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My Pages On Different Subjects which Hyperlinked to all my Blog Posts

Saturday 29 June 2024



1) Stunning trilobite fossils include soft tissues never seen before By Lucas Van Wyk Joel

The discovery helps reveal the weird way trilobites ate and perhaps why they went extinct Paleontologists studying rocks from Morocco have unearthed the most exquisitely preserved trilobite fossils yet discovered. The new lifelike fossils update our understanding of the evolution and biology of these extinct ocean-dwelling arthropods.

The details are so great that soft tissue parts of the trilobites, including the mouth and digestive tract, are clearly visible, researchers report June 27 in Science. Such parts are typically lost as the animals turn into fossils.

“These trilobite fossils represent the most complete specimens found to date, not only preserving the hard exoskeleton but also the soft parts in 3-D, such as the antennae, walking legs and the digestive system,” says paleontologist John Paterson of the University of New England in Armidale, Australia.After dinosaurs, trilobites are perhaps the most recognizable fossil animals (SN: 9/27/23). They proliferated in the ocean for about 270 million years before going extinct at the end of the Paleozoic era, some 252 million years ago.

Trilobite fossils are extremely common because their hard exoskeletons make it relatively easy for the animals to become fossils. But just as it’s rare to discover any trace of soft-tissue preservation in dinosaurs, so it is with trilobites.To uncover how these trilobites and their tissues became so well preserved, Paterson and his team enlisted Robert Gaines, a geologist at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., and an expert in how the soft parts of animals become fossils.

It happened like this: First a volcano exploded, and superheated ash flowed from the eruption into nearby coastal waters. The ash dissolved and then remineralized out of the water, covering the exposed trilobites and entombing them in a matter of hours to days.

The key step in this process, Gaines says, is that the ash hit water before hardening around the trilobites; without the cooling effects of ocean water, the hot ash would have burned the trilobites away.Gaines studies similar fossil preservation in other, older fossils, such as an arthropod called Aegirocassis, an alien-like animal with what appears to be a strange baleen-style feeding apparatus (SN: 3/11/15). “I recognized the similarities immediately,” Gaines says. “They pointed to the same process operating more than 20 million years earlier.”

Besides being ready for a museum showcase, the fossils open new windows onto trilobite biology and evolutionary history.“The clarity of the preservation is astonishing and is of fundamental importance,” says Nigel Hughes, a paleontologist at the University of California, Riverside who was not involved in the new work. “It provides a level of preservation detail that unequivocally confirms a number of conjectures made based on less well-preserved material, which demonstrates the power and importance of exceptional preservation.”The fossils confirm, for instance, that trilobites ate using the many pairs of legs stretching from their head to their torso. They chewed food along a central groove while passing food particles toward a tiny mouth.“Food processing took place along the entire length of the animal,” Hughes says.This differs from other arthropods, such as crustaceans, which have more specialized limbs along their body lengths, used for tasks from self-defense to swimming.

“We don’t yet know for sure, but it seems likely that this basic limb style endured throughout the history of trilobites, and the lack of limb specialization may be part of the reason for their ultimate demise,” Hughes says.Discovering more well-preserved trilobites could only help clarify the evolutionary story of these fossil icons.Volcanos, including ones near coasts, erupted relatively often over the vast stretches of geologic time, Paterson says. That means this kind of pristine preservation may be more common than scientists think.“Geology and paleontology students at universities are often told that fossils are found only in sedimentary rocks,” Paterson says. “But our new study completely contradicts that notion. I hope that our work will encourage others to reprogram their search image in the hunt for amazing fossils.”

2) The last woolly mammoths offer new clues to why the species went extinct By Claire Yuan

Four thousand years ago, on an island off the coast of what is now Siberia, the world’s last woolly mammoth took its final breath.

Living on that island, isolated from other mammoths, could have led to fatal levels of inbreeding and catastrophic population drops, leading to extinction, scientists have said. A new study confirms that the woolly mammoth population on Wrangel Island was inbred but suggests they were not doomed to die. The mammoth population gradually lost harmful genetic mutations that would affect survival, indicating that some other random event — such as disease or environmental changes — sealed the mammoths’ fate, researchers report June 27 in Cell.“This paper does a remarkable job,” says Joshua Miller, a paleontologist at the University of Cincinnati who was not involved in the study. The research, Miller says, both offers valuable insight into the end of the Wrangel Island mammoths and suggests how genetics should be monitored in modern endangered animal conservation efforts.

Until around 10,000 years ago, the woolly mammoths lived on mainland Siberia, but rising global sea levels left the populations stranded on disparate islands, potentially limiting genetic mixing among the mammoths (SN: 11/30/22).

“Genetic variation is the general toolbox that animals have in order to adapt to changes in the environment,” says study coauthor Love Dalén, an evolutionary geneticist at the Centre for Palaeogenetics in Stockholm. Previous research on mammoth extinction theorized that population isolation increased the level of inbreeding, decreased genetic variation and made the mammoths more vulnerable to harmful genetic mutations, diseases and death.

But Dalén and colleagues reject this idea — and have for more than a decade. Over the years, the researchers have collected woolly mammoth bone shards, tusks and teeth in Siberia, and from them extracted woolly mammoth genomes. In the new study, the team analyzed 21 genomes, including eight that had already been previously published. The genome data cover the last 50,000 years of woolly mammoths’ existence, including when the animals became isolated on Wrangel Island.Using computer modeling software, the team compared the woolly mammoths’ genomes with the genomes of elephants, the closest modern-day relation, and humans to predict how harmful genetic mutations were to the mammoth and whether they were purged from the population over time.

The analysis showed that though Wrangel Island’s mammoth population started with at most eight individuals, it jumped to about 200 to 300 individuals and stayed level until the mammoths went extinct. The most harmful genetic mutations in the mammoth population also became less frequent over time, likely because animals with those mutations couldn’t or didn’t reproduce, the researchers say. Minor genetic mutations likely would not have caused the Wrangel Island mammoths to die out completely, Dalén says.

