New material that can twist light developed

News4u-Features Desk-Scientists have found how to twist light at will - and the answer lies in a new material.

The material shows extraordinary properties not typical of regular material and can lead to development of photonics, the faster, more compact and less carbon-hungry successor to electronics.

A random find in the washing basket led the team to create the latest in a new breed of materials known as metamaterials. “Our material can put a twist into light - that is, rotate its polarisation - orders of magnitude more strongly than natural materials,” said lead author Mingkai Liu, a PhD student at The Australian National University (ANU) Research School of Physics and Engineering (RSPE).

“And we can switch the effect on and off directly with light,” said Liu. Electronics is estimated to account for two per cent of the global carbon footprint, a figure which photonics has the potential to reduce significantly.

Already light carried by fibre optics, has replaced electricity for carrying signals over long distances. The next step is to develop photonic analogues of electronic computer chips, by actively controlling the properties of light, such as its polarisation, researchers said. The ability of a material to rotate polarisation, as in this experiment, springs from the asymmetry of a molecule.

However the remarkable properties of this artificial material might first be put to use in the budding photonics industry, suggests co-author Dr David Powell, also from RSPE. “It’s another completely new tool in the toolbox for processing light,” he said. “Thin slices of these materials can replace bulky collections of lenses and mirrors. This miniaturisation could lead to the creation of more compact opto-electronic devices, such as a light-based version of the electronic transistor,” said Powell.

The metamaterials are formed from a pattern of tiny metal shapes, dubbed meta-atoms. To obtain optical rotation Liu and his colleagues used pairs of C-shaped meta-atoms, one suspended above the other by a fine wire. When light is shined on to the pair of meta-atoms the top one rotates, making the system asymmetric.

“The high responsiveness of the system comes because it is very easy to make something hanging rotate. The idea came to me when I found a piece of wire in my washing one day,” said Liu. The findings are published in the journal Nature Communications.

New material that can twist light developed

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Urdu’s journey over centuries to be shown on television

News4u-News Desk- ‘Dastan-E-Urdu’, a 13-episode miniseries will bring on television for the first time evolution of Urdu over centuries and will aim to break misconceptions about the language among the youth.

The show, which will be aired weekly on Doordarshan National from July 27, will depict the history of the language, how at one point of time, Hindi and Urdu were considered one and what led to that disintegration.

It is produced by filmmaker and Urdu activist Kamna Prasad and directed by Aparna Srivastava Reddy.

“Today’s generation has myths about Urdu and we want to bring clarity to that. They think it is a foreign language and just got adapted in India but that’s not true. It’s an Indian language and its history starts from India,” Prasad said.

The show aims to captures all nuances and aspects of Urdu’s poetic opulence and its universal appeal, by interviewing Urdu experts like eminent lyricist-screenwriter Javed Akhtar, Pt Gulzar Dehlvi and Professor Mushirul Hasan, among others.

“I already knew many of them personally as we keep meeting at Mushairas I organize, in fact Javed Akhtar attends every Mushaira I hold and they are all experts in the field of Urdu, so I spoke with them at length about its history and relevance in today’s scenario,” said Prasad, who has also done the research work for the show. The producer says series was initially planned to be aired on DD Urdu.

“We first planned for Urdu-loving audience but Doordarshan decided that it should be aired on DD National as the language has national importance and it deserves to reach a wide audience,” Prasad said.

The makers are confident that the show will strike a chord with the people as they feel the language is gaining popularity among the youth, courtesy Pakistani dramas being aired on Television.

“People love these Urdu dramas and are a fan of them. They will want to know the past of Urdu and how it evolved over the years,” said Parvez Alam, who has interviewed a lot of experts on the show.

Prasad, who will also feature in the show as a narrator, will be seen speaking Urdu on show and also using Urdu poetry as a way of expression.

“The show is Urdu’s story in Urdu itself but we have not used heavy words because we want people to understand and connect with it. But it will be simple, colloquial Urdu which is understandable and will add depth to the series,” said Srivastava.

