Today on New Scientist: 28 December 2012







Best videos of 2012: Rare view of Challenger tragedy

Watch a rare amateur video of the Challenger explosion, our most-viewed video of the year



Strong jet stream super-charged US Christmas storms

Record snowfall and dozens of tornadoes snarled holiday travel as a powerful winter storm plowed across much of the US, while rainstorms battered the UK



2012 review: The year in life science

The year's biggest stories in life science, including James Cameron's descent into the Mariana trench and efforts to break into Antarctica's buried lakes



Superstorm lessons for adapting to climate change

As the post-Sandy rebuild gets under way, coastal cities around the world will be watching



Best videos of 2012: First MRI movie of childbirth

Watch a unique view of a baby's birth, at number 2 in our countdown of the year's top science videos



Fleadom or death: Reviving the glorious flea circus

The parasite-based sideshows were almost done for by the domestic vacuum cleaner - but they are bouncing back, finds Graham Lawton



Approval for gene-modified salmon spawns controversy

Apparently months late, US regulators have declared genetically engineered fish safe to farm and eat, but final approval could be some way off



Best videos of 2012: New aircraft flies inside out

Watch a novel flying machine use a unique mechanism to propel itself, at number 3 in our countdown of the top videos of the year



2012 review: The year in technology

The year's biggest stories in technology, including Kinect devices that may spot signs of autism and controlling a robot by the power of thought



Superdoodles: The science of scribbling

Far from being a distraction, doodling has an important purpose - and you can harness it



2013 Smart Guide: Wave goodbye to the mouse

The Leap, a 3D motion control device set to launch next year, will let you control your computer with touch-free hand and finger movements





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Philippines seeks unity after birth control law signed






MANILA: President Benigno Aquino's government called for reconciliation on Saturday after a "divisive" birth control act was signed into law despite bitter opposition from the influential Catholic church.

Making sex education and contraceptives more widely available to the poor, the landmark legislation takes effect in mid-January, Aquino's spokeswoman Abigail Valte said.

"The passage into law of the Responsible Parenthood Act closes a highly divisive chapter of our history -- a chapter borne of the convictions of those who argued for, or against this Act," Valte said in a statement.

"At the same time, it opens the possibility of cooperation and reconciliation... engagement and dialogue characterised not by animosity, but by our collective desire to better the welfare of the Filipino people."

Both chambers of parliament passed the final version of the act on December 19 after an acrimonious debate pitting non-government organisations and women's groups against the country's dominant church and its lay organisations.

Aquino, who was once threatened with excommunication by church leaders for pushing the bill, signed the act two days later and said it gives couples the tools and information needed to plan the size of their families.

Proponents say it will help moderate the nation's rapid population growth, reduce poverty and bring down its high maternal mortality rate.

Church leaders in the Catholic-majority nation have vowed that the fight is not over.

Groups allied with the church are expected to challenge the law in the Supreme Court, while the church itself plans to ask its flock to oust the supporters of the birth control law in next year's general election.

The Philippines has one of Asia's highest birth rates, with the United Nations estimating that half of the country's 3.4 million pregnancies each year are unplanned.

The government's Commission on Women said that maternal mortality also remains high, with 162 deaths for every 100,000 live births, while 10 women die every day from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications.

- AFP/ck



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Chicago marks 500 homicides

Chicago police investigate the scene of a fatal shooting in the 1000 block of North Lavergne on Chicago's West Side. (Chris Sweda/ Chicago Tribune)









On the surface, Nathaniel Jackson fit the profile of the vast majority of Chicago's homicide victims in 2012 — he had a lengthy arrest record and alleged gang ties.


But when Jackson was shot and killed Thursday night, just months after getting out of prison, he also earned the unfortunate distinction of being the 500th homicide victim in Chicago this year, a grim milestone the city reached for the first time in four years.


While Chicago had almost twice as many slayings 20 years ago as it did this year, the number 500 is a largely symbolic threshold, a reminder of the year's escalated violence and a numerical bar the city had not reached since 513 were killed in 2008.








By mid-November the city already had tallied the most homicides in four years. As of Friday, Chicago had an estimated 17 percent increase in homicides over 2011, and an 11 percent increase in shootings, according to police.


The city's rising homicide tally has been a thorny issue for Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police Superintendent Garry McCarthy for much of the year.


"It was a milestone on those days when we had zero murders and zero shootings. Those are milestones. This is a negative one, something that we never wanted," McCarthy told the Tribune Thursday afternoon, hours before Jackson, 40, was killed. "But in perspective, there's no such thing as an acceptable murder number. Even if we cut it down to 300 next year, it's still … unacceptable."


The department went back and forth Friday over whether Jackson was the 500th homicide victim so far this year, at first confirming it and then denying it, saying a homicide last week had been reclassified as a death investigation, therefore making Jackson the 499th homicide. But by late afternoon, the department once again confirmed there had been 500 homicides.


"The city has seen its 500th homicide for 2012, a tragic number that is reflective of the gang violence and proliferation of illegal guns that have plagued some of our neighborhoods," McCarthy said in a statement. "Every homicide in Chicago is unacceptable to me and the hardworking men and women of the Chicago Police Department, who, this year, achieved a record drop in overall crime throughout our city."


Chicago's homicide rate also remains a major issue for Emanuel heading into the new year. Beyond the very real human cost, there's a perception problem for the city.


The homicide rate in Chicago far exceeds the rates in New York City and Los Angeles. While the homicide rate in LA has remained relatively flat and New York's has gone down — homicides there have fallen by more than 20 percent this year — Emanuel, known for carefully trying to craft the narrative of his tenure as mayor, has seen Chicago's violence attract national attention.


The mayor was on vacation Friday with his family but issued a statement to the Tribune:


"Chicago has reached an unfortunate and tragic milestone, which not only marks a needless loss of life but serves as a reminder of the damage that illegal guns and conflicts between gangs cause in our neighborhoods," Emanuel said, adding that his efforts to lengthen the public school day and provide before- and after-school programs for youths were part of the eventual solution.


Emanuel last week also noted that overall crime in Chicago was down about 8.5 percent for the year.


This previous winter was particularly violent. In the first three months of 2012, when the city experienced unseasonable warmth, homicides ran about 60 percent ahead of the 2011 rate. As the year went on, the increase in killings leveled out but still remained higher than in previous years.


