Science News This Week:
1) Harm and response: Plants recognize and respond to different insects:
We often think of damage on a surface level.But for plants, much of the important response to an insect bite takes place out of sight. Over minutes and hours, particular plant genes are turned on and off to fight back, translating into changes in its defenses.
In one of the broadest studies of its kind, scientists at the University of Missouri Bond Life Sciences Center recently looked at all plant genes and their response to the enemy.
"There are 28,000 genes in the plant, and we detected 2,778 genes responding, depending on the type of insect," said Jack Schultz, Bond LSC director and study co-author. "Imagine you only look at a few of these genes, you get a very limited picture and possibly one that doesn't represent what's going on at all. This is by far the most comprehensive study of its type, allowing scientists to draw conclusions and get it right."Their results showed that the model Arabidopsis plant recognizes and responds differently to four insect species. The insects cause changes on a transcriptional level, triggering proteins that switch on and off plant genes to help defend against more attacks.
The difference in the insect
"It was no surprise that the plant responded differently to having its leaves chewed by a caterpillar or pierced by an aphid's needle-like mouthparts," said Heidi Appel, Bond LSC Investigator and lead author of the study. "But we were amazed that the plant responded so differently to insects that feed in the same way."
Plants fed on by caterpillars -- cabbage butterfly and beet armyworms -- shared less than a quarter of their changes in gene expression. Likewise, plants fed on by the two species of aphids shared less than 10 percent of their changes in gene expression.The plant responses to caterpillars were also very different than the plant response to mechanical wounding, sharing only about 10 percent of their gene expression changes. The overlap in plant gene responses between caterpillar and aphid treatments was also only 10 percent."The important thing is plants can tell the insects apart and respond in significantly different ways," Schultz said. "And that's more than most people give plants credit for."A sister study explored this phenomena further, led by former MU doctoral student Erin Rehrig.It showed feeding of both caterpillars increased jasmonate and ethylene -- well-known plant hormones that mediate defense responses. However, plants responded quicker and more strongly when fed on by the beet armyworm than by the cabbage butterfly caterpillar in most cases, indicating again that the plant can tell the two caterpillars apart.The result is that the plant turns defense genes on earlier for beet armyworm.
In ecological terms, a quick defense response means the caterpillar won't hang around very long and will move on to a different meal source.
A study this large has potential to open up a world of questions begging for answers."Among the genes changed when insects bite are ones that regulate processes like root growth, water use and other ecologically significant process that plants carefully monitor and control," Schultz said. "Questions about the cost to the plant if the insect continues to eat would be an interesting follow-up study for doctoral students to explore these deeper genetic interactions."
2) Enceladus ocean may resemble Antarctic lake:
Highly alkaline water on Saturn moon could support alien life. Swimming in the sea of the Saturnian moon Enceladus might be like taking a dip in household ammonia.
An ocean hidden beneath the moon’s icy crust is highly alkaline, similar to soda lakes on Earth, researchers have found. The water chemistry provides a peek at how the water interacts with rock in the moon’s core, creating an environment in which life could arise.
3) Ancient East Asians mixed and mingled multiple times with Neandertals:
More interbreeding may explain higher level of Neandertal DNA compared with Europeans. East Asians got a double dose of Neandertal ancestry. That’s the conclusion of two new studies seeking to explain why East Asians inherited 15 to 30 percent more Neandertal DNA than Europeans did. The results appear in the March 5 American Journal of Human Genetics.
Recent research has suggested that Neandertal DNA is slightly detrimental to modern humans, making some people more prone to certain diseases, for example
Natural selection should weed out the harmful stuff, but selection may have been less efficient at jettisoning Neandertal DNA from East Asians because they had a smaller founding population than Europeans did, one hypothesis suggests. Smaller founding populations make it more likely that genes, even harmful ones, might be inherited by chance.An alternative idea holds that European ancestors bred more often with Africans, who largely lack Neandertal ancestry, diluting the amount of Neandertal DNA in present-day Europeans. Or East Asian ancestors may have interbred multiple times with Neandertals, upping the percentage of the extinct hominid’s DNA that survives in people today.Two pairs of researchers — Benjamin Vernot and Joshua Akey of the University of Washington in Seattle and Bernard Kim and Kirk Lohmueller of UCLA — did computer simulations to test these different possibilities. Both groups independently concluded that the most likely explanation is that East Asians’ ancestors interbred with Neandertals more than once.