Prasad feels 13-episode duration is extremely short to show everything about Urdu and she may come with seasons, depending on the success of ‘Dastan-E-Urdu’.


Urdu’s journey over centuries to be shown on television

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Congress sweeps Uttarakhand Assembly bypoll

News4u-News Desk- The ruling Congress on Friday recorded a big win in the bypoll to three assembly seats in Uttarakhand retaining Dharchula seat which went to Chief Minister Harish Rawat and wresting Doiwala and Someshwar seats from the BJP.

While Rawat won Dharchula seat by over 20,000 votes, Congress’s Hira Singh Bisht won from Doiwala by over 6000 votes whereas Congress’ Rekha Arya won Someshwar (reserved) seat by over 9000 votes, Uttarakhand’s Chief Election Officer Radha Raturi said.

Rawat got 31214 votes against his nearest rival BJP’s BD Joshi who garnered 10610 in Dharchula. In Doiwala, Hira Singh Bisht of the Congress polled 35980 votes against BJP’s Trivendra Singh Rawat who got 29465 votes. Congress’ Rekha Arya bagged 22996 votes in Someshwar against BJP’s Mohan Ram Arya who got 13091 votes, she said.

Bypoll to these seats was held on July 21 after Dharchula was vacated by Congress MLA Harish Dhami for the chief minister to help him fulfil the constitutional requirement of entering the state assembly as an MLA.

Doiwala and Someshwar seats fell vacant after their sitting MLAs Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank and Ajay Tamta respectively were elected to the Lok Sabha.

Congress’ bypoll victory in Uttarakhand is a shot in the arm for the party which had lost all five seats to the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls.

Further consolidating the party’s position in the state assembly, victory in these seats helps the Congress reach the half-way mark on its own in the 70-member House by raising the number of party MLAs from 32 to 35.

The party had failed to muster a majority in the 2012 assembly elections and existed on the prop of the seven-member PDF, a front consisting of BSP, UKD and Independent MLAs.

Elated at its bypoll performancewhich comes after the Lok Sabha poll rout at the hands of BJP which was riding high on a Modi wave, Congress leaders here said it was an indication that the “so-called Modi wave is on the ebb”.

“Uttarakhand bypoll results, which have been overwhelmingly in favour of the Congress, show that the Modi magic has begun to fade,” PCC spokesman Dhirendra Pratap claimed. Soon after the party’s triumph, Rawat who had sought votes on the plank of stability, thanked the people of the state and promised to meet their expectations.

Another significant victory was recorded by Congress in the high-profile Doiwala seat which traditionally belonged to the BJP and was held by former chief minister Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank.

With Congress’s Hira Singh Bisht winning the Doiwala seat, the party has penetrated a BJP citadel winning the seat for the first time in 20 years.

The bypoll outcome deals a blow to BJP in the state reducing the number of its MLAs in the state assembly from 30 to 28.

harish Rawat

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Army Chief Bikram Singh pays tribute to Kargil martyrs

News4u-News Desk- Army Chief General Bikram Singh paid tribute to the martyrs of Kargil war in a ceremony at the war memorial in Drass.

The government is totally committed towards ensuring that the needs of the Army are met and the force is “fully geared” up to take on the challenges, outgoing Army Chief General Bikram Singh on Friday said.

“As Chief of Army Staff, I want to assure you that your army is stationed at the border and has the ability to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country,” he told reporters.

“As you know that I am hanging my boots on July 31 and I thought what better way of saying goodbye to the profession than coming here and laying a wreath,” he said.

Asked if things have changed in terms of deficiencies in the army since Kargil War, he said, “Yes, things have changed. Let me tell you all the armies have deficiencies. It is not only that the Indian army has deficiencies.

“But things are being made up. The present government is totally committed towards ensuring that our needs are met. Our deficiencies are met. So let me assure you that your army is fully geared to take on the challenges. I personally guarantee you that,” he said.

Replying to a question, Gen Singh said the life of a soldier has improved since the Kargil incursions took place in 1999.