In his statement Friday, McCarthy lauded the overall drop in crime in the city and said department efforts resulted in less violence in the latter part of 2012.


"CPD has put the right people in the right places to accomplish our long-term goal of reducing crime and ensuring that our streets and our neighborhoods belong to the residents of this city," McCarthy said in his statement. "Since the gang violence reduction strategy was adopted, we have seen drastic reductions in shootings and homicides that spiked early in the year."


Some within the department feel the disbanding of two specialized units that swooped into "hot spots" to reduce violent crime had a negative impact on this year's rate. After McCarthy was installed last year as the city's top cop, he eliminated those strike forces to move those officers to beat patrols, in the hope they would have more meaningful and positive interactions with the community. The department now uses cops who work all over the city to fulfill the same function as the strike forces, but these "area teams" comprise fewer officers.


McCarthy has blamed the proliferation of guns on Chicago's streets and the splintering of large street gangs into small factions as reasons for the homicide spike.


In October, the Tribune reported that 1 in 4 homicide victims this year were affiliated with the Gangster Disciples, the city's largest street gang, and one also riddled with internal conflict.


Jackson, who authorities described as being affiliated with the Four Corner Hustlers street gang, falls into a category shared by more than 80 percent of Chicago's 2012 homicide victims: those with criminal histories.





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How to Banish That New Year's Eve Hangover


For those of us who enjoy the occasional cocktail, the holiday season would be incomplete without certain treats of the liquid variety. Some look forward to the creamy charms of rum-laced eggnog; others anticipate cupfuls of high-octane punch or mugs of warm, spiced wine.

No matter what's in your glass, raising one as the year winds down is tradition. What could be more festive? The problem is, one drink leads to two, then the party gets going and a third is generously poured. Soon, the music fades and the morning arrives—and with it, the dreaded hangover. (Explore a human-body interactive.)

Whether it's a pounding headache, a queasy stomach, sweating, or just general misery, the damage has been done. So now it's time to remedy the situation. What's the quickest way to banish the pain? It depends who you ask.

Doctors typically recommend water for hydration and ibuprofen to reduce inflammation. Taking B vitamins is also good, according to anesthesiologist Jason Burke, because they help the body metabolize alcohol and produce energy.

Burke should know a thing or two about veisalgia, the medical term for hangover. At his Las Vegas clinic Hangover Heaven, Burke treats thousands of people suffering from the effects of drinking to excess with hydrating fluids and medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"No two hangovers are the same," he said, adding that the unfavorable condition costs society billions of dollars-mostly from lost productivity and people taking sick days from work.

Hot Peppers for Hangovers?

So what's the advice from the nonmedical community? Suggestions range from greasy breakfasts to vanilla milkshakes to spending time in a steamy sauna. A friend insists hot peppers are the only way to combat a hangover's wrath. Another swears by the palliative effects of a bloody mary. In fact, many people just have another drink, following the old "hair of the dog that bit you" strategy.

Whether such "cures" actually get rid of a hangover is debatable, but one thing's for sure: the sorry state is universal. The only people immune to hangovers are the ones who avoid alcohol altogether.

So for those who do indulge, even if it's just once in awhile, see our interactive featuring cures from around the world (also above). As New Year's Eve looms with its attendant excuse to imbibe, perhaps it would be wise to stock your refrigerator with one of these antidotes. Pickled herring, anyone?


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Epic Journey: Did Moses' Exodus Really Happen?













In the Bible, he is called Moses. In the Koran, he is the prophet Musa.


Religious scholars have long questioned whether of the story of a prophet leading God's chosen people in a great exodus out of Egypt and the freedom it brought them afterwards was real, but the similarities between a pharaoh's ancient hymn and a psalm of David might hold the link to his existence.


Tune in to Part 2 of Christiane Amanpour's ABC News special, "Back to the Beginning," which explores the history of the Bible from Genesis to Jesus, on Friday, Dec. 28 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.


Christian scripture says Moses was content to grow old with his family in the vast deserted wilderness of Midian, and 40 years passed until the Bible says God spoke to him through the Burning Bush and told him to lead his people, the Israelites, out of Egypt. According to tradition, that miraculous bush can still be seen today enclosed within the ancient walls of St. Catherine's Monastery, located not far from Moses' hometown.


But there was another figure in the ancient world who gave up everything to answer the call from what he believed was the one and only true God.


Archaeologists discovered the remains of the ancient city of Amarna in the 1800s. Egyptologist Rawya Ismail, who has been studying the ruins for years, believes, as other archaeologists do, that Pharaoh Akhenaten built the city as a tribute to Aten, the sun.






G.Sioen/De Agostini/Getty Images











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Abraham's Story: Foundation of Judaism, Islam and Christianity Watch Video





She said it was a bold and unusual step for the pharaoh to leave the luxurious trappings of palace life in Luxor for the inhospitable landscape of Amarna, but it might have been his only choice as the priests from the existing religious establishment gained power.


"The very powerful Amun-Ra priests that he couldn't stand against gained control of the whole country," Ismail said. "The idea was to find a place that had never been used by any other gods -- to be virgin is what he called it -- so he chose this place."


All over the walls inside the city's beautiful tombs are examples of Akhanaten's radical message of monotheism. There is the Hymn to the Aten, which translates, in part, to: "The earth comes into being by your hand, as you made it. When you dawn, they live. When you set, they die. You yourself are lifetime, one lives by you."


PHOTOS: Christiane Amanpour's Journey 'Back to the Beginning'


Some attribute the writing of the hymn to Akhanaten himself, but it bears a striking resemblance to a passage that can be found in the Hebrew Bible: Psalm 104.


"If you compare the hymns from A to Z, you'll find mirror images to it in many of the holy books," Ismail said. "And if you compare certain parts of it, you'll find it almost exactly -- a typical translation for some of the [psalms] of David."


Psalm 104, written a few hundred years later, references a Lord that ruled over Israel and a passage compares him to the sun.


"You hide your face, they are troubled," part of it reads. "You take away your breath, they die, And return to dust. You send forth your breath, they are created, And you renew the face of the earth."


Like the psalm, the Hymn to Aten extols the virtues of the one true God.


"A lot of people think that [the Hymn to Aten] was the source of the [psalms] of David," Ismail said. "Putting Egypt on the trade route, a lot of people traveled from Egypt and came back to Egypt, it wasn't like a country living in isolation."


