 victory in the first leg of their King’s Cup last 16 tie against Elche on Thursday to ease the pressure on coach Luis Enrique.
The Brazilian put the Catalan club ahead after 34 minutes when he fired home following a well worked move and after that the flood gates opened against the bottom side in La Liga.Six minutes later Luis Suarez slotted past Przemyslaw Tyton after creating the chance with a delightful dummy as he allowed the ball to run through his legs before bearing down on goal.Lionel Messi, who was the focus of attention following a reported bust-up with Enrique, looked very motivated from the start with some lively runs and converted a penalty just before halftime after Neymar was felled by defender Enzo Roco.

Jordi Alba made it 4-0 with a clinical finish from a Messi pass after 55 minutes and Neymar got his second foal with a deflected drive from distance five minutes later.
Shortly afterwards Neymar was substituted and made it clear he was unhappy as he shook his head when walking off.
It was an important win for Enrique who was criticised for leaving Messi and Neymar on the bench for the defeat by Real Sociedad last Sunday with his team stuttering under him.The coach put out a first choice strike force against Elche as he could not afford another slip-up and he received a mixed reception from the Camp Nou crowd.
At several times during the game fans chanted his name but they were then drowned out by whistles.

“The only reflection that I will make is that which interests me, and I value the support of the fans to the players. They are the protagonists in this show and I like it that they are supported,” he told a news conference.“This is basic if we are going to have a good season and it is great if they can back the players.”It has been a difficult week with presidential elections brought forward a year to the end of this season due to general dissatisfaction with the management of the club.“I think that our supporters have belief in us and in this sense I am in favour of the decision to hold elections by the president (Josep Maria) Bartomeu as a generous gesture” said Luis Enrique.“This is a way of bringing some calm and hopefully we can build on that with some good results."Barca will face either Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid in the King's Cup quarter-finals once they finish off Elche. Atletico hold a 2-0 first-leg lead after the home leg on Wednesday.

4) Mahendra Singh Dhoni: The end of an era

There had been no hint of it at the press conference on 30 December after the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne ended in a draw. With one Test remaining to be played in Sydney, the draw was enough for Australia to take an unbeatable 2-0 series lead, having won the first two Tests handsomely. The post-match presser was all about the Test and about the on-field banter between the teams that has sometimes overshadowed the cricket itself. Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said he was satisfied with the draw, given India, at one stage, were in a position from where they could have lost. “After that, I felt we would accept draw as a fair result because we were in trouble; and from there to draw is good enough. You don’t definitely want to lose a Test match,” said Dhoni, who personally had a good match, his 90th Test, scoring 24 not out, passing 10,000 international runs and effecting nine dismissals behind the stumps. Shortly after that came the shock announcement by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)—the one no one had quite seen coming. “One of India’s greatest Test captains under whose leadership India became the No. 1 team in Test rankings, M.S. Dhoni, has decided to retire from Test cricket citing the strain of playing all formats of cricket,” the statement said. “BCCI, while respecting the decision of Dhoni to retire from Test cricket, wishes to thank him for his enormous contribution to Tests and the laurels that he has brought to India,” said the statement, which named young gun Virat Kohli to lead the team in the final Test in Sydney. In the days that have passed since Dhoni dropped the year-end clanger, heated debates have taken place on prime time television, in sports bars, drawing rooms, on social media—indeed, everywhere—as to what could have prompted him to retire mid-stream, as it were. He will continue to play in one-day internationals (ODIs) and T20 cricket—formats that have suited him better than the five-day game, though he made a huge impact in the latter, too. But there is a growing feeling that the Test retirement is a precursor to hanging up his boots in those formats, too, perhaps after the World Cup in February-March 2015 and the Indian Premier League (IPL) immediately after. Reaction and sentiment have ranged from recrimination and rant to consternation, empathy, sympathy and support. But the common thread running through all these is a sense of disbelief. Dhoni seems to have confounded just about everybody: as much by his decision, but more intriguingly by the timing of it. A captain surrendering his position is not infrequent in Test history. Losing captains are known to throw in the towel, especially after a series is lost. Some just can’t take the demands of the job any more and give it up prematurely, but continue as regular players, often for years. Indian cricket, for instance, has seen three great cricketers giving up charge because of the pressure or the politics associated with the job: Sunil Gavaskar, after he had won the World Championship of Cricket in 1985; Sachin Tendulkar, after the series against Australia in 1999-2000, and Rahul Dravid, after winning the rubber against England in 2007. But whatever their compunctions about the captaincy or the politics around it, they resumed their careers without a hitch. A captain retiring (not being replaced, mind you) in the middle of a series, however, is among the “rarest of rare” anywhere in the world. And even though there are two examples in Indian cricket itself, these are bereft of any deep mystery. In 1958-59, Ghulam Ahmed quit after the fourth match of the series against the West Indies. Those were diabolical times in Indian cricket. Four captains were used in five Tests, each one compelled to believe he was the fall guy. At 37, Ahmed thought he had had enough, made himself unavailable for the fifth Test, and retired immediately after.