“It has improved by leaps and bounds in a very distinct manner,” he said.

“The aspirations of the force with regards to the security needs are being addressed by the government. Let me assure you that the present government is definitely committed towards ensuring that the aspirations of our soldiers are met,” he said.

On ceasefire violations by Pakistan, the Army Chief said, “As you very well know that this kind of firing has been on and this thing has been happening almost every month and every year, but let me assure you that your soldiers are taking necessary action whenever required.”

Asked about the absence of senior army officers, who were part of Kargil war, from the function today, Gen Singh said he cannot comment on it as they might have had prior commitments.

“Look I cannot comment on that. It is possible that they are abroad, they are busy. They might have prior commitments. But let me assure you that each one of those officers has a commitment towards this cause,” he said.

Gen Singh later interacted with war widows present at the function and distributed gifts among them.


Army Chief Bikram Singh pays tribute to Kargil martyrs

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Indian summons Pakistan Dy High Commissioner over Mumbai trial

News4u-News Desk- India on Friday summoned Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner and lodged a strong protest against the adjournment of the ongoing Mumbai terror attack case trial in Pakistan.

While the Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi, the Indian Deputy High Commissioner went to the Pakistan foreign office in Islamabad and lodged a similar protest.

According to informed sources, Indian officials in their meetings with Pakistani officials both in New Delhi and Islamabad have sought regular briefing on the progress of the trial and the investigation being conducted by Pakistani authorities.

It is understood that Indian officials during the meetings reiterated the high importance India attaches to bring to justice all those responsible in Pakistan for the Mumbai terror attack in 2008 in which 166 people were killed and hundred others injured.

For the seventh time in a row, a Pakistani anti-terrorism court trying the seven accused in the Mumbai attacks case adjourned the hearing on Wednesday.

The last hearing in the case and the one on June 25 could not be held because the judge was on leave.

Thecase proceedings have not been heldon a regular basis following theabsence of the prosecution lawyers. In the May 28, June 4,June 18and July 2hearings, the prosecution lawyers had not appeared in the ATC Rawalpindi primarily owing to securityconcerns.

Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Anjum have been charged with planning, financing and executing the attacks in India’s financial capital.


26/11 Mumbai Attack

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UPSC row: Govt says it will not allow injustice to students

News4u-News Desk- Government on Friday said it will not allow any injustice to students on the basis of language in UPSC examinations and has sought a report within a week from the three-member panel looking into the issue.

The assurance from Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh came in the Rajya Sabha after members expressed serious concern over the ongoing agitation of UPSC aspirants protesting the new Civil Services exam pattern and demanded cancellation of the exam scheduled on August 24.

Members, cutting across party lines, demanded a timeline for resolution of the issue and expressed dissatisfaction with the Minister’s reply.

They said the Minister had in a statement sometime back assured that the problem will be resolved within a week, but appears helpless in doing so.

Singh said the issue of Admit Cards is not linked to the exam pattern and it will have no bearing on the government’s decision, as it was being done as per the UPSC schedule.

“Government is not in favour of any injustice to students on the basis of language,” Jitendra Singh told the House, adding he has asked the Committee to hand over the report within a week”.

Allaying their apprehensions on the issue, the Minister said “The issue of Admit cards is not in any way going to influence the decision to be taken by the government. The cards have not been issued by us, but by the UPSC which follows a calender. The issue of Admit Cards, I can assure you, is not going to influence the further course of action,” Singh told members in the Upper House.

He said “I assure you that within one week we have sought the report of the Committee…Today I have again told the Committee to give the report within one week. As the report comes, further action will follow.”

Singh also reminded the Opposition that the three-member Committee was formed on March 12, 2014 as per Court directive during UPA tenure and it was to submit its report within a month but it did not do so.

Earlier, the Opposition created a ruckus in both the Houses over the issue.

Rajya Sabha was adjourned twice during Question Hour following Opposition’s demand for a clarification by no other than the Prime Minister or the Leader of the House on the issue.

The matter figured in Lok Sabha too though it did not lead to any adjournment.