Ismail believes it is possible that the message from the heretic pharaoh has some connection to the story of Moses and the Exodus, as outlined in the Hebrew Bible.




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2013 Smart Guide: Wave goodbye to the mouse



































Read more: "2013 Smart Guide: 10 ideas that will shape the year"












If the Leap is anything to go by, the days of the mouse are numbered. The 3D-gesture-sensing device lets you control your computer with a wave of your hand - and it could be yours early next year.












Developed by Silicon Valley startup Leap Motion, the Leap is the size of a smartphone and behaves like a smaller, super-accurate version of Microsoft's Kinect motion sensor. It is also significantly cheaper, at only $70. Connected to your PC or Mac's USB port, the Leap creates a 3D interaction space in front of your computer screen, in which the tiniest motions of your fingers, or gestures of your hands, can be sensed.












As a result, you can wave up with your hand to scroll up a web page, or point into a game with an index finger to move characters where you want them to go. Standard Windows or Mac applications can be controlled by making clicking, grabbing, scrolling and pinch-to-zoom gestures, the company says.












Leap Motion won't say how the software achieves its accuracy - they claim it is 200 times that of existing motion-sensing technologies, able to track movements to one-hundredth of a millimetre. We do know that it uses infrared LEDs and cameras, with light from the LEDs reflected from your hands back to the cameras.












Pointing and clicking has been a mainstay of our interactions with personal computers for nearly 30 years, and old habits die hard. But if the Leap is as good as the pre-release hype suggests, the mouse could soon be ousted, with little more than a wave goodbye.




















































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Yachting: Wild Oats XI wins Sydney to Hobart race in record time






HOBART, Australia: Supermaxi Wild Oats XI smashed its own record time by nearly 17 minutes in Australia's Sydney to Hobart ocean yacht race, taking line honours on Friday ahead of Ragamuffin-Loyal.

Thousands of onlookers cheered at Hobart's Constitution Dock as the favourite came home in one day, 18 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds for its sixth victory over the prestigious 628 nautical mile bluewater classic.

Wild Oats XI also won every year from 2005 to 2008 and in 2010.

"It was close, we only just made it but it's a great result for the whole team," skipper Mark Richards said after crossing the finish line.

"This boat is a great machine and we're very proud of it. Getting the record is a big thing and it's very satisfying."

Ragamuffin-Loyal, which beat Wild Oats by just three minutes last year and is skippered by 85-year-old Syd Fischer, finished four-and-a-half hours later with gear damage hampering a bid for back-to-back wins.

"A lot of things just went wrong," said Fischer. "But it's a good boat, well built, strong and it goes fast. We'll make modifications for next year."

Lahana was running third in a tight battle with Black Jack, ahead of Loki in fifth. Jazz leads the handicap standings, which takes into account the dimensions of each boat in the fleet, ahead of Calm and Secret Men's Business.

The previous record was one day, 18 hours, 40 minutes and 10 seconds, set in 2005, and Richards had his 100-foot yacht well ahead of that pace late Thursday as they powered down Tasmania's east coast.

But a northeasterly tailwind gave way to a weaker westerly that dramatically slowed progress.

Wild Oats' crew had all but given up on breaking the record after rounding Tasman Island in the middle of the night and it was touch and go as they sailed up Hobart's Derwent River.

But the unfurling of a bigger headsail ultimately made the difference to tack home surrounded by a flotilla of smaller vessels.

"It was a very tricky night, the breeze died on us. It was very testing and we had to make a lot of sail changes, but it's all part of the Sydney-Hobart," said Richards.

"The crew have been together a long time and when the going gets tough they just get tougher."

Wild Oats XI led the 76-vessel fleet from the starting gun in Sydney Harbour on Wednesday in a famously unforgiving race that takes crews across the notorious Bass Strait.

As well as dealing with the tough conditions, the boat hit an unknown object that damaged a daggerboard beneath the hull.

Catastrophic conditions claimed six lives and sank five yachts in 1998, and vessels are routinely unable to complete the race.

However, there have so far only been two retirements this year - Living Doll and Primitive Cool.

The 2013 event was marred by the controversial expulsion of supermaxi Wild Thing, the 2003 line honours winner, which was among the top three favourites.

Officials banned it just hours before the start, citing incomplete documentation of major modifications that extended the vessel to 100 feet. Skipper Grant Wharington continued to protest Friday.

He claimed the man who banned his yacht, race director Tim Cox, did not know enough about boat-building and had "egg on his face".

Cox rejected the criticism and told Wharington to "lay off the personal insults", according to Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

- AFP/de



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Fatal shooting appears to have pushed city's homicide toll to 500
































































The fatal shooting of a 40-year-old man Thursday night on the West Side appears to have pushed Chicago's 2012 homicide toll to 500, the first time the city has had that many killings in four years.

The slaying came hours after the Chicago Police Department said the city was one homicide away from the 500 mark for the year.

The victim was standing outside a convenience store around 9 p.m. at Augusta Boulevard and Lavergne Avenue in the city's Austin community when he was shot in the head, police said. He was pronounced dead at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County at 12:18 a.m., a spokesman for the Cook County medical examiner's office said.

At the shooting scene, a pool of blood stained the sidewalk outside Noah Foods. Police tapped apartment windows and knocked on doors looking for witnesses. A stray dog trotted through the crime scene before taking off in a sprint up Lavergne.

A few bullet casings, which police initially believed to be from a .45 caliber handgun, were found next to where the man was shot. Before officers left the scene, three people walked out of the store and pounded the metal gate shut.

The last time Chicago had 500 or more homicides was in 2008. As of Thursday night, homicides were up 17 percent over last year, and shootings had increased by 11 percent, according to police statistics.

Largely contributing to the spike was the unusual number of homicides that occurred during the early part of the year, in which the city experienced unseasonable warmth. In the first three months of the year, homicides ran about 60 percent ahead of the 2011 rate.

jgorner@tribune.com
pnickeas@tribune.com


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How to Live to a Ripe Old Age


Cento di questi giorni. May you have a hundred birthdays, the Italians say, and some of them do.

So do other people in various spots around the world—in Blue Zones, so named by National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner for the blue ink that outlines these special areas on maps developed over more than a decade. (National Geographic News is part of the National Geographic Society.)