“It is really good evidence against the meltdown model, but it doesn’t completely exclude that model,” says Vincent Lynch, an evolutionary biologist at the University at Buffalo in New York. Though the island isolation and drop in genetic variation might not have been the final nail in the mammoth coffin, even the accumulation of minor genetic mutations could have made the woolly mammoths more vulnerable to other environmental changes like disease, climate shifts and the arrival of humans (SN: 8/13/20; SN: 1/11/22).

Due to challenges obtaining high-quality DNA, the team was not able to analyze the genetic condition of the Wrangel Island population during their final 300 years, roughly five generations, says study coauthor Marianne Dehasque, also of the Centre for Palaeogenetics. In the future, with rapidly improving sequencing technologies, the researchers are looking to complete their analysis of the Wrangel Island mammoths’ genetic trajectory.

As scientists continue to study the woolly mammoth, the animal’s final moments remain a mystery. “Maybe they were just unlucky,” Dalén says. If some disaster had not struck Wrangel Island, perhaps “we would have had mammoths walking around still today.”

3) We may finally know the source of mysterious high-energy neutrinos By Mara Johnson-Groh

Supermassive black holes at the hearts of active galaxies may be churning out a lot of the universe’s high-energy neutrinos.

Two teams using data from IceCube, the world’s premier neutrino observatory located in Antarctica, have independently identified a common type of these active galaxies, called Seyfert galaxies, as likely neutrino producers. These findings, reported in Physical Review Letters and, bolster some astronomers’ view that the cores of such active galaxies could churn out the majority of the cosmic neutrinos seen streaming across the universe.“I would say that they can be the major contributor,” says astronomer Andrii Neronov of the Astroparticle and Cosmology Laboratory in Paris, who is a coauthor of the study in Physical Review Letters. “I would put a reasonable bet on them now with the information that I know.”

This wasn’t the case just a few years ago. When astronomers first identified Seyfert galaxy NGC 1068 as the likely origin of high-energy neutrinos in 2022, it came as a surprise to some. Many astronomers at the time didn’t think this type of galaxy could produce neutrinos. Now, with compelling evidence that neutrinos are coming not only from NGC 1068 but from two other galaxies like it, NGC 4151 and NGC 3079, there’s little doubt that active galaxies — defined as those with supermassive black hole cores belching immense amounts of energy, called active galactic nuclei, can be capable neutrino producers.

“It is exciting to see active galactic nuclei emerging as a class of neutrino sources, especially the ones obscured by a surrounding layer of dust and gas as a source of high-energy neutrinos,” says astrophysicist Sreetama Goswami of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, and a coauthor on the new results in the June 10 preprint submitted to Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The new findings add to a flurry of recently published theoretical research that has made headway in tracking down the exact origins of cosmic neutrinos. Several studies, including a paper accepted to Nature Astronomy and published as a preprint at on May 30, have pinpointed the region around the central supermassive black hole in NGC 1068 as the only place in the galaxy where the neutrinos could be produced. If NGC 4151 and NGC 3079 are confirmed as neutrino factories, their high-energy particles would likely also be produced near their central black holes.Previously, scientists have only confidently identified one other significant extragalactic neutrino emitter: a blazar (SN:07/12/18). These cosmic giants are also active galaxies, but they have enormous jets of supercharged material where the neutrinos are thought to be produced. Now, however, some astronomers think that maybe it’s the blazar’s black hole that is ultimately responsible.

“I think that dense cores, not jets, produce neutrinos,” says Francis Halzen, principal investigator of IceCube and a coauthor on the June 10 paper. “These can be in Seyferts, flat-spectrum radio quasars [types of blazars], or anything else with an obscured black hole.”

Kohta Murase, a theoretical physicist at Penn State University, who has done extensive research to identify the source of NGC 1068’s neutrinos, has long thought the black hole hearts of these galaxies are probable neutrino mills. “One of the promising sites for neutrino production is the corona, which is a very hot region surrounding the black hole,” he says. “If this is established, it might give us a clue to understanding the physical properties of the corona.”

Along with discussing where neutrinos are produced in active galaxies, astronomers are also debating what types of active galaxies are the most important neutrino producers. Some scientists assert jetless active galactic nuclei galaxies, like Seyferts, could produce nearly all extragalactic neutrinos. Other researchers maintain blazars are necessary to explain particularly high-energy neutrinos. Or perhaps there are more unidentified neutrino-spewing objects yet to be discovered.The consensus among astronomers is that active galaxies with supermassive black holes are probably a big source of high-energy neutrinos, but exactly how big is still unknown.

4) How blockbuster obesity drugs create a full feeling — even before one bite of food By Mariana Lenharo

Scientists identify brain area that holds two groups of neurons: one for pre-meal sensations of fullness and one for post-meal satiety. People taking Ozempic and similar weight-loss drugs often feel full even when they sit down to a meal and haven’t taken a single bite. Now scientists have found a brain region that is involved in this effect — and that also helps to cause the same sensation without the use of weight-loss drugs.

In a paper published today in Science1, scientists describe two distinct groups of neurons associated with feeling full: one for pre-meal fullness and one for post-meal fullness. The study also shows that the blockbuster obesity drugs act on those ‘fullness’ neurons, but more research is needed to determine the drug’s exact mechanism, the authors say.

The identification of these two populations of neurons is the paper’s key contribution, says Allison Shapiro, a specialist in neurodevelopment at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora who was not involved in the resarch. It fits in with the anecdotal idea that there are two types of fullness: one that is anticipatory and another that arises in response to eating. “Based on what they've found, it appears that this specific region of the hypothalamus is responsible for both, which is pretty cool.”

Fullness without food

The latest blockbuster medications for obesity mimic a hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), which controls blood-sugar levels and also acts on the brain to curb appetite. The GLP-1 drugs include semaglutide, sold as Ozempic and Wegovy, and liraglutide, sold as Saxenda and Victoza.