“It should not sound that this is our creation,” Jitendra Singh said, adding the matter had come to light after a PIL and the UPA government took cognisance of the issue only after directions from a High Court judge in 2011.

He, however, said there were no agitations and demonstrations then.

Singh said a three-member Committee was formed thereafter but it did not give its report and, meanwhile, there was a change of government and now there is an agitation.

The Minister said that when the government approached the Committee it sought an extention. “We said we are giving you a three-month extention. We wrote to them to send the report at the earliest,” he said, adding “today also, we have again told the Committee to give its report within a week.”

He said the government is aware of what is happening and is looking at the issue with all seriousness and sensitivity.

“We should appeal to children that they should not put themselves in any physical trouble. We are looking at their problem with all seriousness,” he said.

Earlier members cutting across party lines, including some from the ruling BJP, raised concerns over falling success rate of language students in UPSC exams.

Seeking clarification from the Minister on his statement made in both Houses earlier this week, Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said discrimination is happening to language students in the UPSC exam and the number of those from Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and other languages successful in the exam was going down drastically while those with English have almost doubled.

He said no country can progress by the culture of translation and alleged a “bias” towards Indian languages to maintain the primacy of English in UPSC exams.

“Issuance of online admit cards should be immediately withdrawn. When will the Committee report come. The process of exams have already begun,” he said.

The issue rocked both Houses of Parliament with opposition alleging that regional language aspirants have disadvantage in Civil Services examination conducted by the UPSC.

Soon after the Upper House assembled for the day,Congress, SP, DMK and others raised the issue, but Chairman Hamid Ansari asked them to maintain silence for making a reference to the tragic incident in Telengana yesterday in which 14 students were killed.

Ansari asked them not to come to the well and they abided by his advice, but vociferous protests went on. He first adjourned the House for 15 minutes and then till Zero Hour.

As the protests continued even after the House reassembled at 12, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaih Naidu said the government is ready to take up the clarifications first if members desire so.

In Lok Sabha, the alleged police action on UPSC aspirants was forcefully raised by members belonging to RJD,SP and JD-U.

As soon as the House assembled for the day, RJD members Jay Prakash Narayan Yadav and Rajesh Ranjan Yadav, SP’s Dharmendra Yadav and Akshay Yadav, JD-U’s Santosh Kumar and Kaushalendra Kumar came to the Well and demanded immediate discussion on the issue.

They shouted slogans against the government alleging it had failed to protect interests of students and women.

SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav asked Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to allow discussion on the issue.

The Speaker refused to suspend the Question Hour saying the issue had already been discussed in the House earlier and the concerned Minister had replied too.

But later, she relented and said she would allow discussion on the UPSC issue during Zero Hour which was accepted by protesting members.


UPSC row: Govt says it will not allow injustice to students

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Obesity tied to low endurance, increased fatigue in workplace

News4u-Features Desk- Obese workers experience more fatigue and have significantly shorter endurance times when performing workplace tasks, compared with their non-obese counterparts, a new study has found.

The study, by researchers from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and colleagues, examined the endurance of 32 individuals in four categories (non-obese young, obese young, non-obese older, and obese older).

The participants completed three distinct tasks that involved a range of upper extremity demands - hand grip, intermittent shoulder elevation, and a simulated assembly operation.

Each task involved periods of work and rest, and included pacing demands similar to those experienced by workers in manufacturing settings.

“Our findings indicated that on average, approximately 40 per cent shorter endurance times were found in the obese group, with the largest differences in the hand grip and simulated assembly tasks,” said Lora A Cavuoto, an assistant professor in the department of industrial and systems engineering at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, in Buffalo, New York.

“During those tasks, individuals in the obese group also exhibited greater declines in task performance, though this difference was only evident among females,” Cavuoto said. In addition to examining how obesity affected physical demands and capacity, Cavuoto and her colleagues looked at the interactive effect of obesity and age on endurance times.