In his second edition of his book The Blue Zones, Buettner writes about a newly identified Blue Zone: the Greek island of Ikaria (map). National Geographic magazine Editor at Large Cathy Newman interviewed him about the art of living long and well. (Watch Buettner talk about how to live to a hundred.)

Q. You've written about Blue Zones in Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California; Nicoa, Costa Rica and Okinawa, Japan. How did you find your way to Ikaria?

A. Michel Poulain, a demographer on the project, and I are always on the lookout for new Blue Zones. This one popped up in 2008. We got a lead from a Greek foundation looking for biological markers in aging people. The census data showed clusters of villages there with a striking proportion of people 85 or older. (Also see blog: "Secrets of the Happiest Places on Earth.")

In the course of your quest you've been introduced to remarkable individuals like 100-year-old Marge Jetton of Loma Linda, California, who starts the day with a mile-long [0.6-kilometer] walk, 6 to 8 miles [10 to 13 kilometers] on a stationary bike, and weight lifting. Who is the most memorable Blue Zoner you've met?

Without question it's Stamatis Moraitis, who lives in Ikaria. I believe he's 102. He's famous for partying. He makes 400 liters [100 gallons] of wine from his vineyards each year, which he drinks with his friends. His house is the social hot spot of the island. (See "Longevity Genes Found; Predict Chances of Reaching 100.")

He's also the Ikarian who emigrated to the United States, was diagnosed with lung cancer in his 60s, given less then a year to live, and who returned to Ikaria to die. Instead, he recovered.

Yes, he never went through chemotherapy or treatment. He just moved back to Ikaria.

Did anyone figure out how he survived?

Nope. He told me he returned to the U.S. ten years after he left to see if the American doctors could explain it. I asked him what happened. "My doctors were all dead," he said.

One of the common factors that seem to link all Blue Zone people you've spoken with is a life of hard work—and sometimes hardship. Your thoughts?

I think we live in a culture that relentlessly pursues comfort. Ease is related to disease. We shouldn't always be fleeing hardship. Hardship also brings people together. We should welcome it.

Sounds like another version of the fable of the grasshopper and the ant?

You rarely get satisfaction sitting in an easy chair. If you work in a garden on the other hand, and it yields beautiful tomatoes, that's a good feeling.

Can you talk about diet? Not all of us have access to goat milk, for example, which you say is typically part of an Ikarian breakfast.

There is nothing exotic about their diet, which is a version of a Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes vegetables, beans, fruit, olive oil, and moderate amounts of alcohol. (Read more about Buettner's work in Ikaria in National Geographic Adventure.)

All things in moderation?

Not all things. Socializing is something we should not do in moderation. The happiest Americans socialize six hours a day.

The people you hang out with help you hang on to life?

Yes, you have to pay attention to your friends. Health habits are contagious. Hanging out with unhappy people who drink and smoke is hazardous to your health.

So how has what you've learned influenced your own lifestyle?

One of the big things I've learned is that there's an advantage to regular low-intensity activity. My previous life was setting records on my bike. [Buettner holds three world records in distance cycling.] Now I use my bike to commute. I only eat meat once a week, and I always keep nuts in my office: Those who eat nuts live two to three more years than those who don't.

You also write about having a purpose in life.

Purpose is huge. I know exactly what my values are and what I love to do. That's worth additional years right there. I say no to a lot of stuff that would be easy money but deviates from my meaning of life.

The Japanese you met in Okinawa have a word for that?

Yes. Ikigai: "The reason for which I wake in the morning."

Do you have a non-longevity-enhancing guilty pleasure?

Tequila is my weakness.

And how long would you like to live?

I'd like to live to be 200.


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White House Says It Has No New Fiscal Cliff Plan













The White House said today it has no plans to offer new proposals to avoid the fiscal cliff which looms over the country's economy just five days from now, but will meet Friday with Congressional leaders in a last ditch effort to forge a deal.


Republicans and Democrats made no conciliatory gestures in public today, despite the urgency.


The White House said President Obama would meet Friday with Democratic and Republican leaders. But a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said the Republican "will continue to stress that the House has already passed legislation to avert the entire fiscal cliff and now the Senate must act."


The White House announced the meeting after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the budget situation "a mess" and urged the president to present a fresh proposal.


"I told the president I would be happy to look at whatever he proposes, but the truth is we're coming up against a hard deadline here, and as I said, this is a conversation we should have had months ago," McConnell said of his phone call with Obama Wednesday night.


McConnell added, "Republicans aren't about to write a blank check for anything Senate Democrats put forward just because we find ourselves at the edge of the cliff."


"That having been said, we'll see what the president has to propose," the Republican Senate leader said.


But a senior White House official told ABC News, "There is no White House bill."


That statement, however, may have wiggle room. Earlier today White House spokesman Jay Carney said, "I don't have any meetings to announce," but a short time later, Friday's meeting was made public.


It's unclear if the two sides are playing a game of political chicken or whether the administration is braced for the fiscal cliff.


Earlier today, fiscal cliff, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid lashed out at Republicans in a scathing speech that targeted House Republicans and particularly Boehner.






Charles Dharapak/AP Photo













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Reid, D-Nev., spoke on the floor of the Senate as the president returned to Washington early from an Hawaiian vacation in what appears to be a dwindling hope for a deal.


The House of Representatives will meet for legislative business Sunday evening, leaving the door cracked open ever so slightly to the possibility of a last-minute agreement.


But on a conference call with Republican House members Thursday afternoon, Boehner kept to the Republican hard line that if the Senate wants a deal it should amend bills already passed by the House.


That was the exact opposite of what Reid said in the morning, that Republicans should accept a bill passed by Democratic led Senate.


Related: What the average American should know about capital gains and the fiscal cliff.


"We are here in Washington working while the members of the House of Representatives are out watching movies and watching their kids play soccer and basketball and doing all kinds of things. They should be here," Reid said. "I can't imagine their consciences."


House Republicans have balked at a White House deal to raise taxes on couples earning more than $250,000 and even rejected Boehner's proposal that would limit the tax increases to people earning more than $1 million.


"It's obvious what's going on," Reid said while referring to Boehner. "He's waiting until Jan. 3 to get reelected to speaker because he has so many people over there that won't follow what he wants. John Boehner seems to care more about keeping his speakership than keeping the nation on a firm financial footing."