Hyung Jin Choi, a neuroscientist at Seoul National University and one of the authors of the study, experienced the effects of liraglutide firsthand when he took the drug for obesity. “I felt a huge increase in fullness when I saw and smelled food, even before I started eating,” he says. This motivated him to dig into this feeling of pre-meal fullness.He and his colleagues recruited people with obesity and asked them to report their level of satiation before exposure to food; while seeing a delicious plate of Korean fried chicken but before eating it; and after eating. People taking liraglutide had a feeling of fullness even before exposure to food, but this feeling grew when they were shown food and grew again after they’d eaten. The findings demonstrate that Choi isn’t the only one on this drug who feels full at the mere sight of food — a feeling that the team named ‘preingestion satiation.’

In contrast, for participants who weren’t taking the drug, satiation decreased at the sight of the fried chicken and didn’t rise again until after they’d eaten.

To identify the exact region in the brain responsible for these sensations, researchers homed in on an area called the dorsomedial hypothalamus (DMH). Its neurons have GLP-1 receptors, allowing GLP-1 to act directly on this brain region.

The researchers artificially stimulated DMH neurons in mice that were in the middle of a meal and found that the animals immediately stopped eating. When these neurons were chronically activated, mice ate less; when these neurons were chronically inhibited, mice ate more. The results suggest that the region plays a central part in satiation.

Neurons that signal ‘I’m stuffed’

With that established, the authors investigated the activity of individual neurons in the mouse DMH. They identified two distinct populations of neurons: one that was consistently active from the moment mice started seeking food to the moment they started eating and another that was consistently active only as the mice ate.

The authors also showed that GLP-1 drugs act on this specific brain region. In mice that received liraglutide, neural activity in the DMH area was higher before and during meals than in mice that hadn’t received the drug. The team deleted GLP-1 receptors in some animals’ DMH neurons, curbing the ability of liraglutide to act on this brain area. These mice ate more than those that didn’t have their GLP-1 receptors deleted, signalling that liraglutide’s ability to suppress appetite had been weakened.Karolina Skibicka, a neuroscientist at Penn State in University Park and at the University of Gothenburg, in Sweden, notes that other studies have found no such changes in feeding behavior after manipulation of GLP-1 receptors in this brain area. One possible explanation might be related to the discovery reported in the paper of two distinct neuron populations in the DMH. “We tend to think of GLP-1-receptor-expressing neurons in a given brain area as this homogeneous population playing the same role,” she says. “This paper is showing that that's clearly not true. It’s just one brain area, but GLP-1 receptors on neurons are doing different things there.”

The study showed a congruence between what was seen in humans and in mice, says Amber Alhadeff, a neuroscientist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She notes it's becoming increasingly important to use clinical observations to inform the basic science studies on GLP-1 drugs. “But then it’s also important to go back and subsequently confirm the existence of these mechanisms in humans. This paper was a nice example of taking that in both directions.”

5) No CRISPR: oddball ‘jumping gene’ enzyme edits genomes without breaking DNA By Heidi Ledford

A programmable RNA that bridges a genetic donor and a target could herald a safer and more flexible approach to large-scale chromosome changes.

A molecular oddity found in bacteria could hold the key to redesigning genomes at will, allowing researchers to insert, delete or flip large segments of DNA.

The technique, described in three papers published this month in Nature1,2 and Nature Communications3, harnesses the natural ability of mobile genetic sequences, called jumping genes, to insert themselves into genomes.

Guided by an RNA molecule called a ‘bridge’ RNA or ‘seekRNA’, the system has been shown to edit genes in a bacterium and in test-tube reactions, but it is still unclear whether it can be adapted to work in human cells. If it can, it could be revolutionary, owing to its small size and its ability to make genetic changes that are thousands of bases long — much larger than is practical with the CRISPR–Cas9 genome-editing system — without breaking DNA.

“If this works in other cells, it will be game-changing,” says Sandro Fernandes Ataide, a structural biologist at the University of Sydney in Australia, and an author on the Nature Communications paper. “It’s opening a new field in gene editing.”

Transposable treasures

Like many celebrities, CRISPR–Cas9’s rise to fame has been plagued by misleading headlines. Although the method can be used to rewrite small segments of genomes, it is not the fully versatile cut-and-paste system that some news stories have made it out to be. The technique is most often used to change just one or a few DNA bases — and that typically requires first breaking the DNA and then relying on the cell’s innate DNA repair systems to generate the desired change. However, this opens the door to unintended collateral genetic damage as the cell implements the repair.

As CRISPR moves into human medicine, researchers are eager to expand their genome-editing toolkit so that they can insert entire or even multiple genes into a location of their choosing. Doing so would allow them to develop a therapy that treats people who have several mutations in a single gene, rather than targeting each mutation with a bespoke approach. And the ability to edit several genes could allow researchers to engineer immune cells to attack cancer in multiple ways, all while maintaining control over where those genes are inserted into the genome.

“What you really want to do in the future is to be able to design entire sections of your genome, not individual bases,” says Patrick Hsu, a bioengineer at the non-profit Arc Institute in Palo Alto, California, and an author of both of the Nature papers.

To look for tools, Hsu and his colleagues sifted through a diverse class of enzymes that allow mobile DNA elements in bacteria to hop from one location to another. They homed in on a family of transposable elements called IS110.

Enzymes in the IS110 family use a complex and unusual RNA-based targeting system, the team found. One end of the RNA binds to a piece of the DNA that will be inserted into the genome and the other end binds to a DNA snippet at the site in the genome where the cargo will go. Because the RNA bridges the two DNA segments, the team dubbed these molecules ‘bridge RNAs’.By changing the sequences at either end of this bridge, the researchers were able to program IS110 enzymes to insert a cargo of their choosing where they wanted in the genome. They used the system to precisely insert a piece of DNA that was nearly 5,000 bases long into the genome of the bacterium Escherichia coli, and to excise and invert another piece of DNA from the E. coli genome.

