Wednesday, May 20, 2009
In a new book, documentary, and promotional Web site, paleontologist Jorn Hurum, who led the team that analyzed the 47-million-year-old fossil seen above, suggests Ida is a critical missing-link species in primate evolution (interactive guide to human evolutionfrom National Geographic magazine).
(Among the team members was University of Michigan paleontologist Philip Gingerich, a member of theCommittee for Research and Exploration of the National Geographic Society, which owns National Geographic News.)
The fossil, he says, bridges the evolutionary split between higher primates such as monkeys, apes, and humans and their more distant relatives such as lemurs.
"This is the first link to all humans," Hurum, of the Natural History Museum in Oslo, Norway, said in a statement. Ida represents "the closest thing we can get to a direct ancestor."
Ida, properly known as Darwinius masillae, has a unique anatomy. The lemur-like skeleton features primate-like characteristics, including grasping hands, opposable thumbs, clawless digits with nails, and relatively short limbs.
"This specimen looks like a really early fossil monkey that belongs to the group that includes us," said Brian Richmond, a biological anthropologist at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., who was not involved in the study.
But there's a big gap in the fossil record from this time period, Richmond noted. Researchers are unsure when and where the primate group that includes monkeys, apes, and humans split from the other group of primates that includes lemurs.
"[Ida] is one of the important branching points on the evolutionary tree," Richmond said, "but it's not the only branching point."
At least one aspect of Ida is unquestionably unique: her incredible preservation, unheard of in specimens from the Eocene era, when early primates underwent a period of rapid evolution. (Explore a prehistoric time line.)
"From this time period there are very few fossils, and they tend to be an isolated tooth here or maybe a tailbone there," Richmond explained. "So you can't say a whole lot of what that [type of fossil] represents in terms of evolutionary history or biology."
In Ida's case, scientists were able to examine fossil evidence of fur and soft tissue and even picked through the remains of her last meal: fruits, seeds, and leaves.
What's more, the newly described "missing link" was found in Germany's Messel Pit. Ida's European origins are intriguing, Richmond said, because they could suggest—contrary to common assumptions—that the continent was an important area for primate evolution.
(Related: National Geographic-funded study of human "missing links.")
Photographs courtesy PLoS ONE
NEW: Death toll climbs
At least 15 people from the flight rescued, says major general
The crash destroys four homes and kills two residents, says Karas village leader
Indonesian military transport plane crashed into residential area in East Java
The death toll might rise, because the Air Force said 112 people were thought to be aboard when the Hercules transport plane crashed about 6:30 a.m.
The crash destroyed four homes and killed two people who lived in at least one of the homes, said Suwardi, the village leader of Karas in East Java.
The plane had a crew of 14 people and was carrying an additional 98 passengers, Major Gen. Suwarno said.
Wahyu Nuryanto, a staff member at the Iswahyudi hospital in nearby Madiun, told local media that 19 people were brought to the hospital -- several with serious injuries, including multiple fractures.
The 19 included air force personnel, family members of air force personnel, and civilians, Nuryanto said.
Rescue crews Wednesday were evacuating the crash area where local media showed plumes of smoke billowing from a rice field and rescuers scrambling to move victims on makeshift stretchers.
The crash comes a day after another Indonesian Hercules transport plane crashed on a runway after touching down early. No one was killed in that crash in Papua province.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
The 4th Vijayabahu Regiment(4 VIR) troops led by Lt. Colonel Rohitha Aluvihare under the 53 Division commanded by Major General Kamal Goonarathne, have found the bullet ridden body of the terrorist leader lying on the bank of the Nanthikadal lagoon. According to our defence correspondent at Wanni, the body has been positively identified as Prabakaran's by MP Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan and Daya Master.
Ironically, Interpol wanted terrorist K. Padmanathan alias KP this morning told pro LTTE media that the LTTE leader was safe and sound. With the news appeared on media, thousands of Tamil civilians living in Colombo capital joined celebrations of the security forces' victory saying that the curse placed on the Tamil population was finally removed.
Prabakaran's dog-tag. The world's no: 1 terrorist killed by the valiant Sri Lankan security forces.
LTTE leader's personal weapon and the belt.
For More fotos please visit www.defence.lk
Accordingly, Army Chief Sarath Fonseka has been promoted to the rank of General, Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda has been promoted to the rank of Admiral and Air Force Chief Roshan Goonathilake has been promoted to the rank of Air Chief Marshal.