Related: Starbucks enters fiscal cliff fray.


Reid said the House is "being operated with a dictatorship of the speaker" and suggested today that the Republicans should agree to accept the original Senate bill pass in July. Reid's comments, however, made it clear he did not expect that to happen.


"It looks like" the nation will go over the fiscal cliff in just five days, he declared.


"It's not too late for the speaker to take up the Senate-passed bill, but that time is even winding down," Reid said. "So I say to the speaker, take the escape hatch that we've left you. Put the economic fate of the nation ahead of your own fate as Speaker of the House."


Boehner's spokesman Michael Steel reacted to Reid's tirade in an email, writing, "Senator Reid should talk less and legislate more. The House has already passed legislation to avoid the entire fiscal cliff. Senate Democrats have not."


Boehner has said it is now up to the Senate to come up with a deal.


Obama, who landed in Washington late this morning, made a round of calls over the last 24 hours to Reid, Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.


Related: Obama pushes fiscal cliff resolution.






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Three gods: The hardest logic puzzle ever


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Tokyo's Nikkei 225 hits 21-month high






TOKYO: Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei 225 index on Thursday closed at its highest level since the quake-tsunami disaster in March last year, a day after Japan's new conservative government took power.

The Nikkei added 0.91 percent, or 92.62 points, to 10,322.98 by the close, finishing above 10,254.43, its level on March 11, 2011 when a massive temblor hit Japan, sparking a tsunami and subsequent nuclear crisis.

The broader Topix index of all first-section shares was up 0.75 percent, or 6.38 points, at 854.09.

"Some say the market is now overbought, but the trend is your friend, and few are willing to risk going short at the moment," said an equity trading director at a foreign brokerage.

"Japan is now right in the middle of the radar for foreign portfolio managers."

In forex trade, the US dollar rose to its highest level in more than two years against the yen as Shinzo Abe was sworn in as prime minister.

Abe -- whose Liberal Democratic Party won a landslide election victory this month -- has repeatedly said he would pressure the Bank of Japan for more easing measures, comments that have helped bring down the value of the yen.

- AFP/al



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Space Pictures This Week: Green Lantern, Supersonic Star









































































































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Okla. Senator Could Prevent Gun Control Changes












If there's one person most likely to keep new gun-control measures from passing Congress swiftly, it's Sen. Tom Coburn.


Conservatives revere the Oklahoma Republican for his fiscal hawkishness and regular reports on government waste. But he's also a staunch gun-rights advocate, and he's shown a willingness to obstruct even popular legislation, something in the Senate that a single member can easily accomplish.


That mixture could make Coburn the biggest threat to quick passage of new gun-control laws in the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., shooting that has prompted even pro-gun NRA-member lawmakers like Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to endorse a new look at how access to the most powerful weapons can be limited.


Coburn's office did not respond to multiple requests to discuss the current push for gun legislation. But given his record, it's hard to imagine Coburn agreeing to a major, new proposal without some fuss.


The last time Congress considered a major gun law -- one with broad support -- Coburn held it up, proving that the details of gun control are sticky when a conservative senator raises unpopular objections, especially a senator who's joked that it's too bad he can't carry a gun on the Senate floor.


After the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, Congress heard similar pleadings for new gun limits, some of them similarly to those being heard now. When it came to light that Seung-Hui Cho, the mentally disturbed 23-year-old who opened fire on campus, passed a background check despite mental-health records indicating he was a suicide threat, a push began to include such records in determining whether a person should be able to buy a gun.




Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., a longtime gun-control advocate whose husband was killed in a mass shooting on the Long Island Rail Road in 1996, introduced a widely supported bill to do just that. The NRA backed her National Instant Check System Improvement Amendments Act of 2007.


But Coburn didn't. The senator blocked action on the bill, citing concerns over patient privacy, limited gun access for veterans, and the cost of updating the background-check system,


In blocking that bill, Coburn pointed to a government study noting that 140,000 veterans had been referred to the background-check registry since 1998 without their knowledge.


"I am certainly understanding of the fact that some veterans could be debilitated to the point that such cataloguing is necessary, but we should ensure this process does not entangle the vast majority of our combat veterans who simply seek to readjust to normal life at the conclusion of their tours. I am troubled by the prospect of veterans refusing necessary treatment and the benefits they are entitled to. As I'm sure you would agree we cannot allow any stigma to be associated with mental healthcare or treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury," Coburn wrote to acting Veterans Secretary Gordon Mansfield.


Coburn succeeded in changing the legislation, negotiating a set of tweaks that shaved $100 million over five years, made it easier for prohibited gun owners to restore their gun rights by petitioning the government, and notifying veterans that if they abdicated control of their finances they would be added to the gun database. The bill passed and President Bush signed it in January 2008.






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New Scientist 2012 holiday quiz

















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THIS was the year we held our breath in almost unbearable anticipation while we waited to see whether physicists at the Large Hadron Collider would finally get a clear view of the Higgs boson, so tantalisingly hinted at last December. Going a bit blue, we held on through March when one of the LHC's detectors seemed to lose sight of the thing, before exhaling in a puff of almost-resolution in July, when researchers announced that the data added up to a fairly confident pretty-much-actual-discovery of the particle.












Early indications were that it might be a weird and wonderful variety of the Higgs, prompting a collective gasp of excitement. That was followed by a synchronised sigh of mild disappointment when later data implied that it was probably the most boring possible version after all, and not a strange entity pointing the way to new dimensions and the true nature of dark matter. Prepare yourself for another puff or two as the big story moves on next year.













This respirational rollercoaster might be running a bit too slowly to supply enough oxygen to the brain of a New Scientist reader, so we have taken care to provide more frequent oohs and aahs using less momentous revelations. See how many of the following unfundamental discoveries you can distinguish from the truth-free mimics that crowd parasitically around them.












1. Which of these anatomical incongruities of the animal kingdom did we describe on 14 July?












  • a) A fish, found in a canal in Vietnam, that wears its genitals under its mouth
  • b) A frog, found in a puddle in Peru, that has no spleen
  • c) A lizard, found in a cave in Indonesia, that has four left feet
  • d) A cat, found in a tree in northern England, that has eight extra teeth

2. "A sprout by any other name would taste as foul." So wrote William Shakespeare in his diary on 25 December 1598, setting off the centuries of slightly unjust ridicule experienced by this routinely over-cooked vegetable. But which forbiddingly named veg did we report on 7 July as having more health-giving power than the sprout, its active ingredient being trialled as a treatment for prostate cancer?