Working independently of Hsu, Ataide and his colleagues characterized the biochemistry of IS110 molecules as well as those of another family, called IS1111, which uses a similar mechanism and is also programmable. They call their RNA intermediaries ‘seekRNA’.

Working out and exploiting these mechanisms is a remarkable achievement, says Elizabeth Kellogg, who studies mobile DNA elements called transposons at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. “Everybody loves that transposons can insert large DNA cargoes,” she says, “but getting them to be programmable and site-specific is extremely difficult”.

Other transposition systems that researchers have explored for genome editing are more complex, she notes, and often consist of multiple proteins. In another paper published in Nature this month, researchers determined how key components of some of these elaborate machines form a complex structure known as a transpososome, which works together with an enzyme called transposase to allow mobile genetic elements to hop around in the genome4.

Size matters

Similarly, efforts to engineer CRISPR-based systems to make large manipulations in the genome often also require multiple proteins, or a fusion of a Cas enzyme with another protein. For example, a paper published on 26 June in Cell describes a method for duplicating chunks of the genome up to 100 million bases — larger than some human chromosomes — using a Cas9 protein joined to an enzyme that can copy the donor sequence5.The IS110 and IS1111 systems, by contrast, require only a single protein, and this is less than half the size of many of the Cas enzymes used in CRISPR genome-editing systems. That size difference is important for medical applications: the viruses often used to ferry genome-editing components into human cells have limited cargo capacity.

But CRISPR systems also have the advantage of versatility, says Chengzu Long, a bioengineer at New York University Langone Health in New York City. Some Cas enzymes work in nearly every cell type studied.

The work on IS110 and IS1111 is “beautiful”, Long says. “But I really hope that in a few months, they’ll say it’s working in mice,” he adds. “Then, let’s have a cup of coffee.”

So far, IS110 family members do not seem to work well in mammalian cells, says Hiroshi Nishimasu, a structural biologist at the University of Tokyo who worked with Hsu to determine the mechanism by which an IS110 enzyme targets DNA. The team is now trying to engineer them to work better in the mammalian cells. Regardless of their success there, the IS110 mechanism stands out as a novel and “elegant” way by which mobile DNA elements can hitchhike around the genome, says Nancy Craig, a senior vice-president at SalioGen Therapeutics, a biotechnology company in Lexington, Massachusetts, that aims to develop genome-editing tools using mammalian transposons.

“Mother Nature has found many solutions for this,” she says. “We’ve found some, but there are many more out there waiting for us.”

6) NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter captures huge volcano, nears 100,000 orbits by NASA

NASA's longest-lived Mars robot is about to mark a new milestone on June 30: 100,000 trips around the Red Planet since launching 23 years ago. During that time, the 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter has been mapping minerals and ice across the Martian surface, identifying landing sites for future missions, and relaying data to Earth from NASA's rovers and landers.Scientists recently used the orbiter's camera to take a stunning new image of Olympus Mons, the tallest volcano in the solar system. The image is part of a continuing effort by the Odyssey team to provide high-altitude views of the planet's horizon. (The first of these views was published in late 2023.) Similar to the perspective of Earth astronauts get aboard the International Space Station, the view enables scientists to learn more about clouds and airborne dust on Mars.

Taken on March 11, the most recent horizon image captures Olympus Mons in all its glory. With a base that sprawls across 373 miles (600 kilometers), the shield volcano rises to a height of 17 miles (27 kilometers)."Normally we see Olympus Mons in narrow strips from above, but by turning the spacecraft toward the horizon we can see in a single image how large it looms over the landscape," said Odyssey's project scientist, Jeffrey Plaut of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, which manages the mission. "Not only is the image spectacular, it also provides us with unique science data."

In addition to offering a freeze frame of clouds and dust, such images, when taken across many seasons, can give scientists a more detailed understanding of the Martian atmosphere.

A bluish-white band at the bottom of the atmosphere hints at how much dust was present at this location during early fall, a period when dust storms typically start kicking up. The purplish layer above that was likely due to a mixture of the planet's red dust with some bluish water-ice clouds. Finally, toward the top of the image, a blue-green layer can be seen where water-ice clouds reach up about 31 miles (50 kilometers) into the sky.How they took the picture

Named after Arthur C. Clarke's classic science-fiction novel "2001: A Space Odyssey," the orbiter captured the scene with a heat-sensitive camera called the Thermal Emission Imaging System, or THEMIS, which Arizona State University in Tempe built and operates. But because the camera is meant to look down at the surface, getting a horizon shot takes extra planning.By firing thrusters located around the spacecraft, Odyssey can point THEMIS at different parts of the surface or even slowly roll over to view Mars' tiny moons, Phobos and Deimos.

The recent horizon imaging was conceived as an experiment many years ago during the landings of NASA's Phoenix mission in 2008 and Curiosity rover in 2012. As with other Mars landings before and after those missions touched down, Odyssey played an important role relaying data as the spacecraft barreled toward the surface.

To relay their vital engineering data to Earth, Odyssey's antenna had to be aimed toward the newly arriving spacecraft and their landing ellipses. Scientists were intrigued when they noticed that positioning Odyssey's antenna for the task meant that THEMIS would be pointed at the planet's horizon.

"We just decided to turn the camera on and see how it looked," said Odyssey's mission operations spacecraft engineer, Steve Sanders of Lockheed Martin Space in Denver. Lockheed Martin built Odyssey and helps conduct day-to-day operations alongside the mission leads at JPL. "Based on those experiments, we designed a sequence that keeps THEMIS's field-of-view centered on the horizon as we go around the planet."

The secret to a long space odyssey

What's Odyssey's secret to being the longest continually active mission in orbit around a planet other than Earth?