4) Earliest tree-dweller, burrower join mammal tree of life:
Deep ancestors maybe not as boring ecologically as thought. Meet two newly discovered ancestral mammals: the oldest known subterranean specialist from the depths of mammalian history and the group’s oldest known tree-dweller.Fossils of both, found in northeastern China, belong to an extinct group of mostly small creatures called docodonts, researchers report in a pair of papers in the Feb. 13 Science. Docodonts, sometimes not considered strictly mammals, branched off early from the ancient lineage that eventually gave rise to modern mammals.The fossil of what looks like a shrew-sized specialized burrower, now named Docofossor brachydactylus, is estimated to be about 160 million years old. It “had a supercapacity to dig but was not very good at much else,” says Zhe-Xi Luo of the University of Chicago, an author on both papers.
5) Correlations of quantum particles help in distinguishing physical processes:
mmunication security and metrology could be enhanced through a study of the role of quantum correlations in the distinguishability of physical processes, by researchers at the Universities of Strathclyde and Waterloo.The study involved analysing the impact of quantum steering -- the way a measurement performed on a particle can affect another distant particle. The study authors devised a method for both precisely quantifying steering's impact and relating it to the task of distinguishing physical processes.
The research could have significant implications for quantum information processing.
The study was carried out by Dr Marco Piani, of Strathclyde's Department of Physics, and Professor John Watrous, of Waterloo's Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) and School of Computer Science. Dr Piani was also at IQC at the time of the study.Dr Piani said: "Quantum particles can be in a particular state known as `entangled'. Albert Einstein, with Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen, scrutinised quantum mechanics and, specifically, the entanglement of quantum particles. Faced with the perspective of the steering effect, they argued that quantum mechanics was still an incomplete theory, since it predicted what Einstein considered a 'spooky action at a distance' -- indeed, two particles can be at opposite ends of a galaxy and still be entangled."We now know that steering is a crucial and real quantum effect; however, knowledge about what steering is actually useful for has remained limited. In our research, we related steering to the discrimination of physical processes, which seeks to answer questions about what happens in time to physical systems of interest, like microscopic particles. We were able to prove that the steering effect is the key to providing a specific advantage in this type of task.
"Our results, including the tools we introduced to quantify steering, could be applied to fields such as quantum cryptography, where secret keys are created between two parties so they can submit and encrypt messages to communicate privately -- as it happens, for example, in online banking. Our results could also be useful in quantum metrology and in other areas of quantum information processing."Dr Watrous said: "Steering is an interesting phenomenon in quantum physics. Our work ties this concept in a new way to a specific information-theoretic task in which it functions as an essential resource. It is a hypothetical task that you won't find on your to-do list, but it is both natural and intuitive, and the connection offers a new insight into the nature of steering."
Movies News This Week:
The Secret Service tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency's ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.
Follow the lives of Viago (Taika Waititi), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh), and Vladislav (Jemaine Clement) – three flatmates who are just trying to get by and overcome life’s obstacles-like being immortal vampires who must feast on human blood. Hundreds of years old, the vampires are finding that beyond sunlight catastrophes, hitting the main artery, and not being able to get a sense of their wardrobe without a reflection-modern society has them struggling with the mundane like paying rent, keeping up with the chore wheel, trying to get into nightclubs, and overcoming flatmate conflicts.
The Last 5 Years is a musical chronicling a love affair and marriage taking place over a five year period. Jamie Wellerstein (Jordan) is a young, talented up and coming novelist who falls in love with Cathy Hiatt (Kendrick), a struggling actress. Their story is told almost entirely through song. All of Cathy’s songs begin at the end of their marriage and move backwards in time to the beginning of their love affair, while Jamie’s songs start at the beginning of their affair and move forward to the end of their marriage. They meet in the center when Jamie proposes.
Zombies invade the Australian Outback in this brain-splattered, Mad Max-meets-the-undead thrill ride. When an apocalyptic event turns everyone around him-including his wife and daughter-into marauding zombies, everyman mechanic Barry arms himself to the teeth, soups up his car, and hits the road in order to rescue his sister from a deranged, disco-dancing mad doctor. Bursting with high-octane car chases, crazy-cool homemade weaponry, and enough blood-and-guts gore to satisfy hardcore horror fans, this is one movie that takes the zombie flick to bone-crunchingly berserk new heights.
Kabir Grewal (Arjun Rampal), a Casanovic film maker and screenwriter is making multiple films (GUNS Trilogy) based on a thief's life and robberies, all achieving high success. In order to shoot his third instalment (GUNS 3), he goes to Malaysia, where he meets a London based film-maker Ayesha Aamir (Jacqueline Fernandez). Kabir and Ayesha get friendly and soon fall in love. When Ayesha gets to know about Kabir's casanova attitude, she breaks up with him and returns to London. Dejected Kabir goes into depression and returns back to Mumbai, leaving his film incomplete. After several failed trials Kabir couldn't find a perfect climax for his story. On his assistant Meera's (Shernaz Pate) suggestion Kabir goes to a film festival as part of the jury, where Ayesha's film is being screened. Ayesha, thought that Kabir is following her and asks him to stay away from her life. After his father's (Anupam Kher) death and been sued by film financiers Kabir decides to move on and complete his film.