  • a) Poison celery
  • b) Murder beans
  • c) Inconvenience potatoes
  • d) Death carrots

3. Scientists often like to say they are opening a new window on things. Usually that is a metaphor, but on 10 November we reported on a more literal innovation in the fenestral realm. It was:












  • a) A perspex peephole set in the nest of the fearsome Japanese giant hornet, to reveal its domestic habits
  • b) A glass porthole implanted in the abdomen of a mouse, to reveal the process of tumour metastasis
  • c) A crystal portal in the inner vessel of an experimental thorium reactor, to reveal its nuclear fires to the naked eye
  • d) A small window high on the wall of a basement office in the Princeton physics department, to reveal a small patch of sky to postgraduate students who have not been outside for seven years

4. On 10 March we described a new material for violin strings, said to produce a brilliant and complex sound richer than that of catgut. What makes up these super strings?












  • a) Mousegut
  • b) Spider silk
  • c) Braided carbon nanotubes
  • d) An alloy of yttrium and ytterbium

5. While the peril of climate change looms inexorably larger, in this festive-for-some season we might take a minute to look on the bright side. On 17 March we reported on one benefit of global warming, which might make life better for some people for a while. It was:












  • a) Receding Arctic sea ice will make it easier to lay undersea cables to boost internet speeds
  • b) Increasing temperatures mean that Greenlanders can soon start making their own wine
  • c) Rising sea levels could allow a string of new beach resorts to open in the impoverished country of Chad
  • d) More acidic seawater will add a pleasant tang to the salt water taffy sweets made in Atlantic City

6. In Alaska's Glacier Bay national park, the brown bear in the photo (above, right) is doing something never before witnessed among bearkind, as we revealed on 10 March. Is it:












  • a) Making a phonecall?
  • b) Gnawing at a piece of whalebone to dislodge a rotten tooth?
  • c) Scratching itself with a barnacle-covered stone tool?
  • d) Cracking oysters on its jaw?

7. Men have much in common with fruit flies, as we revealed on 24 March. When the sexual advances of a male fruit fly are rejected, he may respond by:












  • a) Whining
  • b) Hitting the booze
  • c) Jumping off a tall building
  • d) Hovering around the choosy female long after all hope is lost

8. While great Higgsian things were happening at the LHC, scientists puzzled over a newly urgent question: what should we call the boson? Peter Higgs wasn't the only physicist to predict its existence, and some have suggested that the particle's name should also include those other theorists or perhaps reflect some other aspect of the particle. Which of the following is a real suggestion that we reported on 24 March?

























Continue reading page

|1

|2



























If you would like to reuse any content from New Scientist, either in print or online, please contact the syndication department first for permission. New Scientist does not own rights to photos, but there are a variety of licensing options available for use of articles and graphics we own the copyright to.




































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All 27 killed in Kazakh military plane crash






ALMATY, Kazakhstan: All 27 people on board a Kazakh military jet that crashed while carrying the Central Asian state's top border guard officials have died, the state security service said Wednesday.

"All 27 occupants of the aircraft, including seven crew members, have perished," the National Security Service (KNB) said in a statement.

The victims included the acting head of the Kazakh federal border service Turganbek Stambekov and his wife, the statement said.

The 22-year-old plane crashed late Tuesday about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Shymkent airport where it had been due to land after a flight from the capital Astana.

Kazakhstan's KTK television said the jet fell from a height of 800 metres (2,600 feet). Witnesses also reported hearing a loud explosion at the time of the crash.

Footage of the crash site aired on Kazakh state television on Wednesday showed only fragments of the An-72 military transport plane remaining on the ground.

But the KNB security service stressed that the plane had recently undergone all the necessary checks and repairs.

"In 2012, it underwent restoration work at the Antonov repair plant in Ukraine," its statement said.

Khabar state television also cited local residents as saying that a heavy winter storm had descended on the region at the time of the accident.

It said the plane caught fire after the crash.

Kazakh official sealed off the site of the disaster on Wednesday as they launched an investigation into one of the most serious air accidents in the country's post-Soviet history.

The KNB statement said the senior security team, which also included the heads of the regional border guard services, had been flying to an end-of-year security meeting in Shymkent.

The border guard service of Kazakhstan -- a vast resource-rich nation nestled between China and Russia -- experienced a number of setbacks during the past year.

Its acting head Stambekov was appointed to his post in June after his predecessor was fired following a May incident in which 14 border guards were shot dead in a remote outpost in the south of the country.

The sole border guard to survive the shooting confessed during a subsequent trial that he killed his colleagues, but retracted his confession after being handed a life sentence, saying unidentified people in civilian clothes were responsible.

Aviation disasters remain a scourge across the former Soviet Union due to ageing hardware that often has not been replaced since the fall of the Soviet regime, as well as human error.

In November, eight people were killed in Kazakhstan when a Russian-made Mi-8 helicopter crashed while on a pipeline surveillance mission.

- AFP/ck



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1 dead, 3 wounded in Christmas shootings across city









An 18-year-old man was shot and killed and three other people were wounded, two of them seriously, across the city Tuesday afternoon.


The man died after someone shot him in the 2000 block of West 69th Street, just west of Damen Avenue, in the West Englewood neighborhood. He was shot after 11:30 p.m. but additional details about that shooting weren't immediately available.  


A woman is in critical condition after getting shot in the neck Tuesday night, according to police, one of at least three people shot since 2 p.m. Christmas day.





The 22-year-old was shot inside an apartment on the 1900 block of South Harding Street in the Lawndale neighborhood about 9:40 p.m., police said. She was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital.


The woman was shot by her boyfriend during a fight inside the apartment, police said.


About 7 p.m., an 11-year-old boy was grazed in the arm in the 6200 block of South Michigan Avenue and taken to Comer Children's Hospital, according to police. He was walking in a group when he heard shots and felt pain.


Another man was left in serious condition after someone shot him in the back in the Hermosa neighborhood about 2 p.m. That happened in the 4300 block of West Armitage Avenue on the Northwest Side.


