Oriya novelist is Jnanpith award winner Leading Oriya novelist and academician Pratibha Ray, who got Padma Shri in 2007, has 20 novels, 24 short stories, 10 travelogues, two poetry collections and a number of essays to her credit, was named for the prestigious Jnanpith Award for the year 2011. At a meeting chaired by writer and Jnanpith award winner Sitakant Mahapatra, it was decided that Ray, 69, will be the winner of the 2011 Janapith Award. The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 7 lakh, a citation and a public felicitation. Ray will be the 47th author to be bestowed with the honour. Ravivarma Puraskaram for Yousuf Arackal Painter Yousuf Arackal has been chosen for this year’s Raja Ravivarma Puraskaram. The highest award for painters and sculptors instituted by the Kerala government is given annually. The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 1,50,000, a citation and a plaque. Yousuf Arackal was chosen for the award by a panel comprising Kerala Lalitha Kala Akademi chairman K.A. Francis, Kattoor Narayana Pillai, P.S. Karunakaran, O. Sundar and Sajan Peter, Principal Secretary, Culture. UK honour for cricketer Bobjee M.V. Narasimha Rao is the first Indian cricketer ever to be conferred with the prestigious Member of British Empire (MBE) medallion for his contribution to promoting the sport and also for community service through cricket during the testing times faced by the ethnic community in Northern Ireland. 58-year-old Bobjee, as he is popularly known in cricketing circles, who played for India in four Tests in 1979 under Sunil Gavaskar’s captaincy feels that he has every reason to look back at his stay in Ireland since 1989 with a sense of pride and immense satisfaction. Tiger population in India increases significantly Tiger population in India has significantly increased in the wild, thanks to protection of additional habitat of the big cat and stringent anti-poaching patrols, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) said. In southwestern India, where WCS research and conservation efforts began 25 years ago, a major rebound of tigers in the Western Ghats region of Karnataka has taken place. In Nagarahole and Bandipur National Parks, tigers have actually reached saturation levels, with surplus young tigers spilling out into forestreserves and dispersing using secured forest corridors through a landscape that holds over a million human beings. William Dalrymple, Salman Rushdie top authors' reading list in 2012 When leading authors like Aravind Adiga, Jeet Thayil and Amit Chaudhuri were not writing in 2012, they were reading a lot - be it works of Naresh Fernandes, William Dalrymple or Anjali Joseph. Mumbai-based journalist Fernandes' book "Taj Mahal Foxtrot: The Story of Bombay's Jazz Age" topped the reading list of both 2008 Booker Prize winner Adiga and this year's Booker-nominated writer Thayil. According to Adiga, Two other books he liked were Mustansir Dalvi's new translation of the poetry of Iqbal - "Taking Issue and Allah's Answer" and Gopalakrishna Pai's Kannada novel "Swapna Saraswata" Asked about his top reads during the year, Thayil's list went thus: "Taj Mahal Foxtrot", "Righteous Republic" by Ananya Vajpeyi, "Return of a King" by Dalrymple, "Dom Moraes: Selected Poems" (edited by Ranjit Hoskote), "The Wildings" by Nilanjana Roy, and "Drifting House" by Krys Lee. Chaudhuri named Joseph's "Another Country", Palash Mehrotra's "The Butterfly Generation" and Anand Thakore's "Elephant Bathing" as his top reads. Nirbhaya first private citizen treated abroad at state expense Nirbhaya has already set a record - she has become the first Indian private citizen to have been taken abroad for medical care at the expense of the state. Former prime ministers Chandrashekhar and V P Singh had been treated abroad at government expense. Besides, veteran leader Jay Prakash Narayan was airlifted for treatment within the country (from Patna to Mumbai) at government's expense. Narayan was private individual as he did not hold any public post at that time, but was a national political figure.

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Tulsi Gabbard fails to make it to US Senate America’s first Hindu Congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard, has failed in her bid for nomination to the US Senate from her native Hawaii in what turned out to be a fierce competition with as many as 14 aspirants throwing their hats into the ring. Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie has chosen his deputy, Lt. Governor Brian Schatz, for the lone seat that fell vacant with the recent death of long-time Senator Daniel K Inouye.

Scientists decode why universe is dominated by matter Scientists have solved the puzzle of the universe being dominated by matter rather than its close relative anti-matter. Physicists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison made a precise measurement of elusive, nearly massless particles, and obtained a crucial hint as to why the universe is dominated by matter. The particles, called anti-neutrinos, were detected at the underground Daya Bay experiment, located near a nuclear reactor in China. Anti-particles are almost identical twins of sub-atomic particles (electrons, protons and neutrons) that make up our world. When an electron encounters an anti-electron, for example, both are annihilated in a burst of energy. Failure to see these bursts in the universe tells physicists that anti-matter is vanishingly rare, and that matter rules the roost in today's universe.

Business & Economy:
Former SEBI whole-time member Sahoo appointed ICSI Secretary Former whole-time member of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) M.S. Sahoo has been appointed as Secretary of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI). Sahoo will assume charge as ICSI Secretary on January 1. Kerala most searched travel destination Kerala has edged out Taj Mahal, one of the Wonders of the World and a World Heritage Site, to become the number-one travel destination in Google’s search trends for India for 2012. The famed hill station of Munnar is also on the list of the top-10 Indian destinations on Google’s Zeitgeist site showing search trends from around the world. Taj Mahal at number two was followed by the Wagah Border, Vaishno Devi and Amarnath. Kashmir came in at number six. Munnar was at number nine followed by the Gateway of India. Google’s Zeitgeist, which covers all search categories, answers the question of what the world searched for in a particular year. Bristol-Myers sues DRL over patent row U.S.-based drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb Company has filed a patent infringement case against Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (DRL) over cancer drug Ixempra. Bristol-Myers in its petition filed in the United States District Court of New Jersey alleged that the Indian drug maker had infringed the patents of its drug on three counts. DRL notified Bristol-Myers that the Indian drug major had submitted Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) concerning its proposed drug product of Ixabepilone for injection, as required by the FDA rules. Plan panel for 8% growth in 12th plan Country’s apex planning body Planning Commission has projected 8 per cent economic growth for the 12th Plan (2012-17). It also cautioned that “policy logjam” could slow the expansion to even as low as 5-5.5 per cent during the next five year period.

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Proposed RBI norms may put a dent in NBFCs’ profitability The proposed guidelines by the Reserve Bank for the non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) are likely to impact the profitability of these entities by 15-20 basis points (0.15-0.20%) in medium-term, according to a research report by the rating agency ICRA. As per the proposed guidelines, the NBFCs have to recognise a loan as NPA if it is not serviced for 90 days from the present 180 days. It also proposes to implement 10 per cent capital adequacy ratio (CAR) norm for most of the NBFCs.

Mahavir wins his maiden standard pistol gold Mahavir Singh of Rajasthan won his maiden gold in standard pistol in the Sahara 56th National shooting championship. The Commonwealth Games gold medallist in centre fire pistol in 2002, Mahavir Singh had rounds of 193, 192 and 184 in the 150-second, 20-second and 10-second series respectively, as he pipped Pemba Tamang of the Army by two points for the gold. The Olympics silver medallist, Vijay Kumar, was fifth with 560, two points behind Harpreet Singh of Navy, while Omkar Singh (559) and Gurpreet Singh (558) followed.

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