In a parallel story, An infamous Roy (Ranbir Kapoor) is a mysterious international Art thief whom no country seems to be able to get their hands on, including detective Wadia (Rajit Kapur). On his new assignment, Roy goes to an unknown foreign land to steal an expensive painting only to find that its owner is the beautiful Tia (Jacqueline Fernandez). Tia lives alone in a huge mansion where the painting is kept. Hence, Roy tries to befriend Tia in an art auction and soon impresses her with his charm. A chemistry sparks between the two and both start spending time together, giving Roy entry into the mansion. Seeking for the right opportunity, one night Roy runs away with the painting, leaving Tia heartbroken. Roy later regrets, as he has fallen in love with Tia and hence decides to return the painting to her. After a small clash with painting's new owner, Roy manages to get it back. On receiving the paintings Tia realises that Roy is now a changed man and forgives him.
Meanwhile, Kabir's film "Guns 3" releases with huge success. It is then revealed that "Roy" was just an imaginary character in Kabir's film and Roy & Tia's story was the script of "Guns 3". In the end Kabir proposes Ayesha and they both reunite, just like Roy and Tia reunite in Kabir's film. The movie ends with Roy and Tia walking together next to a bridge just like the painting Roy stole.
Political News This Week:
1) There's a group far more dangerous than ISIS!:
Radical Islamist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir which cleverly avoided global scrutiny while spreading its ideology may become a more dangerous terrorist group than the ISIS and it's presence in South Asia should be a cause for concern for India, according to a report.
"While ISIS runs amok in Syria and Iraq, demanding media attention through acts of barbarous cruelty, HuT (Hizb-ut- Tahrir or the Party of Liberation) is quietly building a global infrastructure of radicalised youth and deep-pocketed Arab support in preparation for the global Khilafat," said the report published in the latest edition of CTX Journal.The group has cleverly avoided any intense global scrutiny while spreading its ideology and support base in nearly 50 countries, said the report.
The group commands a base of over one million members worldwide. This is far higher than what ISIS claims to have. Citing reports, the journal said HuT has an armed wing called Harakat ul-Muhojirinfi Britaniya that is training its cadres in chemical, bacteriological, and biological warfare.
"HuT, therefore, has the potential to become an even more dangerous terrorist group than ISIS," said the journal from US-based Global Education Community Collaboration Online. Founded in Jerusalem in 1952 and headquartered in London, the group has branches in Central Asia, Europe, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia, where it has managed to garner great influence. In South Asia, HuT has a significant presence in Pakistan and Bangladesh."Although HuT has reportedly found a foothold in India, its presence and influence have not made any significant impact," said the multimedia journal on strategic and security affairs.
"HuT's growing presence in neighbouring Bangladesh and Pakistan should be a cause of concern for India and the larger global community," it said.On its website, HuT claimed that it had organised a demonstration in 2010 at Batla House in Delhi in protest against Israel's alleged atrocities.The demonstration, which was attended by about 1,000 people, was HuT's last reported activity in India, said the report prepared by Surinder Kumar Sharma, who is associated with Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.
Noting that at the ideological level there is much in common between HuT and ISIS, the journal said "the majority of individuals and entities who support ISIS also support HuT." It said HuT's strategy is different from ISIS and the group is slowly increasing its social capital by keeping away from overt acts of terrorism while luring the educated youths. ISIS is an Al Qaeda splinter group and it has seized hundreds of square miles in Iraq and Syria. Al Qaeda has distanced itself from the group, chiding it for its lack of teamwork in its aggressive, brutal expansion. In Bangladesh, HuT has managed to gather the support of many intellectuals, including doctors, lawyers, and professors. The group was officially banned in Bangladesh in 2009 for anti-state activities.
Compared to Bangladesh, HuT has a longer history in Pakistan, where it established its base in 1990. The group remained underground until 2000.Pakistan banned HuT in 2003 after it was linked with several terror plots, including a plot to kill former President Pervez Musharraf.Despite the ban, HuT is reportedly deepening its support among the intelligentsia and military circles, it said. HuT's global ambition and activities are bankrolled through private donations from local entrepreneurs to Islamic charity organisations, the report said.
Wealthy sheikhs from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations, who embrace the pan-Islamic agenda, also fund the outfit. This financial support is one of the reasons that HuT believes it will be able to establish the Caliphate, it said. Given the fact that HuT already has a wide reach and is successfully inducting and radicalising educated youth, the outfit has the potential to stage coups and uprisings against governments and regimes that it considers un-Islamic or aligned with anti-Muslim powers, the report said.