General Sarath Fonseka, Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda and Air Chief Marshal Roshan Goonathilake become the first Sri Lankan Armed Forces Commanders to hold four star ranks while in active service.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Secretary Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Donald Perera, Army Chief, Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka, Navy Chief, Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, Air Force Chief, Air Marshal Roshan Goonathilake, Inspector General of Police Jayantha Wickramarathne and Director General of Civil Defence Force Sarath Weerasekara officially reported to the president that the task entrusted on them to liberate the nation from clutches of terrorism has been successfully accomplished and the nation is free from terror. The reporting was made at a charm ceremony held at Temple Trees.
President Rajapaksa is scheduled to address the nation from the parliament on Tuesday (May 19) at 9.30 AM.
එසේම යුධ භූමියන් ලැබෙන ආරංචි මාර්ගවලට අනුව සියලුම ත්රස්ත නායකයින් මරා දමා ඇති අතර, මේ වන විට භට පිරිස් විසින් එම මළසිරුරු හදුනාගැනීමේ කටයුතුවල නියැලී සිටී.
Pottu Amman- LTTE's Intelligence Wing Leader
Bhanu - LTTE military leader
Jeyam- LTTE military leader
B.Nadesan- LTTE political head
S.Pulidevan- Head of LTTE's Peace Secretariat
Ramesh- LTTE special military leader
Ilango- LTTE police chief
Charles Anthony- the eldest son of LTTE chief V. Prabhakaran
Sudharman - aide to LTTE leader's son
Thomas- senior intelligence leader
Luxman - LTTE military leader
Sri Ram- senior sea tiger cadre
Isei Aravi - LTTE female military leader
Kapil Amman - LTTE deputy intelligence leader
Ajanthi- female LTTE training in charge
Wardha - LTTE mortar in charge
Pudiyawan- Secretary to LTTE leader
Jenarthan - Special military leader
Meanwhile, defence sources on the field said that troops are now conducting search and clear operations in area. Troops have so far found over 200 bodies of LTTE cadres along with large stocks lethal weapons. Troops strongly believe that all top LTTE cadres including its chief V. Prabhakaran have been killed in today's fighting. The identification process is being continued.
Meanwhile, defence sources on the battlefront said all top LTTE leaders were believed to be killed during their abortive attempt to flee from advancing troops this morning (May 18). According to the sources, troops have found a burnt body suspected to be of LTTE chief V. Prabhakaran. However, the sources said that positive identification is yet to be made.
Also, unconfirmed sources revealed that LTTE’s intelligence wing leader Pottu Amman and Sea Tiger wing leader Soosai were killed in today’s battle.
With this attack LTTE has lost all its key positions and its remnants are now limited to tiny pockets scattered in the Karayamullavaikkal area, the sources said. All army units are now engaged in the final mop up operations.
LTTE terrorists made their final bid to evacuate its leaders early this morning as army elites pierced in to the last remaining LTTE foothold last night. The terrorist have managed took hold of two vehicles and believed to have put their senior leaders into those vehicles before they started moving northwards. According to the available information army elites and 53 Division soldiers have intercepted and crushed the terrorist move after fierce fighting.
Troops have so far identified bodies of Charles Anthony, the eldest son of LTTE chief V.Prabhakaran , B. Nadesan, LTTE's political head, S. Pulidevan , LTTE's head of peace secretariat, S. Ramesh, A special military leader, Kapil Amman, LTTE's deputy intelligence leader, Sudarman , the aide to Prabhakarn's son, Rathnam Master , a black tiger leader and Ilango, another senior LTTE leader.
More information will follow...
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Military spokesperson Udaya Nanayakkara said that over 50,000 civilians have been rescued from the LTTE hold during last 72 hours. Out of the above figure over 36,000 hostages have been rescued during last 24 hours, he added.
Meanwhile, LTTE launched an unsuccessful attack at the Army defence line on the eastern bank of the Nanthikadal lagoon early this morning (May 17). The terrorists using boats crossed the lagoon around 1.30 AM and attacked the Army first line of defence. Troops crushed the LTTE assault after hours of fierce fighting causing heavy damages to the terrorists.
A senior defence official called the attack a desperate bid by the terrorists to save their leaders.
"Their aim was to establish a foothold on the eastern bank of the lagoon. If they were successful they would try to transfer their most senior leaders there and try their luck in the jungles", he said.
He further revealed that LTTE has lost their last remaining fighting cadre in this abortive attack. "The attack was completely crushed by the well prepared soldiers. It is just a basic military tactic to show an escape route for the surrounded enemy as bait and crush them when they take it", he added.
Troops have so far have collected about 70 bodies of LTTE cadres following the attack. According to available information, two senior LTTE leaders identified as Muttappan and Pradeep were also killed during the confrontation.
Meanwhile, troops of 53, 58 and 59 Divisions engaged in daylong clashes with the terrorists yesterday (May 16).