"Physics does a lot of the hard work for us," Sanders said. "But it's the subtleties we have to manage again and again."

These variables include fuel, solar power, and temperature. To ensure Odyssey uses its fuel (hydrazine gas) sparingly, engineers have to calculate how much is left since the spacecraft doesn't have a fuel gauge. Odyssey relies on solar power to operate its instruments and electronics. This power varies when the spacecraft disappears behind Mars for about 15 minutes per orbit. And temperatures need to stay balanced for all of Odyssey's instruments to work properly.

"It takes careful monitoring to keep a mission going this long while maintaining a historical timeline of scientific planning and execution—and innovative engineering practices," said Odyssey's project manager, Joseph Hunt of JPL. "We're looking forward to collecting more great science in the years ahead."




1) Jharkhand high court grants bail to Hemant Soren in land scam case

Hemant Soren is currently lodged in the Birsa Munda jail in Ranchi.The Jharkhand High Court has granted bail to former chief minister Hemant Soren in a money laundering case linked to the land scam. His lawyer, Arunabh Chowdhury, has claimed that the court found him not guilty of the offence. The high court had on June 13 reserved its decision on Soren's bail plea.Bail has been granted to Soren. The court has held that prima facie he is not guilty of the offence and there is no likelihood of the petitioner committing an offence when on bail," he told PTI.Hemant Soren is currently lodged in the Birsa Munda jail in Ranchi.He is the executive president of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).

Soren was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on January 31.His lawyer, senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, had argued that Soren was being unfairly targeted in what she described as a politically motivated and fabricated case.

The Enforcement Directorate had told the court that he misused his position to acquire 8.86 acres of land in the state capital.

ED counsel SV Raju claimed that witnesses had confirmed Hemant Soren's involvement in the illegal land deal Soren's media consultant Abhishek Prasad admitted that the former CM instructed him to manipulate official records to change the ownership details of the land, he added.

ED had summoned Hemant Soren several times before arresting him on January 31.His lawyer, Kapil Sibal, had argued before the court that the alleged land grabbing wasn't an offence under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)/He further argued that even if the allegations were true, they would be a matter of civil dispute over property rights, not criminal activity.

Sibal alleged that the criminal proceedings were driven by ulterior motives aimed at keeping Soren incarcerated.Hemant Soren had to resign as the chief minister of Jharkhand before being arrested by the Enforcement Directorate. His loyalist, Champai Soren, became the chief minister of the state.The bail comes days after Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal got bail in the Delhi excise policy case. However, the Enforcement Directorate later secured a stay on the bail order from the Delhi high court. Later, the CBI arrested him in connection with the same case.

2) Petition in Supreme Court seeking stay of 3 new criminal laws

The PIL has sought to stay the operation and implementation of 3 new criminal laws Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita 2023 and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023 A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Supreme Court seeking stay on the newly amended criminal laws Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023 and Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha (Second) Sanhita, 2023.

The petition was filed on Wednesday by two Delhi residents Anjale Patel and Chhaya objected to the titles of the three laws calling them ambiguous and not accurate as the names of the three laws do not speak about the statute or its motive.Demanding stay of the three laws, the petition also alleged “irregularity” in the passage of bills in Parliament in December 2023.To be sure, the top court had on May 20 refused to entertain a petition filed by advocate Vishal Tiwari challenging the three laws claiming such a challenge to be premature as the laws are yet to come into operation.

3) INDIA vs NDA over NEET in Lok Sabha; Congress MP claims Rahul Gandhi's mic switched off

Congress MP Deepender Hooda, meanwhile, claimed the ruckus erupted after Leader of Opposition Rahul Gandhi's mic was switched off.The Congress-led INDIA bloc and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance came at loggerheads with each other in the Parliament on Friday, over the former's insistence on holding a debate on the raging NEET row after suspending all other legislative businesses. Amid ruckus by the Opposition over their demand, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla adjourned the House till Monday.

Congress MP Deepender Hooda, meanwhile, claimed the ruckus erupted after Leader of Opposition Rahul Gandhi's mic was switched off."The future of the youth has been spoiled due to the continuous paper leaks in the country. The maximum number of paper leak cases have been seen in Haryana. The paper was leaked in the NEET exam and the union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan is running away from responsibility. We had brought up a discussion on this and when it was raised in the House, the mike was switched off. If the mike of the Leader of the Opposition is switched off, then there will be anger among other Opposition MPs and the same happened in the House... We demand that this issue be discussed," he said.

On Friday morning, Congress moved adjournment motions in both Houses, seeking the suspension of other businesses. They wanted an immediate discussion on the NEET issues. However, Speaker Om Birla refused to admit it, saying the House was scheduled to discuss the Motion of Thanks on President Draupadi Murmu's address to the Parliament, prompting an uproar.

Birla, whose election had become the first bone of contention in the 18th Lok Sabha session, later adjourned the House.After the adjournment, parliamentary affairs minister Kiren Rijiju said the Congress didn't want the House to function."On behalf of the government, we have made it clear that we will give detailed information on whatever issue is raised. We assure the members once again that the government is always ready for discussion. But by halting the proceedings of the House, the tendency adopted by the Congress party - of not letting the House function - is not right...I condemn this. I appeal that those should not happen again," he said. The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi, earlier demanded a discussion on NEET in Parliament, adding that the discussion must happen "respectfully."

"Yesterday, all the leaders of the opposition parties had a meeting and it was unanimous that today, we want a discussion on the NEET issue. There should be a discussion on NEET here in the House. I request the Prime Minister that this is an issue of the youth and it should be discussed properly and it should be a respectful discussion. We will do it respectfully. You should also join the discussion, you should also participate because this is a matter for the youth. A message should go from the Parliament that the Indian government and the Opposition are talking about the students together," Rahul Gandhi told ANI before entering the Parliament.The Central Bureau of Investigation is probing the alleged paper leaks in NEET-UG and UGC-NET exams.