HuT may well prove dangerous because it has immense influence on people, especially in the way that it legitimises the cause to establish a Caliphate, it said.While the world's focus currently is on ISIS, it would be a grave folly to ignore the growing influence of HuT and its global agenda, the report warned.
2) Pakistani Rangers violate ceasefire yet again:
Violating the ceasefire, Pakistani Rangers on Sunday opened fire at Tawi area in R S Pura sector of Jammu district.
"They (Pakistani side) fired three rounds of small arms at around 11 am towards Tawi area in R S Pura sector. However, there was no retaliation from our side," a senior BSF officer told PTI.He said this was the second incident of ceasefire violation by the Pakistani side in the last 24 hours.Pakistani rangers had fired two to three mortar shells in Nowapind border out post area along the IB in R S Pura sector of the district on Saturday night.
The shells exploded at an isolated area and did not cause any casualty or injury to anyone on this side, a BSF officer said.An infiltration bid was also foiled by the Army along the Line of Control in Poonch district on Saturday. "At about 1045 hours on Saturday, three to four persons were crossing the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch Sector from Pakistan side", Defence Spokesman, Northern Command, Col S D Goswami said.
"When these persons were well within Indian territory, troops deployed in the area opened fire on them", Col Goswami said adding that simultaneously, Pakistani post located across the area opened heavy firing.During the ensuing fire fight, the persons trying to cross the LoC fled back towards the Pakistan side, the officer said.
3) With promise to make Delhi corruption-free, Kejriwal takes charge:
Capping a momentous journey, Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal took oath as the eighth chief minister of Delhi on Satutday, promising to make Delhi the first corruption-free state and act against communal elements.Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung administered the oath of office and secrecy to Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and five other ministers at the historic Ramlila Grounds, exactly a year after Kejriwal quit after a short 49-days regime.Asim Ahmed Khan, Sandeep Kumar, Satyendar Jain, Gopal Rai and Jitender Singh Tomar also took oath of office and secrecy at the ceremony as a large crowd cheered.
Immediately, after taking oath, the 46-year-old leader addressed the gathering and unveiled the priorities of his government which included steps against corruption, communal elements, VIP culture and assured Delhiites that his government will fight for full statehood for the national capital.
Warning his party leaders and workers against arrogance, he said this was the reason for the defeat of the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, which had received huge majority in Lok Sabha polls just nine months ago. Terming the verdict as 'miracle of God', Kejriwal said, "I knew people of Delhi love me, but didn't know they love me so much."The AAP had won 67 of the 70 seats in Delhi decimating the Congress and leaving only three seats for the BJP.
Assuring people that his government will make Delhi "India's first corruption-free state", he said if somebody asks for bribe don't refuse 'setting kar lena' (fix the deal) and video record it. Send the video footage to me. I will take action."Kejriwal, who shot into prominence during the agitation led by 75-year-old Anna Hazare in support of Jan Lokpal Bill in 2011, assured the people that his government will bring the bill soon. "Lokpal Bill is very important, it needs to be passed as soon as possible," he said.Reacting to recent attacks on churches and a Christian school on Friday in Delhi, he said, "In recent days, we witnessed several communal incidents in Delhi. We witnessed burning of churches. I want to warn the elements who are responsible for these incidents."
"I want to make Delhi a place where people of all religions feel safe," says Kejriwal, asserting that people of all religions, castes and classes voted for the AAP.Emphasising that he wants cooperation and good relations with the Centre, Kejriwal said BJP had promised to grant full statehood to Delhi."Before the elections, they had promised this to the people of Delhi. It's not possible for the Centre to take care of important issues related with governance of the state, so I hope the Centre will fulfil their promise," the chief minister said.
Cautioning his party, he said, "I can see arrogance in reports that the AAP will fight elections in other states...We have to make sure that we don't get carried away and become arrogant."
Asserting that his government will not spare anyone, he said, "Some people might try to malign us by impersonating as AAP workers. I want to tell the law and order machinery not to spare anyone who indulges in unlawful activities."
During his address, Kejriwal also mentioned his opponents in the Delhi polls -- BJP's Kiran Bedi and Congress' Ajay Maken. "I respect Kiran Bedi, she is like my elder sister. She has good experience in administration, I need her advice. I will cooperate with Ajay Maken too. I will involve everyone to make Delhi an ideal state," the chief minister said.
Listing passing of the Lokpal Bill as a major agenda for his government, Kejriwal, however, did not give a time-line for its passage.
"I would like to tell you that other parties haven't passed it in 65 years. We would pass it as soon as possible. We would do everything in a solid way," he said. The new chief minister said his government would work round-the-clock to make Delhi a better city.