No one is in custody for the shootings and Area North and Area Central detectives are investigating.


pnickeas@tribune.com
Twitter: @peternickeas





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Photos: Humboldt Squid Have a Bad Day at the Beach

Photograph by Chris Elmenhurst, Surf the Spot Photography

“Strandings have been taking place with increased frequency along the west coast over the past ten years,” noted NOAA’s Field, “as this population of squid seems to be expanding its range—likely a consequence of climate change—and can be very abundant at times.” (Learn about other jumbo squid strandings.)

Humboldt squid are typically found in warmer waters farther south in theGulf of California (map) and off the coast ofPeru. “[But] we find them up north here during warmer water time periods,” said ocean sciences researcherKenneth Bruland with the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC).

Coastal upwelling—when winds blowing south drive ocean circulation to bring cold, nutrient-rich waters up from the deep—ceases during the fall and winter and warmer water is found closer to shore. Bruland noted that climate change, and the resulting areas of low oxygen, “could be a major factor” in drawing jumbo squid north.

Published December 24, 2012

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Winter Storms Spawn Tornadoes Across South













A nasty Christmastime storm system spawned blizzard conditions in some states and at least 15 reported tornadoes in the South, damaging homes, taking out power lines and dangerously snarling holiday travel.


Severe weather swept across the United States during the Christmas holiday, bringing tornadoes and intense thunderstorms to the Gulf Coast, while dumping heavy snow and freezing rain on the Southern Plains.


At least 15 tornadoes were reported today from Texas to Alabama, putting this storm system potentially on track to be one of the largest Christmas day tornado outbreaks on record.


One large tornado was reported in Mobile, Ala., where there are about 19,000 customers without power and 23,429 statewide, according to Alabama Power. Kerry Burns, a Mobile resident originally from Boston, said the storm "sounded like a freight train."


Some buildings in the area, including some churches and a local high school, were reportedly damaged. Ray Uballe, another Mobile resident, said his dad was shaken up.


"He was in his apartment," Uballe said. "He said it sounded like an airplane and then the door flung open and then there was just debris flying."


Douglas Mark Nix, president of the Infirmary Health System, said one of their Mobile hospitals lost power and sustained damage. There were no early reports of injuries to staff or patients.


"We are operating now on generator power," he said. "We do not have substantial damage but we do have a number of windows out and we have some ceiling tiles down, throughout the facility at the main hospital.


"We can run for at least two weeks but I saw power crews out all over the city so I fully expect power to be restored within the next day or so," Nix added.






Melinda Martinez/The Daily Town Talk/AP Photo















Winter Weather Causes Holiday Travel Problems Watch Video





At least eight states were issued blizzard warnings today, as the storms made highways dangerously slick heading into one of the busiest travel days of the year.


Oklahoma got about 7 inches of snow all over the state making for treacherous road conditions. ABC News affiliate KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City said the weather was being blamed for a 21-vehicle wreck on Interstate 40, but no one was seriously injured.


Ice accumulation in Arkansas bent trees and power lines, leaving at least 50,000 customers across the state without power. About 10 inches of snow fell on Fayetteville, Ark.


The storms, which first wreaked havoc on the West Coast before moving east, are being blamed for at least one death in Texas.


Investigators in the Houston area told ABC state KTRK-TV in Houston that a young man was trying to move a downed tree that was blocking the roadway when another one snapped and fell on top of him. He was later pronounced dead at a hopsital.


The last time a number of tornadoes hit the Gulf Coast area around Christmas Day was in 2009, when 22 tornadoes struck on Christmas Eve morning, National Weather Service spokesman Chris Vaccaro told ABC News over email.


The deadliest Christmastime tornado outbreak on record was Dec. 24 to 26, 1982, when 29 tornadoes in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi killed three people and injured 32.


The last killer tornado around Christmas, Vaccaro said, was a Christmas Eve EF4 in Tennessee in 1988, which killed one person and injured seven. EF4 tornadoes can produce winds up to 200 mph.


No official word yet on the strength of the string of tornadoes reported today.


While some were preparing for a Christmas feast, others were hunkered down.


More than 180 flights nationwide were canceled by midday, according to the flight tracker FlightAware.com. More than half were canceled by American Airlines and its regional affiliate, American Eagle.


The storm system is expected to continue east into Georgia and the Carolinas Wednesday and could potentially spawn more tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service.


ABC News' Matt Gutman, Max Golembo and ABC News Radio contributed to this report.



Read More..

New Scientist 2012 holiday quiz

















Continue reading page

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THIS was the year we held our breath in almost unbearable anticipation while we waited to see whether physicists at the Large Hadron Collider would finally get a clear view of the Higgs boson, so tantalisingly hinted at last December. Going a bit blue, we held on through March when one of the LHC's detectors seemed to lose sight of the thing, before exhaling in a puff of almost-resolution in July, when researchers announced that the data added up to a fairly confident pretty-much-actual-discovery of the particle.












Early indications were that it might be a weird and wonderful variety of the Higgs, prompting a collective gasp of excitement. That was followed by a synchronised sigh of mild disappointment when later data implied that it was probably the most boring possible version after all, and not a strange entity pointing the way to new dimensions and the true nature of dark matter. Prepare yourself for another puff or two as the big story moves on next year.













This respirational rollercoaster might be running a bit too slowly to supply enough oxygen to the brain of a New Scientist reader, so we have taken care to provide more frequent oohs and aahs using less momentous revelations. See how many of the following unfundamental discoveries you can distinguish from the truth-free mimics that crowd parasitically around them.












1. Which of these anatomical incongruities of the animal kingdom did we describe on 14 July?












  • a) A fish, found in a canal in Vietnam, that wears its genitals under its mouth
  • b) A frog, found in a puddle in Peru, that has no spleen
  • c) A lizard, found in a cave in Indonesia, that has four left feet
  • d) A cat, found in a tree in northern England, that has eight extra teeth

2. "A sprout by any other name would taste as foul." So wrote William Shakespeare in his diary on 25 December 1598, setting off the centuries of slightly unjust ridicule experienced by this routinely over-cooked vegetable. But which forbiddingly named veg did we report on 7 July as having more health-giving power than the sprout, its active ingredient being trialled as a treatment for prostate cancer?