Troops of 5 Gemunu Watch (5 GW) and 6 Gajaba Regiment (6 GR) operating under 53 Division carried out mop up operations along the A-35 in the Karayamullaivaikkal area causing heavy damages to the terrorists. Troops during the subsequent search operations found one body of LTTE cadre, 18 T-56 rifles, 11 radio communication sets, one light machine gun (LMG) and one outboard motor.
Separately, infantrymen of 9 GW and 8 GR operating under 58 Divisions battled the remaining terror strongholds in the Vellamullivaikkal area. Troops during the searches found a large amount weapons including three damaged 152mm heavy artillery guns. Among the other items found were, 128 T-56 weapons, 17 12.7 mm anti air machine guns, one RCL gun, two paddle guns, four 40mm grenade launchers, two multi purpose machine guns (MPMG), three radio communications sets, four micro pistols, 285 hand grenades, two barrels of 60mm mortar guns, two barrels of 120mm mortar guns, a large stock of live ammunition, oxygen tanks and Diving kits. Intercepted LTTE radio communications revealed that 31 terrorists were killed and 15 wounded during the clashes.
Infantrymen of 12 Sri Lanka Light Infantry (12 SLLI) and 11 GW operating under the 59 Division had confrontations with the terrorists in the Sarawaruthoddam area in Mullaittivu during daytime yesterday. Troops collected 3 bodies of LTTE cadres along with 18 T-56, three 40mm grenade launchers, one MPMG, five radio communication sets, one RPG launcher, and one 12.7mm machine gun during search operations. Also, troops found several heavy vehicles abandoned by the terrorists.
The battle continues.
According to the battlefield reports, infantrymen of Army 58 Division completed their three-day southbound march along the coast this morning (May 16) when they linked up with their comrades of 59 Division on the Mullaittivu frontage.
Rescue of hostages
The sources further said that over 4300 civilians held at hostage by the terrorists were rescued by 58 Division alone during yesterday's operations. Among the refugees were many family members of senior LTTE leaders. Also, there were many junior LTTE cadres, including suicide bombers who surrendered themselves to the soldiers.
Separately, troops of 53 Division marching southwards along the eastern bank of the Nanthikadal lagoon rescued over 4550 civilians yesterday. Over 300 others sought refuge with the 59 Division soldiers. The total number of people sought refuge with the soldiers during last 24 hours is approximately over 9000.
Troops of 5 Gemunu Watch (5GW), 1 Gajaba Regiment (1 GR), 6 GR, 17 Sri Lanka Artillery (17 SLA), and 1 Mach Infantry operating under 53 Division yesterday engaged terrorist positions on the A-35 road , West of Vellamullivaikkal . Intercepted LTTE radio transmissions confirmed 19 LTTE cadres were killed and 24 others injured during these confrontations.
Meanwhile, 58 Division troops battling the terrorist on the coast yesterday collected 32 bodies of LTTE cadres. The soldiers also found a large stock of weapons including 183 T-56 rifles, one 12.7 mm machine gun with five barrels, two paddle guns, three MPMGs, one naval machine gun, one Radar, six suicide boats, 127 mortar bombs (60mm), eight RPG launchers, 18 disposable RPGs, two Thermo-baric weapons, six FNC weapons, one M-16 rifle, three Light Machine guns, and a large amount of small arms ammo.
Kariyalamullivaikkal Tsunami village
Troops of 58 Division scored another significant victory in their battle against terrorism yesterday when they liberated the Kariyalamulla Tsunami relief village. The village is the only place where permanently built houses can be found between Velayamadam and Vellamullivaikkal areas. Over 4000 inhabitants of the village sought refuge with the soldiers. The unharmed buildings in the area gave lie to the repeated claims by the Western media and other pro LTTE propaganda elements that Sri Lanka Army has been indiscriminately shelling the civilian areas.
The rescue mission is being continued.
According to the battlefield sources, Army 53, 58 and 59 Division soldiers have entered into the area where LTTE leaders have been cowering among the civilians during last couple of weeks. Soldiers are now looking for sick and disabled people that may be left in the area as almost all the others held at hostage by the terrorists have been rescued.
Meanwhile, LTTE made an abortive attempt to breach the Army defence line on the Western bank of the Nanthikadal lagoon during the wee hours today (May 17). The LTTE cadres launched a surface attack across the Nanthikadal lagoon using several boats between 1.30 AM to 3.30 AM. According to the latest information, troops have been able to crush the LTTE attack causing heavy damages to the terrorists.
Troops have so far collected over 70 bodies of LTTE cadres.
More information will follow...