The AAP leader also warned against any sort of arrogance following the massive victory."I have been listening on television for the last few days that we will fight elections in five states or ten states. I see arrogance in all these things."I think this is not right. Congress was thrown out of power by people due to its arrogance, and the same also happened to BJP which got a huge mandate in the Lok Sabha polls in May last year. People rejected the BJP due to its arrogance," he said.Kejriwal said AAP suffered a drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls perhaps due to arrogance after its victory in the 2013 assembly polls.
"In 2013 assembly polls, we got 28 seats, but perhaps arrogance came into our party which decided to contest Lok Sabha elections across the country and for which, God punished us. We should take lesson from it. We should not be arrogant," he said.Kejriwal said that with the help of police his government will try to restore communal harmony in the city.
"Efforts were made to incite riots among people of different religion, a church was set on fire, some churches were vandalised. People of Delhi are peace loving people."We have not seen such incidents in Delhi in the last 35 years, people of Delhi won't tolerate this. Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, all residents of Delhi celebrate Diwali, Eid, Christmas and all festivals together.
"All of us want to live here in harmony. I would like to tell all the forces that are doing this kind of politics to stop it," he said. He said with the support of Delhi Police, his government will make Delhi such a city where every Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh and people belonging from every other religion and caste will feel safe."We want to replace this politics of poison with politics of love and harmony," he said.Staring his address with ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, Kejriwal ended his nearly half-an-hour speech with singing AAP's anthem 'Insaan ka ho Insaan se Bhaichara'.
4) AAP ki sarkaar: India's youngest cabinet:
|Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Cabinet ministers Manish Sisodia, Gopal Rai, Jitendra Tomer, Satyendra Jain, Asim Ahmed Khan and Sandeep Kumar before the swearing-in ceremony at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on Saturday|
Arvind Kejriwal took oath as Delhi chief minister on Saturday along with a team of six ministers with an average age of 37 years. This could possible be the country’s youngest cabinet.Kejriwal, 46, in a first, has decided not to keep any portfolio with himself.Kejriwal’s Man Friday, the 42-year-old Manish Sisodia is Delhi’s first deputy chief minister. He will be given education, public works department and urban development. The Aam Aadmi Party plans to execute its educational agenda by building new schools and colleges, which is why it will be given to a senior minister like Sisodia.
Apart from Sisodia, only Satyendra Jain, 50, was retained from the previous 49-day Kejriwal government. He will handle health as he did in the earlier AAP rule. In his previous stint as health minister, he was credited with ensuring free medicines in government-run hospitalsThe home and law ministries will be handed over to 48-year-old Jitender Tomar. AAP's previous law minister, the controversial Somnath Bharti, has been kept out of the team.
Senior party leader and Political Affairs Committee member Gopal Rai, 39, is tipped to be the transport and labour minister. He has been a part of key decisions such as candidate selection for the just-concluded Delhi elections and the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. He has also helped strengthen AAP’s base nationally.
Thirty-four-year-old Sandeep Kumar, a lawyer by profession, will handle the women and child welfare department. Asim Ahmed Khan, 38, will be given the charge of food and civil supplies and minority affairs ministries.
Rai, Kumar, Tomar and Khan are first-time legislators. Later, The newly elected ministers of Arvind Kejriwal's cabinet were treated to home-cooked lunch by the chief minister himself at his office at the Delhi secretariat."After taking oath at Ramlila Ground, all new six ministers, including deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, enjoyed home-made food in Arvind Kejriwal's cabin especially brought from his house," said one of ministers.Kejriwal had a meeting with all his ministers in his office and thereafter, they were served food cooked at his house in Kaushambi.
5) India successfully tests BrahMos supersonic cruise missile:
India on Saturday successfully test-fired its 290-km range BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from the navy's newest destroyer INS Kolkata.The launch off the Goa coast was "flawless" and the missile met all its designed parameters.INS Kolkata, which was commissioned by the Indian navy on August 16, 2014, has the capability of firing the highest number of BrahMos missiles.
While a ship normally has the capacity to fire eight missiles, INS Kolkata can fire 16 BrahMos missile in salvo mode, defence sources said. This is the first ship of this class, with two more in the pipeline.All the three ships are equipped with vertical launched BrahMos missile system as the prime strike weapon.
The Universal Vertical Launcher being used in these ships has a unique design, developed and patented by BrahMos Aerospace.The UVLM has the benefits of stealth and permits launching of the missile vertically in any direction, an official statement said.BrahMos chief Sudhir Mishra congratulated his team and Indian Navy on the successful mission.
The two-stage missile, the first one being solid and the second one ramjet liquid propellant, has already been inducted into the army and navy, and the air force version is in final stage of trial.