Book Of This Week:

Hyperspace  by Michio Kaku (Author)

Already thoroughly familiar to the seasoned science fiction fan, Hyperspace is that realm which enables a spaceship captain to take his ship on a physics-defying shortcut (or "wormhole") to the outer shores of the Galaxy in less time than it takes a 747 to fly from New York to Tokyo. But in the past few years, physicists on the cutting edge of science have found that a 10-dimensional Hyperspace may actually exist, albeit at a scale almost too small to comprehend, smaller even than a quark; and that in spite of its tiny size, it may be the basis on which all the forces of nature will be united.

This is the first book for a general audience on one of the latest, most exciting developments in modern science. In the past several years, theoretical physicists—the author among them—have discovered that the universe exists not merely in the four spacetime dimensions (3 of space + one of time) with which Einstein made us familiar, but rather as a ten-dimensional Hyperspace. Once the domain of the science fiction writer or the occultist, Hyperspace has recently been shown to be the only kind of space in which the laws of modern physics can be satisfactorily explained. Amazingly enough, many of the phenomena whose explanations have stymied 20th century physicists and cosmologists can now be perfectly clarified by using the ten dimensions of Hyperspace. Most importantly, Einstein's unfulfilled dream, the work on which he spent the last several decades of his life in vain—the unification of all the forces of nature—now sits waiting on the ten-dimensional doorstep of modern theoretical physicists.

Michio Kaku—theoretical high-energy physicist, author, radio talkshow host, and nuclear disarmament activist—is one of the pioneers in the field of String Theory, which states that the basic constituents of our universe are not quarks or protons or electrons, but much smaller entities called "strings" or "superstrings", which vibrate—like violin strings—in 10 dimensional Hyperspace, and whose vibrations in different resonances are manifested in the elementary particles. In his book, Kaku takes the reader on a ride through Hyperspace to the edge of physics. On the way he gives crystal clear explanations of such formidable mathematical concepts as non-Euclidean Geometry, Kaluza-Klein Theory, and Supergravity, the everyday tools of the string theorist.

Utilizing fascinating and often hilarious anecdotes from history, from art, and from science fiction, Kaku shows us that writers and artists—in addition to scientists—have been fascinated by multidimensional space for over a century. In fact, many of the weird effects created by such famous artists as Dali and Picasso can be explained and more appreciated with an eye on the fourth spatial dimension. Finally, Kaku shows us why the ability to master Hyperspace may be our only salvation from destruction at the end of space-time. This lively yet authoritative book is spiced with many whimsical illustrations in a style reminiscent of the late science writer George Gamow.

Michio Kaku:

Dr. Michio Kaku is an American theoretical physicist at the City College of New York , best-selling author, a futurist, and a communicator and popularizer of science. He has written several books about physics and related topics of science.He has written two New York Times Best Sellers, Physics of the Impossible (2008) and Physics of the Future (2011).

Dr. Michio is the co-founder of string field theory (a branch of string theory), and continues Einstein’s search to unite the four fundamental forces of nature into one unified theory.Kaku was a Visitor and Member (1973 and 1990) at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and New York University. He currently holds the Henry Semat Chair and Professorship in theoretical physics at the City College of New York.

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