“Previous studies have indicated that both age and obesity lead to decreased mobility, particularly when it comes to walking and performing lower extremity tasks,” said Maury A Nussbaum, a professor in the department of industrial and systems engineering at Virginia Tech, who also worked on the study.

“However, we found no evidence of an interactive effect of obesity and age on endurance times, which is contrary to previous findings,” said Nussbaum. Obesity is associated with physiological changes at the muscular level, including a decrease in blood flow, thereby limiting the supply of oxygen and energy sources. When performing sustained contractions, these physiological changes may lead to a faster onset of muscle fatigue.

“Workers who are obese may need longer rest breaks to return to their initial state of muscle function,” said Cavuoto.

“Based on the increased fatigue found among workers who are obese, workplace designers may need to consider adding fixtures and supports to minimise the amount of time that body mass segments need to be supported,” said Cavuoto. The study is published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.


Obesity

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ISRO conducts special analysis for satellite safety

News4u-News Desk- With space debris becoming a matter of concern, the government on Thursday said ISRO is conducting special analysis to prevent collision before launching any satellite.

“The growing space debris poses threat to present and future space activities globally in terms of collision risk. ISRO performs Space Object Proximity Analysis for its operational low orbit spacecraft on a regular basis to assess the collision risk and determine risk mitigation strategies in advance,” it said.

“Collision Avoidance Analysis is also carried out to identify the safe lift-off time for launching of satellites from Sriharikota,” Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Department of Space, said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.

He said that apart from this, ISRO has been undertaking mitigation measures likes passivation of spent upper stage of launch vehicles and de-orbiting of non-functional satellites to avoid creation of space debris.

“India is also an active member of Inter Agency Space Debris Co-ordination Committee and played a key role in evolving space debris mitigation guidelines formulated by IADC and United Nations Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS),” Singh said.


ISRO conducts special analysis for satellite safety

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‘Bang Bang’ teaser gets over 2 million views in 24 hours

News4u-Entertainment Desk- The first glimpse of Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif-starrer action-thriller ‘Bang Bang’ has become the most watched teaser of any Bollywood film ever, garnering over 2 million views on YouTube in 24 hours.

‘Bang Bang’, directed by Siddharth Anand, is the remake of 2012 Hollywood film ‘Knight and Day’ starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz.

“I’m proud of the entire ‘Bang Bang team’ and especially Sid (Siddharth) Anand for achieving this milestone. And I’m happy that we were able to give 58 seconds of joy to all the viewers. Its all about them eventually. Gratitude,” Hrithik tweeted.

‘Bang Bang’, a Fox Star Studios production, marks Hrithik’s third film with Katrina after ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ and ‘Agneepath’, where the actress was seen in an item song.

“It is truly an overwhelming response for our teaser and I’m very happy that everyone is waiting for Bang Bang as eagerly as all of us,” Katrina said in a statement.

“Audiences are in for an exciting ride on 2nd October as the film has so much more to offer,” said Vijay Singh, CEO, Fox Star Studios. Hrithik’s action scenes in ‘Bang Bang’ had cost him a brain surgery last year as the actor had hit his head during the shoot of the film.

It is also the first film of the actor after his separation from wife Sussanne Khan in December last year. The movie is expected to release on October 2.


‘Bang Bang’

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Israel shell fire brings Gaza deaths above 800

News4u-News Desk- Israeli shell fire on a house in Gaza killed one person on Friday, bringing the total death toll to more than 800 Palestinians after one of the bloodiest days of the conflict.

The tank shell hit a home in the southern city of Khan Yunis, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said, killing at least one man.

Nearly 100 Palestinians were killed yesterday, according to figures from emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra, as Israel pressed on with its 18-day campaign to stamp out Gaza rocket fire.

Projectiles fired into Israel have killed three civilians - two Israelis and a Thai migrant worker - and fighting in and around Gaza has killed 32 Israeli soldiers.

It is the bloodiest conflict in the besieged Palestinian territory since a 2009 military operation there.

NGOs put the Palestinian civilian toll at around 80 percent of total casualties, including a large number of women and children.


Israel shell fire brings Gaza deaths above 800

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