6) Sunanda murder case: Shashi Tharoor questioned for 3rd time in 48 hours:
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Friday appeared for the third time in two days before the Special Investigation Team that is probing his wife Sunanda’s mysterious death.
Tharoor on Saturday submitted to the SIT some computer data -- which included emails and other information in digital form -- pertaining to the communication he had with various individuals and authorities before and after the mysterious death of his wife Sunanda.
Tharoor visited Sarojini Nagar police station informing the SIT that he was leaving for Thiruananthapuram later in the day.
Police sources said that the SIT has asked Tharoor to keep them informed about his movements and contact details so that the team can get in touch with him whenever they need him during investigation. However, police has not put any restrictions on his movement as of now.
The former Union minister reached the police station around 1 pm and spent about half-an-hour. Although he was not formally questioned during the visit, but police did ask him some supplementary questions regards what he had told them on Thursday during two rounds of questioning that lasted nearly seven hours.
Meanwhile, sources also said that a team from the Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi police is in Mumbai to look into the business model of defunct Indian Premier League Kochi franchise and see whether there was anything fishy in its financial transactions. The team is also likely to meet Board Of Control For Cricket In India officials in this regard.Thursday’s questioning of Tharoor was mainly focused on the IPL controversy which had broken out in early 2010 when he was minister of state for external affairs.There were allegations that he had “misused” his office to ensure that Rs 70 crore, which was equivalent to 19 per cent equity in IPL Kochi franchise Rendezvous Sports, was paid to Sunanda, a charge denied by him.
Tharoor was on Thursday quizzed for nearly seven hours, spread over two rounds including for two hours late in the night during which he faced tough questions mainly on IPL controversy.The questioning of Tharoor by a five-member SIT team took place at the Anti Auto Theft Squad office in Vasant Vihar in South Delhi. Delhi police had earlier examined the former Union minister on January 19.Another round of questioning of Tharoor may take place over the weekend, police sources said on Thursday.Tharoor’s interrogation came on a day when Sunanda’s viscera sample was sent to a FBI laboratory in the US for further probe.
Tharoor’s domestic help Bajrangi and Narayan Singh, his common friend Sanjay Dewan, his PS Praveen Kumar and Rajat Mohan (cardiologist of SirGangaRamHospital) were questioned along with him earlier in the day. Besides, they were also separately quizzed.
Sunanda, 52, was found dead in her suite at a five star hotel in south Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014, a day after she was involved in a spat with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar on microblogging website Twitter over the latter’s alleged affair with Tharoor.Police had last month filed a murder case and formed an SIT to probe the case.
7) Trianmool's new A team: Mukul Roy kept at bay:
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Saturday carried out a major reshuffle in the party set-up, giving additional responsibilities to her close confidants and elevating former union minister Dinesh Trivedi to vice-president's post in an exercise that left her close aide Mukul Roy out in the cold.
"Trinamool Congress has appointed Subrata Bakshi, a party member of Parliament, as additional all-India general secretary. He is a founder-member of the party," party secretary-general Partha Chatterjee told media persons after the meeting.Mukul Roy, who has been made to share responsibility as all-India general secretary with Bakshi, a staunch Mamata loyalist, was conspicuous by his absence from the closed-door meeting convened at Mamata's residence to discuss the party’s preparedness for the coming civic polls.Roy, a Rajya Sabha member who was recently quizzed by the Central Bureau of Investigation of in the Saradha chit fund scam, not being given additional responsibilities that were given to some of his party colleagues, came amid media speculation of strained ties between him and the party supremo.
Asked to explain the absence of Roy, a key party organiser, Chatterjee said,"The (Roy) is busy with political activities and has been absent at the meeting by taking prior permission from the party".Roy had recently said that he was part and parcel of the party, when asked if there was a rift between him and the party leadership. He also participated in the party's campaign for the by-election to Bongaon Lok Sabha and Krishnaganj assembly seats in West Bengal which was held on Friday.
Chatterjee said party MP Derek O'Brien, state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim and party Lok Sabha member Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar were elevated to the national committee of the party.He said O'Brien and the party Lok Sabha member Kalyan Banerjee would liason with like-minded parties. Dinesh Trivedi, who was appointed vice-president of the party, had recently caused a flutter in party circles by singing fulsome praise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which set off speculation in the media that he would switch over to the BJP, though he maintained that he was still with the TMC.
Trivedi, a founding member of Trinamool Congress set up 16 years ago, recently told a TV channel "I won't predict anything, but I want to change the DNA of Indian politics -- and for that, I will do whatever it takes."Trivedi represents Barrackpore constituency near Kolkata in Parliament.Trivedi was forced by Mamata to resign in 2012 as the railway minister in the Manmohan Singh cabinet after his budget contained a passenger fare hike against the wishes of the party supremo.Chatterjee said that state panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee had been given the charge of party affairs in Tripura. "Derek O'Brien will oversee the party's organization in the Northeast and Kerala. Suvendu Adhikari, another party MP, will oversee Assam," he said.The party's MLAs and MPs and district unit presidents were present at the nearly two-hour meeting at Banerjee's residence.