  • a) Poison celery
  • b) Murder beans
  • c) Inconvenience potatoes
  • d) Death carrots

3. Scientists often like to say they are opening a new window on things. Usually that is a metaphor, but on 10 November we reported on a more literal innovation in the fenestral realm. It was:












  • a) A perspex peephole set in the nest of the fearsome Japanese giant hornet, to reveal its domestic habits
  • b) A glass porthole implanted in the abdomen of a mouse, to reveal the process of tumour metastasis
  • c) A crystal portal in the inner vessel of an experimental thorium reactor, to reveal its nuclear fires to the naked eye
  • d) A small window high on the wall of a basement office in the Princeton physics department, to reveal a small patch of sky to postgraduate students who have not been outside for seven years

4. On 10 March we described a new material for violin strings, said to produce a brilliant and complex sound richer than that of catgut. What makes up these super strings?












  • a) Mousegut
  • b) Spider silk
  • c) Braided carbon nanotubes
  • d) An alloy of yttrium and ytterbium

5. While the peril of climate change looms inexorably larger, in this festive-for-some season we might take a minute to look on the bright side. On 17 March we reported on one benefit of global warming, which might make life better for some people for a while. It was:












  • a) Receding Arctic sea ice will make it easier to lay undersea cables to boost internet speeds
  • b) Increasing temperatures mean that Greenlanders can soon start making their own wine
  • c) Rising sea levels could allow a string of new beach resorts to open in the impoverished country of Chad
  • d) More acidic seawater will add a pleasant tang to the salt water taffy sweets made in Atlantic City

6. In Alaska's Glacier Bay national park, the brown bear in the photo (above, right) is doing something never before witnessed among bearkind, as we revealed on 10 March. Is it:












  • a) Making a phonecall?
  • b) Gnawing at a piece of whalebone to dislodge a rotten tooth?
  • c) Scratching itself with a barnacle-covered stone tool?
  • d) Cracking oysters on its jaw?

7. Men have much in common with fruit flies, as we revealed on 24 March. When the sexual advances of a male fruit fly are rejected, he may respond by:












  • a) Whining
  • b) Hitting the booze
  • c) Jumping off a tall building
  • d) Hovering around the choosy female long after all hope is lost

8. While great Higgsian things were happening at the LHC, scientists puzzled over a newly urgent question: what should we call the boson? Peter Higgs wasn't the only physicist to predict its existence, and some have suggested that the particle's name should also include those other theorists or perhaps reflect some other aspect of the particle. Which of the following is a real suggestion that we reported on 24 March?

























Continue reading page

|1

|2



























If you would like to reuse any content from New Scientist, either in print or online, please contact the syndication department first for permission. New Scientist does not own rights to photos, but there are a variety of licensing options available for use of articles and graphics we own the copyright to.




































All comments should respect the New Scientist House Rules. If you think a particular comment breaks these rules then please use the "Report" link in that comment to report it to us.


If you are having a technical problem posting a comment, please contact technical support.








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Tennis: Don't expect miracles, warns returning Nadal






ABU DHABI: Rafael Nadal will make his long-awaited return to tennis after an agonising six-month knee injury battle in the Gulf this week, but has warned he is not expecting any title-winning pyrotechnics.

The 26-year-old Spaniard joins world number one Novak Djokovic and third-ranked Andy Murray in the six-player, three-day Mubadala Championships ahead of his return to the ATP circuit at Doha from December 31.

Nadal hasn't played since his shock second round exit to 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon in June, missing the Olympics, the US Open as well as the Davis Cup final against the Czech Republic which his country lost.

Although desperate to play again, Nadal is equally keen to play down expectations.

"Abu Dhabi is a test. My goal is not this week, not Doha or the Australian Open. My goal is to get fit, recover all my feelings. The only thing I care about is the knee," the seven-time French Open champion said.

"The idea is to go from there. I won't give much value to what will happen next month or in two months. My real goal is to start in perfect condition at Indian Wells and Miami and reach Monte-Carlo with good feelings, to face the clay season in good condition."

Nadal, an 11-time Grand Slam title winner, has been plagued by knee injuries throughout his career, a legacy of his all-action style.

But he shrugged off any fears that despite falling to number four in the world rankings, he is no longer a threat to Djokovic, Murray and world number two Roger Federer.

"I haven't forgotten how to play. I have played over 600 ATP matches and I have spent two years without playing. My feeling is good. I won Roland Garros and those emotions are still me," he said.

"I know I'm going to play in Abu Dhabi without the knee being great, but I feel better. The doctors say it is fine and that is great news for me. I still feel something, it's not perfect."

Nadal insisted he is not bitter over his recent experiences.

"I have accepted it as normal, as part of my career, part of my job. It's another challenge," he told marca.com.

"All I can do is try. But people have to realise that when you're so many months without competing you need time to progress."

The tournament in Abu Dhabi also features world number five David Ferrer of Spain, world number six Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic and Serb Janko Tipsarevic, the world number nine.

Nadal is expected to make his bow on Friday against either Olympic and US Open champion Murray or Tipsarevic.

- AFP/de



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6 shot within hours; 5 seriously hurt









Six people were hurt, five seriously, in shootings on the South and West sides late Monday.


Four of the injured were hurt in a single shooting on the Far South Side, and all four were taken to local hospitals in serious-to-critical condition, according to the Chicago Fire Department.

The shooting happened shortly before 7:30 p.m. in the 9400 block of South Justine Street, officials said.


A male shooter opened fire, striking four males as they walked down the sidewalk, Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Amina Greer said, citing preliminary information.

A 15-year-old boy and a 22-year-old man were taken to Advocate Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, a 17-year old man was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and a 19-year-old man was taken to John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, police said.





The 15-year-old was shot in the abdomen, and the 17-year-old was shot in the chest, police said.


The other two men were shot multiple times.


Police said the condition of each was stabilized at the hospital.


The shooting happened in the Brainerd neighborhood.


About 9:05 p.m., a 19-year-old man was shot in the head in the West Side's University Village neighborhood, police said. 


The man was taken to Stroger in serious condition from the 1200 block of West Washburne Avenue , Zala said.


Earlier Monday evening, a 37-year-old man was shot in the leg and back in the South Side's Gresham neighborhood, police said.


The shooting happened in the 700 block of West 81st Street about 5:50 p.m., Zala said. The man was taken to an area hospital, where his condition was stabilized.


Check back for more information.

chicagobreaking@tribune.com

Twitter: @ChicagoBreaking





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