Read about the new Australian Grand Prix champion, the Indian Wells 2016 winner, the first rail link treaty between Nepal and China and more …..
1) Nico Rosberg wins dramatic Australian Grand Prix:
- Nico Rosberg won a dramatic Australian Grand Prix for Mercedes on Sunday after Ferrari’s challenge was squandered by a bungled tyre strategy and Fernando Alonso walked away from a spectacular crash that reduced his McLaren to a mangled wreck.
- Rosberg’s 14th career victory was also his fourth in succession after the German won the final three races of last season.
- His teammate and pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton finished second, some eight seconds behind after recovering from a chaotic start that pushed the defending world champion back to sixth at the first turn.
- Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel led for much of the race but his advantage was eroded by poor tyre management, especially after Alonso’s crash brought out a red flag, as his compatriot Rosberg coasted home.
- Rosberg took advantage when the race was stopped following Alonso’s high-speed barrel-roll to switch strategy and overhaul early leader Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
- New team Haas celebrated points on debut, with Frenchman Romain Grosjean finishing sixth behind Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Williams driver Felipe Massa.
2) Djokovic crushes Raonic, wins fifth Indian Wells title:
- World number one Novak Djokovic produced sublime form to clinch an unprecedented fifth men’s title at Indian Wells with a 6-2 6-0 demolition of big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic in the men’s final on Sunday.
- The 28-year-old Serb broke his out-of-sorts opponent twice in the first set and three times in the second to wrap up victory in one hour 17 minutes on a blazing hot afternoon at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California.
- Australian Open champion Djokovic improved his stellar record for the year to 22-1 as he tied Rafa Nadal with a record-equalling 27th ATP Masters 1000 crown.
- Djokovic, who beat long-time rival Nadal 7-6(5) 6-2 in the semi-finals, also maintained his perfect record against Raonic as he won their sixth career meeting.
- The women’s final was equally one sided with Victoria Azarenka defeating error-prone Serena Williams 6-4, 6-4.
- It was Azarenka’s first victory over the top-ranked Williams since the Cincinnati final in August 2013. She will move up seven spots to No. 8 in the WTA Tour rankings Monday.
- Azarenka hit just 10 winners and had 20 unforced errors in the two-hour match. She connected on 60 per cent of her first serves and broke Williams’ serve three times. Williams converted just 1 of 12 break chances.
- Williams was bidding to become the first woman to win three titles at Indian Wells, where she won in 1999 and 2001. After getting booed heavily while beating Kim Clijsters for her last title here, she vowed never to return. That year the Williams sisters were supposed to meet in a semifinal, but Venus withdrew shortly before the match with a knee injury. The crowd reacted harshly and their father Richard said he heard racial taunts.
3) IAF to evaluate key failures during ‘Iron Fist’ at Pokhran:
- The air force will “critically evaluate” this week why it missed two targets during a much-touted combat exercise at Rajasthan’s Pokhran test facility on March 18, said a top IAF officer familiar with the drills.
- A US-made Paveway laser-guided bomb (LGB) dropped by a Mirage 2000 warplane at night failed to hit a predetermined, stationary target at the Chandan firing range — the IAF’s biggest air-to-ground range where fighter pilots train on delivering heavy weapons.
- The detailed analysis of Iron Fist, an exercise held every three years to deter a conflict, will look into why the accuracy of the air-to-ground precision weapon was degraded, said another officer.
- Weapons not striking targets under controlled conditions are a cause of concern, but an IAF source said the possibility of 10% of weapons not functioning was built into the tactical planning process.
- The 181 aircraft, including 103 fighter planes, other weapons systems and air warriors involved in Iron Fist will de-induct by March 22 after which the IAF will analyse the hits and misses in detail.
- On the positive side, the IAF said the light combat aircraft scored hits with its LGB and R-73E air-to-air-missile in the first public display of the indigenous fighter’s capabilities during the exercise. Attacking in a dive mode, two Mirage 2000s destroyed another radar site – designated as target 5 — with five 250-kg Spanish bombs.
4) Nepal signs transit treaty with China; to have first rail link:
- China today agreed to Nepal Prime Minister K P Oli’s request to build a strategic railway link between the two countries through Tibet to reduce land-locked Nepal’s total dependence on India, as the two sides cemented their ties by signing 10 agreements including a landmark transit trade deal.
- Oli, who arrived here yesterday on his maiden seven-day visit to China, was given a red carpet welcome by Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People. He also called on Chinese President Xi Jinping.
- Oli’s high-profile visit comes as Nepal seeks to open more supply routes from China amid fears of a repeat of recent nearly six-month long crippling blockade when the Indian- origin Madhesis blocked Nepal’s trade-routes with India, throwing normal life out of gear.
- During the talks, the two Prime Ministers made a comprehensive review of bilateral relations and expressed satisfaction over steadily growing relations between the two countries.
- Trade diversification, cross border connectivity and infrastructure development, cooperation on energy, tourism, finance, education and culture were among the matters that figured prominently during the talks, it said.
- During his talks with Li, Oli mooted extension of China’s strategic railway link with Tibet further to Nepal.
- The other agreements included a treaty on economic and technical cooperation to build a Regional International Airport Project at Pokhara, Nepal’s famous tourist site.
5) New mechanism to protect from cancer identified
- For the first time, researchers have identified a new innate immunity pathway that protects mammals from viral oncogenesis, the process by which viruses cause normal cells to become cancerous.
- The discovery is significant – and could eventually contribute to development of new cancer therapies, researchers said.
- The study found that the autophagy-related protein beclin 2 – also discovered by researchers – can help break down the key oncogenic viral protein associated with Kaposi’s sarcoma, a type of cancer most commonly found in people with HIV infection or transplant-related suppression of their immune systems.
- Autophagy is a cellular “housekeeping” process in which the body’s cells destroy damaged proteins and organelles.
- Researchers studied the genes involved in this cellular recycling process and their roles in cancer, ageing, infections, and neurodegenerative diseases.
- The findings showed that in addition to mediating autophagy, beclin 2 is also involved in a novel immune pathway that suppresses viral infection and virus-caused cancer.
- Kaposi’s sarcoma can affect the skin and internal organs. It is most often seen in people infected with HIV, but also has an incidence of about 1 in 200 transplant patients, researchers said.