Later, in an informal conversation with media persons, Roy said replying to a question on the reason for his absence in the meeting "Why I did not go, the party leader (Mamata) knows. Anyway, whatever is done is done for the good."told about the additional responsibilities given to his party colleagues, he said ‘the party has become big and the organisation has become large and for that they (some of his party colleaugues) might have been given those (additional responsibilities).Roy's explanation was prompted by persistent queries whether he thought his wings had been clipped by the party supremo in the latest organisational overhaul. Mamata was reportedly upset about the absence of Roy in the meeting.
Party insiders said that at the start of the meeting, Mamata wanted to know where Mukul was.At that stage, sources said, Derek O'Brien gave her a chit wherein Roy reportedly expressed his inability to attend the meeting due to preoccupation with political activities.Mukul Roy, known for his organisational acumen, was questioned by the CBI on January 30 in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam. He had said that he wanted the ‘actual truth’ to come out. He also gave an assurance that he would cooperate with the probe agency.
The CBI and Enforcement Directorate have already questioned several TMC MPs and other people in the scam which put TMC at unease.Partha Chatterjee said that the TMC was assuming national importance, pointing out "we started the membership drive on January 1, 2015. Scrutiny committees will operate at district and state level."
In the meeting, Chatterjee said, coming municipal elections were also discussed, for which committees have been formed. Election to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation and a number of municipalities across the state are scheduled to be held this year.
Sports News This Week:
1) India thrash Pakistan to launch World Cup campaign in style:
Defending champions India launched their World Cup campaign in style as they produced a clinical performance to spank Pakistan by 76 runs, maintaining their unbeaten record against the arch-rivals in the mega event on Sunday. In the high-voltage contest between the bitter rivals, India again emerged victorious in a rather one-sided affair, thus maintaining their magnificent record against Pakistan by winning the sixth consecutive World Cup game since the rivalry started way back in 1992.
It was a commendable all-round effort by Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men who first posted a competitive total of 300/7 riding on Virat Kohli's 22nd ODI hundred and then dismissed the opposition for 224 in 47 overs at the Adelaide Oval to secure two points. Mohammad Shami (4/35), Umesh Yadav (2/50), Mohit Sharma (2/35) and Ravichandran Ashwin (1/41) were the pick of the Indian bowlers as they kept taking wickets to put pressure on the Pakistani batsmen. Captain Misbah-ul Haq (76), Ahmed Shehzad (47) and Haris Sohail (36) were the notable contributors.
Mohit Sharma took the last wicket of Sohail Khan to bring about India's moment of glory, sending the seizable Indian crowd at the stadium into a frenzy while the players hugged each other to celebrate the triumph, their first victory in Australia since landing here in November last year.
Pakistan were well placed at 102 for two at one stage but a middle-order collapse effected by the trio of Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Yadav ended any hopes that Misbah-ul-Haq and his men harboured of bucking the trend of losing to India in big-ticket ICC events.
Electing to bat, Virat Kohli marked his return to form with a crafty 107 while Shikhar Dhawan (73) and Suresh Raina (74) were the other notable performers to steer India to a competitive total of 300 for seven in hot conditions.Kohli continued his love affair with the Adelaide Oval as his century knock came off 126 balls with eight boundaries and he shared a 110-run partnership with Raina for the third wicket.India could have got a bigger score had it not been for some excellent death bowling by the Pakistani pace bowlers. Their young fast bowler Sohail Khan (5/55) checked the Indian surge by bowling a tight line and length.
2) It may take time, but Malinga will be back to his best: Malinga:
Malinga was smashed to all parts of the Hagley Oval on Saturday in his team's 98-run loss to New Zealand, ending with figures of none for 84 off his 10 overs as the Black Caps piled up 331 for six.Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan insists Lasith Malinga will still be a factor at the World Cup despite the sling-arm fast bowler enduring a nightmare return to action after six months out.
Malinga was smashed to all parts of the Hagley Oval on Saturday in his team's 98-run loss to New Zealand, ending with figures of none for 84 off his 10 overs as the Black Caps piled up 331 for six.It was the 31-year-old's first international match since undergoing ankle surgery in September.