4) Delhi airport roof collapse: DGCA to examine structure, submit report to aviation minister

Union civil aviation minister Ram Mohan Naidu, along with aviation secretary Vumlunmang Vualnam, visited the site of the incident, and ordered the airport operator to inspect the terminal building The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) took note of the roof collapse incident at Delhi airport’s terminal 1 and said it will get the structure examined after the incident left one person dead and several others injured, two civil aviation ministry officials said on Friday.Torrential rainfall earlier in the day allegedly caused the roof to collapse, crushing several vehicles at the Indira Gandhi International airport around 5am.

Union civil aviation minister Ram Mohan Naidu, along with aviation secretary Vumlunmang Vualnam and other ministry officials, visited the site of the incident, and ordered the airport operator to inspect the terminal building.

Speaking to media persons, Naidu said the terminal has been temporarily shut for operations till tomorrow.

“All arrival and departure of SpiceJet flights from Terminal 1 have been shifted to T3 and all arrival and departure of IndiGo from T1 are being distributed between Terminal 2 and Terminal 3,” a Delhi Airport International Ltd (DIAL) spokesperson said.

The portion of the roof that collapsed in the morning was constructed in 2009. The expanded terminal 1 is currently undergoing mandatory checks after which it is expected to be operational in the coming month. Currently, only IndiGo and SpiceJet operate from T1.“This structure that collapsed is not a part of the expanded terminal that was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March. We have asked DIAL to conduct a verification from their side. But we are not leaving it to them, the DGCA will also supervise the inspection and give us a report,” Naidu said.

“Since it is monsoon season, all the airports with civil structures will be looked at again and we will do thorough checks at such airports,” the minister said.

Naidu has announced a compensation of ₹20 lakh to the kin of the deceased, while the injured will be given ₹3 lakh each

5) Roof of Ram Temple in Ayodhya leaks during rainfall, chief priest urges attention

The Ram Temple in Ayodhya was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 22.Six months after the grand opening of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, the temple's chief priest said water has been leaking from the ceiling during rainfall.“In the first rain, the roof of the sanctum sanctorum where the idol of Ram Lalla was installed has started to leak,” Acharya Satyendra Das told ANI. “Attention should be paid to the matter and to find out what was missing. It is very important. There is no space to drain water out of the temple.”

He added: “If the rain intensifies, it would be difficult to offer prayers at the temple.”The chief priest also expressed surprise, saying so many engineers are present at the temple and still water is leaking from the roof.

“It is very surprising. So many engineers are here, and the Pran Pratishtha was held on January 22, but water is leaking from the roof,” Das told PTI. "Nobody would've thought this."Nripendra Mishra, the chairperson of the Sri Ram Mandir Construction Committee, also confirmed that rainwater has been leaking from the first floor. He also gave instructions for repairing and waterproofing the roof.

He, however, clarified that this was expected as the ‘Guru Mandap’ is exposed.

“I am in Ayodhya. I saw the rainwater dropping from the first floor. This is expected because Guru Mandap is exposed to the sky as the second floor and completion of Shikhar will cover this opening,” Mishra told ANI in a statement. “I also saw some seepage from the conduit as this work on the first floor is in progress. On completion, the conduit will be closed. There is no drainage in the Sanctum Santorum because all the Mandaps have measured slope for clearance of water, and the water in Sanctum Santorum is manually absorbed.”He added: "Moreover, the devotees are not performing Abhishek on the deity. There is no design or construction issue. The Mandaps which are open may get rainwater drops which was debated but the decision was to keep them open as per Nagar architectural norms."The Ram Temple in Ayodhya was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 22.

Modi had presided over the consecration ceremony of the Ayodhya Ram temple in the presence of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, governor Anandiben Patel and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat.

The prime minister performed the last rituals of the ceremony by symbolically opening the eyes of the Ram Lalla idol with a golden stick, and ending the rites with aarti and shashtang pranam (prostration) to the deity.

Since its opening, the Ram temple has witnessed a massive influx of devotees from various parts of India and the world who continue to arrive in the temple town.

Water logging in Ayodhya

The Monsoon showers also caused severe waterlogging in Ayodhya, making patches of the newly built Rampath road cave in.Since Sunday morning, all 13 streets connected to Rampath have been waterlogged after overnight rain. Sewage water has also entered many houses on the connected streets.

"The work was done by the PWD (Public Works Department), and they will be able to answer it.” Ayodhya district magistrate Nitish Kumar said.

Ayodhya mayor Girish Pati Tripathi said that efforts to flush out the rainwater were launched soon.

"We immediately launched operations to flush out the water. We deployed various teams of the municipality to pump out water from the flooded houses," he said.

6) Om Birla re-elected as Lok Sabha Speaker: All about Speaker’s role, appointment process, and more

Om Birla, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Rajasthan's Kota constituency, has been re-elected as the Speaker of the 18th Lok Sabha through a voice vote. Explore the full list of Lok Sabha speakers till date (1952-2024).

All you need to know about Lok Sabha Speaker: On Wednesday, June 26, 2024, the ruling BJP-led NDA nominee, Om Birla, was elected as the Speaker of the 18th Lok Sabha for a second consecutive term by a voice vote. This is a rare occurrence, as the position of Lok Sabha Speaker is typically filled through consensus between the ruling party and the opposition.

However, this year, the Lok Sabha witnessed contested election for Lok Sabha Speaker post between Om Birla, a three-time BJP MP from Rajasthan’s Kota, and the INDIA bloc’s nominee, Kodikunnil Suresh, the eight-time Congress MP from Kerala’s Mavelikara, after the Narendra Modi-led NDA government and the Opposition failed to reach a consensus.



1) India vs Australia highlights, T20 World Cup 2024: IND qualifies for semifinals, beats AUS by 24 runs

IND vs AUS: Catch the highlights from the T20 World Cup 2024 Super 8 match between India and Australia at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, St Lucia.