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
The story of Senn (Justin Long) and Mala (Evan Rachel Wood), two rebellious alien teens living on the beautiful planet Terra, a place that promotes peace and tolerance, having long ago rejected war and weapons of mass destruction. But when Terra is invaded by human beings fleeing a civil war and environmental catastrophe, the planet is plunged into chaos. During the upheaval, Mala befriends an injured human pilot (Luke Wilson) and each learns the two races are not so different from one another. Together they must face the terrifying realization that in a world of limited resources, only one of their races is likely to survive.
GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST - Starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE - Starring Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber
Leading up to the events of "X-Men," "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" — written by David Benioff ("The Kite Runner") — tells the story of Wolverine's epically violent and romantic past, his complex relationship with Victor Creed, and the ominous Weapon X program. Along the way, Wolverine encounters many mutants, both familiar and new, including surprise appearances by several legends of the X-Men universe.
MAY 8, 2009
LITTLE ASHES - Starring Robert Pattinson and Javier Beltran
NEXT DAY AIR - Starring Donald Faison and Mos Def
Life isn’t going smoothly for Leo Jackson. He still lives at home, he just broke up with his girlfriend and he’s had so many complaints about his sloppy work habits that his own mother is threatening to fire him. But Leo isn’t one to let a few bad breaks ruins his day—as long as he’s got plenty of weed to take his mind off his troubles. But when the wacked-out courier accidentally delivers a box containing 10 kilos of high quality cocaine to the wrong apartment, it sets in motion a hilarious and harrowing chain of events that could cost him his life.
STAR TREK - Starring Chris Pine and Anton Yelchin
MAY 15, 2009
ANGELS AND DEMONS - Starring Tom Hanks and Ewan McGregor
THE BROTHERS BLOOM - Starring Adrien Brody and Mark Ruffalo
For as long as they can remember, the Brothers Bloom have had only each other to depend on. From their childhood in a long series of gloomy foster homes to their highflying lives as international con artists, Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) and Bloom (Adrien Brody) have shared everything. Stephen brilliantly concocts intricate stories that the brothers live out, but he's still searching for the perfect con, the one where "everyone gets what they want." Meanwhile, Bloom yearns for "an unwritten life"—a real adventure, one not dreamed up by his old brother.
MANAGEMENT - Starring Jennifer Aniston and Steve Zahn
"Management" is a romantic comedy that chronicles a chance meeting between Mike Cranshaw (Steve Zahn) and Sue Claussen (Jennifer Aniston). When Sue checks into the roadside motel owned by Mike's parents in Arizona, what starts with a bottle of wine compliments of management soon evolves into a multi-layered, cross-country journey of two people looking for a sense of purpose.
MAY 21, 2009
TERMINATOR SALVATION - Starring Christian Bale and Sam Worthington
MAY 22, 2009
THE LIMITS OF CONTROL (Limited) - Starring Tilda Swinton and Gael Garcia Bernal
The story of a mysterious loner (played by Mr. De Bankole), a stranger whose activities remain meticulously outside the law. He is in the process of completing a job, yet he trusts no one, and his objectives are not initially divulged. His journey, paradoxically both intently focused and dreamlike, takes him not only across Spain but also through his own consciousness.
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN - Starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson
MAY 29, 2009
DRAG ME TO HELL - Starring Alison Lohman and Justin Long
UP - Featuring the Voices of Ed Asner and Christopher Plummer
From Disney/Pixar comes "Up," a comedy adventure about 78-year-old balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen, who finally fulfills his lifelong dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America. But he discovers all too late that his biggest nightmare has stowed away on the trip: an overly optimistic 9-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell.
Inaugural Summer Tour - 14 days (Friday, June 26th, 2009 - Friday, July 10th, 2009)
California Tour - 14 days (Friday, July 17th, 2009 to Friday, July 24rd, 2009) Bay/Jamaica, European Tour - 16 days (Friday, July 31st, 2009 to Sunday, August 16th, 2009)
Captain Ajith Gamage was killed by an LTTE gunman posing off as a civilian after having breached the LTTE defences at Ampalavanpokkanai, including the insurmountable earthbund and minefield in the same area on the very first day of operations.
4 SF soldiers who attempted to shield him from the gunman also died. This is how 5 Special Forces braves out of the total 11 SF braves who died in the rescue operation gave their lives to the motherland.
The 29yr old Captain (Posthumously promoted to Major) of a slightly smaller stature than the majority of the Special Forces officers was a giant in the battlefield who rose through the ranks of 1 Special Forces very quickly in recent times. Major Gamage leaves behind a wife whom he married 6 months ago.
A particularly good looking and pleasant individual, Ajith Gamage was awarded the coveted WWV three times for his services. He the OC (Officer Commanding) of the 1SF A Team and engaged in LRRP/LRS missions for the same unit.
He was engaged in a search and destroy mission and had changed his offensive posture when he was attacked by an LTTE cadre dressed like a civilian.