But Muralitharan, who retired in 2011 after taking 534 ODI and 800 Test wickets, believes Malinga will have benefitted from his brutal treatment."Although Lasith Malinga's figures look like a horror show with none for 84 from his 10 overs, he will have benefited from the outing," Muralitharan told the ICC website."We have to be realistic about him, after all. He is coming into the tournament off the back of no cricket since his ankle surgery last September and it will take time for him to get back to his best." "And the chance to get more overs under his belt against Afghanistan and Bangladesh (in their next two games) will be good news for him and for Sri Lanka."Malinga, who has 271 ODI wickets and is seen as his team's go-to death bowler, starred at the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean where Sri Lanka finished runners-up to Australia.
He took 18 wickets at an average of 15.77, including four wickets in four balls against South Africa in Providence, Guyana -- the first time a bowler had taken four wickets off successive deliveries in international cricket.Sri Lanka batsman Lahiru Thirimanne, his team's top scorer with 65 against New Zealand, also backed Malinga to bounce back.
"I don't think this is Lasith's best bowling effort," said the opener. "We believe he'll come back strongly in the next few matches, but I think he bowled really well in the death overs.""That's a positive for us, so hopefully he'll be back with good performances."
3) Australia cruise to opening win:
Australia 342 for 9 (Finch 135, Maxwell 66, Bailey 55, Finn 5-71) beat England 231 (Taylor 98*, Marsh 5-33) by 111 runs
New Zealand by 98 runs, Australia by 111. Who said hosting the World Cup brought added pressure? Day one showed why it would be no surprise if the two home nations met in Melbourne on day 45. In front of 84,336 fans at the MCG, Aaron Finch scored 135, Mitchell Marsh took 5 for 33, and Australia subjected England to their second-biggest World Cup loss in terms of runs.
Finch's hundred was the first of this World Cup; back in 1992, Martin Crowe struck the first century of the World Cup on the opening day and went on to be Player of the Tournament. Australia would love such a six weeks from Finch, but will settle for now with this win. Their 342 for 9 was their highest ODI total at the MCG, and England never really had a hope in their chase.For England, the match was omnishambolic, even in its ending. James Taylor, who had shown some fight and reached 98, tried to whip Josh Hazlewood to leg and was given out lbw. He reviewed, and the ball was missing leg. But in scrambling for a leg bye, his partner James Anderson had been run out. Out, review, not out, review, out.It capped off a muddled day for England. Having played Ravi Bopara through the tri-series and warm-ups, they dropped him and altered their batting order. Having opened the bowling with Chris Woakes through the tri-series and warm-ups, they made him first change. Generally they bowled, fielded and batted dismally.
4) Confident Kiwis thrash Lanka in Cup opener:
331 for 6 (Anderson 75, McCullum 65, Williamson 57, Mendis 2-5) beat Sri Lanka 233 (Thirimanne 65, Anderson 2-18) by 98 runs
In an opening-day display as emphatic as any in previous World Cup, New Zealand mauled Sri Lanka by 98 runs at the Hagley Oval. A New Zealand win was the expected result leading up to the game, but perhaps not a win this massive, by a margin that highlighted the strength in depth in one camp as sharply as the shortcomings in the other.
Blazing half-centuries from Brendon McCullum and Corey Anderson and solid contributions from most of the other batsmen propelled New Zealand to a total of 331, and the bowlers showed both control and incision in its defence. This was best exemplified by the full, swinging missiles from Trent Boult that aborted the two most promising innings in Sri Lanka's chase.
5) SA won by 62 runs:
South AfricaSA 339/4(50) ZimbabweZIM 277/10(48.2). South Africa 339 for 4 (Miller 138*, Duminy 115*) beat Zimbabwe 277 (Masakadza 80, Chibhabha 64, Tahir 3-36) by 62 runsA decade. That's how long it's been since Zimbabwe had South Africa four down with the team's hundred still a way away. Opportunity beckoned, but David Miller and JP Duminy heard the call louder. Their counterattacking centuries reinforced the skill that runs down this mighty batting line-up, as a score of 83 for 4 grew into 339 for 4 and the world record for the fifth-wicket partnership was updated to 256 off 178.
Perhaps Zimbabwe took heart from that. Perhaps the team talk was if their opposition could do that with a poor start, what might happen if the top order stood up to be counted. Chamu Chibhabha, back after nearly two years in ODI exile, and Hamilton Masakadza, playing his first World Cup in a 13-year career, decided to test the theory. A refreshing partnership began, but it could only extend to 105, and the ones that followed were cut short before they could pry the match from South Africa's hands as they won by 62 runs.
Book Of This Week:
My Heart and Other Black Holes : by Jasmine Warga
Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.
There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner.
Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince
in Cincinnati, Ohio , The United States
genreYoung Adult, Contemporary
Hi. I'm Jasmine. My first novel, My Heart and Other Black Holes, will be published in 2015 by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins. I'm currently writing my second book which is tentatively scheduled to be published in 2016. I like emotive music, animals of all sorts, and lemonade. And books.