India beat Australia by 24 runs in a T20 World Cup 2024 Super Eight match at the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, Gros Islet, St. Lucia on Monday to book a spot in the semifinals of the tournament.

Hardik to bowl the last over. Double on the first ball towards long on. Cummins pulls towards deep midwicket, Jadeja dives but can’t grab the ball. Just a single. Off-cutter and Starc is beaten. Another cutter and another dot ball. Three balls, all same with same result. Single on the last ball. India wins quite comfortably in the end.Bumrah. He’s bowling the cutter brilliantly. Another cutter but Cummins times his pull well and gets a SIX. Bumrah follows it up with a yorker. 10 runs from the over.



181 / 7 (20 OV)



205 / 5 (20 OV)

India win by 24 runs

2) IND vs ENG: India records second biggest win in T20 World Cup knockouts

With this win, India qualified for the final and will be playing against South Africa on June 29, Saturday in Barbados India recorded the second biggest win in T20 World Cup knockout matches (by margin of runs), beating England by 68 runs in the second semifinal played at Providence Stadium in Guyana on Thursday.

India recorded the second biggest win in T20 World Cup knockout matches (by margin of runs), beating England by 68 runs in the second semifinal played at Providence Stadium in Guyana on Thursday.

With this win, India qualified for the final and will be playing against South Africa on June 29, Saturday in Barbados.

3) Euro 2024: Newcomer Georgia shocks Portugal 2-0 to get round of 16 spot

Georgia outshines Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in the final match of Euro 2024 Group F match to qualify for round of 16 in its first outing in a major international tournament.

Georgia stunned Portugal to reach the knockouts at Euro 2024 - its first ever major tournament - with a 2-0 win over the former European champion on Wednesday, settled by an early Khvicha Kvaratskhelia strike and a Georges Mikautadze penalty.

The win, albeit against a largely second-string Portugal who had already made it into the next round, represented the greatest result for Georgia since the country gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Having come a disappointing fourth in its Euro qualifying group, Georgia had to take a circuitous route to Germany, first by winning its group in the less glamorous Euro Nations tournament and then defeating Greece in a play-off.

But there was nothing undeserved about the way Coach Willy Sagnol, the former Bayern Munich and France defender, and his side claimed a third-place finish in the tournament’s Group F and set up a last-16 meeting with three-time Euro winners Spain.

Georgia’s win also means that England will line up against Slovakia, Romania take on Netherlands and Portugal face Slovenia in the round of 16. Hungary, who had been in contention for a spot in the next round, were edged out.The tournament debutant took the lead in the second minute when Kvaratskhelia, the Napoli winger, raced away after a careless pass by Antonio Silva and powered a low shot past Diogo Costa in Portugal’s goal.Cristiano Ronaldo - one of only three starters for Portugal who also played in its 3-0 win over Turkey on Saturday - stretched and strained for every ball as he sought to become the oldest goal scorer at a Euro tournament at the age of 39.But Georgia defended as if its lives depended upon it and sought to catch Portugal on the break. In the 53rd minute, Silva compounded his earlier error by committing a foul in the box that was awarded a penalty after a VAR check.

Mikautadze, who had provided the pass for Kvaratskhelia to open the scoring early on, steered his spot kick past Costa, making him the top scorer at Euro 2024 so far with three goals.Ronaldo was booked in the first half for arguing and cut a frustrated figure when he was substituted after the break, kicking out at a water bottle.

Georgia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili made late saves to keep Portugal at bay in the final minutes, and at full time Georgia’s squad and coaching staff sprinted on to the field to celebrate in front of thousands of its fans.

4) Czechia vs Turkiye, Euro 2024: Fight breaks out after final whistle, referee gives red card to Chory

A fight broke out between the players of Czechia and Turkey after the Turks won the Euro 2024 Group F match 2-1 at the Volksparkstadion Hamburg in Germany on Wednesday.A fight broke out between the players of Czechia and Turkey after the Turks won the Euro 2024 Group F match 2-1 at the Volksparkstadion Hamburg in Germany on Wednesday.

After full-time, both teams got into a heated argument with Turkish youngster Arda Guler as part of it and the referee booked him immediately, while Tomas Soucek, the captain of Czechia was also cautioned.

For Czechia, which was eliminated after Georgia’s win over Portugal, the night went from bad to worse when Czech forward Tomas Chory was shown the red card by referee Istvan Kovacs.Earlier, Czechia had another disciplinary error wherein its striker Patrik Schick was shown a yellow card while he was on the bench.

Hakan Calhanoglou opened the scoring for Turkey, keeping Czechia’s chances of qualification further bleak, after Khvicha Kvaratskhelia had struck early in the other Group F game between Georgia and Portugal, and the Czechs reduces to 10-men in the 20th minute.

Soucek tries to restore parity with a goal after the hour mark, but Cenk Tosun’s stoppage time goal put the competition to bed. Turkey will play Group D topper Austria on July 2.

5) Copa America 2024: Uruguay routs Bolivia 5-0 as Núñez scores in 7th straight game

With no points and a minus-seven goal difference, Bolivia has almost no chance of advancing going into Monday’s match against Panama at Orlando, Florida.Darwin Núñez scored in his seventh straight international match, and Uruguay routed Bolivia 5-0 on Thursday night to move to verge of a quarterfinal berth in the Copa America.

Facundo Pellistri put the Uruguayans ahead in the eighth minute and Núñez doubled the lead in the 21st with his 10th goal in his last seven games for Uruguay and 13th in 25 matches overall.Maximiliano Araújo scored his second goal of the tournament in the 77th, and Federico Valverde (81st) and Rodrigo Bentancur (89th) added goals as Uruguay romped through a ragged Bolivian defense.

Uruguay, seeking its record 16th Copa America title, is 2-0 for six points with a plus-seven goal difference and would advance with at least a draw on Monday against the U.S. at Kansas City, Missouri, or perhaps even a loss.

