Despite acknowledging the fact that there is little evidence to link the price rise to futures trading, Avijit Sen panel has taken the safe route on the politically sensitive issue, and maintanied that freeze on futures trading of rice, wheat, urad and tur should continue.

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Pakistan on Monday testfired the Shaheen-II long-range ballistic missile for the second time in three days. The missile can carry nuclear and conventional warheads and hit targets deep inside India. The Shaheen-II or Hatf-VI surface-tosurface nuclear capable missile, which has a range of 2,000 km, was launched for the first time by the army's Strategic Forces Command to mark the culmination of a field training exercise.

The sky is nearly cloudless, the breeze is bracing, and the tea plantation where Yao Kunxue works resembles a giant green amphitheater absorbing the last rays of a setting sun. The tea itself ? No thanks, he says. He grows it

Deniliquin (Australia): Lindsay Renwick, the mayor of this dusty southern Australian town, remembers the constant whir of the rice mill. "It was our little heartbeat out there, tickety-tick-tickety,' he said, imitating the giant fans that dried the rice, "and now it has stopped.' The Deniliquin mill, the largest rice mill in the Southern Hemisphere, once processed enough grain to meet the needs of 20 million people around the world. But six long years of drought have taken a toll, reducing Australia's rice crop by 98% and leading to the mothballing of the mill last December.

Playa Punta Norte: A six-ton orca, or killer whale, torpedoes toward the beach, its dorsal fin cutting the Patagonian sea. It launches itself onto the sand in an explosion of water and foam. Before the waters die down, the orca is shaking its immense head from side to side with a sea lion pup clamped between his jaws. Then the orca wriggles into position to catch a wave to carry it back out to sea. This is a rare occurrence, in which a whale seems to defy its instincts by coming onto land, risking death if it becomes stranded on the inhospitable beach.

Researchers from Cleveland metroparks zoo have discovered a rare giant turtle in northern Vietnam. Swinhoe's soft-shell turtle was previously thought to be extinct in the wild. Three other turtles of the species are in captivity, said experts from the zoo. "This is one of those mythical species that people always talked about but no one ever saw,' said Geoff Hall, zoo general curator.

Early diagnosis of a heart attack may now be possible using only a few drops of saliva and a new nano-bio-chip designed by John McDevitt, of the University of Texas. The nano-bio-chip assay, the size of a credit card, could be used to analyse a patient's saliva on board an ambulance, at the dentist's office or at a chemist's shop, helping save lives and prevent damage from cardiac disease.

Scientists with the European Space Agency have shown that plants and flowers can be grown on the Moon by demonstrating that marigolds can grow in crushed rock very much like the lunar surface, with no need for plant food. According to a report by BBC News, the new research was presented at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) meeting in Vienna. The new step, taken in the experiment, is to remove the need for bringing nutrients and soil from Earth.

Astronauts may be at increased risk of premature aging due to exposure to radiation found in space, suggests a study that could have major implications for long-duration space travel. The findings from the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Centre at Georgetown University Medical Centre in US shows that astronauts may be at increased risk of colon cancer due to exposure to the high linear energy transfer (LET) radiation found in space. The study shows that the high-energy radiation found in space may also lead to premature aging and prolonged oxidative stress in cells.

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