The U.S. has three points and plus-one goal difference and Panama three points and minus-one difference.

Bolivia has lost 14 consecutive Copa America matches dating to 2015 and has one win in its last 32. With no points and a minus-seven goal difference, it has almost no chance of advancing going into Monday’s match against Panama at Orlando, Florida.

Bolivia is likely to be eliminated in the group stage for fourth straight time.

MetLife Stadium’s upper deck was nearly empty and the site of the 2026 World Cup final appeared to be half full. Two years early, Lionel Messi and Argentina drew a sellout crowd of 81,106 for a 1-0 win over Chile.Bolivia made six changes from its opening 2-0 loss to the U.S. and Uruguay quickly went ahead.

Nicolás de la Cruz played a long free kick down a flank and Ronald Araújo outjumped Luis Haquin to center a header. Mathías Olivera couldn’t reach it and the ball bounced before Pellistri nodded it in for his second international goal.

Núñez, who took seven shots in the first half, scored off a perfect weighed pass from Maximiliano Araújo on a quick counterattack. Maximiliano Araújo got his goal after Bolivia turned over the ball in midfield, fed by de la Cruz.

6) Panama vs USA Highlights, PAN 2-1 USA, Copa America 2024: Goals from Fajardo, Blackman give Los Canaleros the win at FT

Panama left the USA’s hopes of qualifying for the Copa America knockout rounds hanging by a thread on Thursday after scoring a shock 2-1 victory over the host nation.A stormy Group C battle in Atlanta saw both sides finish with 10 men as Panama came from behind to snatch a victory which reignites its campaign after an opening loss to Uruguay.

The game turned on a moment of madness in the 18th minute, when US winger Timothy Weah was sent off for striking Panama defender Roderick Miller in the face in an off-the-ball incident spotted by VAR.

Although Folarin Balogun fired the US into the lead with a screamer from the edge of the area after 22 minutes, Panama got back on level terms only minutes later after Cesar Blackman’s strike.As the game wore on, however, Panama’s one-man advantage began to take its toll on the weary US side.With seven minutes remaining, Jose Fajardo swept in an emphatic finish to put Panama 2-1 ahead.A fractious finale saw Adalberto Carrasquilla sent off after a cynical hack on US captain Christian Pulisic in the dying minutes as Panama hung on for the win.The win means the USA may well need to beat South American heavyweights Uruguay in its final group game next Monday to qualify for the quarter-finals.



Made on a budget of Rs 600 crore, Kalki 2898 AD is an entertaining sci-fi action movie that centres around a bounty hunter who saves people from the dark forces of Supreme Yaskin, the self-proclaimed god of the Complex. The movie features Prabhas, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Kamal Haasan, and Disha Patani, among others.


Sharmajee Ki Beti is a heartwarming coming-of-age movie that delves into the lives of three women, all with the same surname, who deal with societal pressures and gender expectations in their respective lives. Directed by Tahira Khurrana, the movie also sheds light on the challenges faced by two young girls who are going through puberty.


Fahadh Faasil starrer Aavesham has finally arrived on OTT (Disney+ Hotstar). The movie revolves around three teenagers who move from Kerala to Bangalore to pursue a degree in aeronautical engineering. The plot takes an unexpected twist when a local goon enters their lives and helps them in a fight against their seniors. What ensues next will keep you hooked to the screen.


ZEE5’s new offering, Rautu Ka Raaz, is an engaging crime thriller that follows an inspector named Deepak Negi (played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who is assigned the complex case of a school warden’s murder. Will Negi and his team succeed in catching the real culprit.


WondLa is a sci-fi fantasy series that delves into the life of a young girl named Eva, who moves to the surface of the Earth when her bunker is attacked. As she adapts to her new life, she befriends an alien and tardigrade, who help her search for other humans on the planet.


Jatt & Juliet 3 is a romantic comedy movie that revolves around two police officers who travel to Canada to solve a case. However, the arrival of an unexpected person derails their investigation. Written and directed by Jagdeep Sidhu, the recently released movie features Diljit Dosanjh and Neeru Bajwa in lead roles.


This is a superhero action drama that focuses on five ordinary people who mysteriously develop superpowers. As their newly gained powers start affecting their day-to-day lives, they turn to a man who brings them together to save the woman he loves. The series stars Tosin Cole, Nadine Mills, and Eric Kofi-Abrefa in pivotal roles.



The Naga Warriors 1: Battle of Gokul Vol 1 by Akshat Gupta (Author)

To prepare for the future, our ancestors created the Naga sadhus―a clan of warriors for the protection of Dharma, as proclaimed by Adi Guru Shankaracharya in the eighth century. This sect of Shiva devotees has stood firm, living selflessly and fighting fearlessly. For centuries, they have died the death of heroes, serving and saving Dharma and the temples.

In the year 1757, 111 Naga sadhus borrowed the majestic weapons of the idols of their gods. Fueled by their belief in Lord Shiva, they gathered an invincible courage to protect the temples of Gokul. They stood as an indestructible wall, led by Ajaa, a fearless Naga warrior, against the Afghan army of 4000 men, a cavalry of 200 horses and 100 camels, and 20 cannons. The brutal Afghan army was led by Sardar Khan, the most ruthless commander of Emperor Ahmed Shah Abdali, ill-famed for the demolition of temples and building a history of genocide in Bharat.

The fight continues. This is the Naga warrior’s commitment to courage and determination. This is the clash of Shiva devotees against the devils that lie under men’s skin. This is the Battle of Gokul.

Akshat Gupta

Akshat has the credit of successfully running a restaurant chain. Nevertheless, his penchant for writing grew with the passage of time. The Hidden Hindu is the product of sheer dedication and research for continuous two years. He is working on the second and third parts of this fiction trilogy which is a blend of Hindu mythology and Indian history. Akshat is currently working on few scripts for known production houses in Mumbai.

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My Animated 3D Clips

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