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National:

Cabinet panel to fast-track mega projects Seeking to remove investment bottlenecks and promote growth, the central government has decided to set up a Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) to accord single-window approval to mega projects of over Rs 1,000 crore. CCI will be headed by the Prime Minister. There are over 100 projects, each involving investment of Rs 1,000 crore or more, which are held up. The high-powered panel for according speedy clearance to infrastructure projects was initially mooted by Finance Minister P Chidambaram. He had suggested that the body be called National Investment Board (NIB). The Cabinet, however, renamed the proposed body as Cabinet Committee on Investment. The panel will have ministers in charge of infrastructure sectors as its members. Nationwide number portability by February Mobile number portability is expected to be rolled out nationwide by February, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said. This will allow users to retain their numbers even if they move from one State to another. Currently, a user is allowed to switch to a different operator within his/her circle, while retaining his/her phone number. Non-communicable diseases cause maximum deaths Non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease killed two out of three people in 2010 a larger share than in 1990, when they were responsible for every second death in the world. Of the 52.8 million people who died worldwide in 2010, ischaemic heart disease and stroke accounted for 12.9 million, or 24 per cent. Two decades ago, in 1990, IHD killed 9.9 million people, which was around a fifth of all deaths that year. Eight million people died of cancer in 2010, which was almost 38 per cent more than the 5.8 million who died of the disease in 1990. Results of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study 2010, published in The Lancet, show heart disease and stroke continue to be the top two killers worldwide. This the first systematic and comprehensive assessment of global data on disease, injuries and risk since the first GBD study was commissioned by the World Bank in 1990. Amendments to judicial standards Bill approved The Union government has decided to retain a clause in a Bill on judicial standards which debars judges from making verbal comments against any constitutional authority in open courts. Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved amendments to the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill which had already been passed in the Lok Sabha and was pending in the Rajya Sabha. While deciding to retain the controversial clause, it made some changes to ensure it stands the test of Article 14 which deals with equality before law,. The amended clause debars judges from making unwarranted comments against conduct of any constitutional body and other persons. The clause is part of restatement of values for judges. Arvind Kejriwal top news maker: Yahoo! Arvind Kejriwal topped the list of newsmakers, while adult film star Sunny Leone was the most searched celebrity online in 2012 in India. According to Yahoo! India;s Year in Review 2012 (YIR), Arvind Kejriwal was the most searched newsmaker, knocking off mentor Anna Hazare from the position. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was next in line, followed by Malala Yousafzai (an education activist from Pakistan), Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Robert Vadra. "YIR combines search trends with the editorial selection of what users read, recommended and shared most on the Yahoo! network in India during 2012. It offers a glimpse into the social trends, compelling newsmakers and top stories of 2012," Yahoo! said. Others in the list included Poonam Pandey, 'Saifeena' (Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor) and Sherlyn Chopra. Wife can ask maintenance if hubby gets another wife at home A wife cannot be faulted for not living with husband when he brings another woman in the house and she can demand maintenance on this ground, the Bombay High Court has ruled in a divorce case. "Whether or not he (husband) may be entitled under the Personal Law to bring her (second wife), it has no bearing upon the hurt that the wife would feel upon having another wife in the house. In such cases emotional and mental violence is not only apparent, but proved. That itself would entitle any wife to have just cause in not living with her husband and demanding maintenance," ruled Justice Roshan Dalvi. Irfan got married to Nilofar on June 3, 2007. They separated on June 17, 2009. The application for maintenance was filed in November 2009. Irfan married again in December 2009. A criminal complaint under Section 498A IPC was filed by the wife on December 24, 2009. Page 1 of 4 14th December 2012

International:
IAEA delegation in Iran A high-level delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has arrived in Tehran to work out a plan to resolve the remaining concerns about Irans nuclear programme. The seven-member delegation that arrived is led by Herman Nackaerts, Deputy Director-General of the IAEA. The IAEA has said it is looking for a structured approach to resolve outstanding concerns regarding Irans nuclear programme. Mr. Nackaerts brought into focus Irans Parchin military site where, the IAEA fears, testing of explosives to trigger a nuclear device might have been carried out. Iran and the IAEA had held talks in Vienna on May 14-15, 2012. Analysts point out that the ongoing technical dialogue is crucial, for IAEAs inputs feed into and shape the political dialogue between Iran and the six global powers Germany and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. North Korea's Kim Jong Un wins Time's 'Person of the Year' reader poll North Korea's young leader Kim Jong Un has got the most votes in Time magazine's 'Person of the Year' online poll, with the publication's readers preferring him over pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Pakistani education advocate Malala Yousafzai. Time said the readers' 'Person of the Year' poll is "unscientific" and Kim getting the most votes does not mean he is Time's Person of the Year, a title that is bestowed on the choice made by the publication's editors. Time would announce the 2012 'Person of the Year' on December 19. U.K. to pay 2.2 m in rendition row The British government has agreed to pay 2.2 million to a former Libyan dissident and his family for its role in their illegal rendition to Libya as part of a joint U.K.-U.S.-Libyan operation eight years ago. Sami al-Saadi, who was a leading opponent of the Qadhafi regime, had sued the Foreign Office claiming that he and his family were kidnapped and forcibly flown to Libya where he was subsequently tortured. He said the MI5 played an instrumental role in their rendition. They were forced onto a plane in Hong Kong in 2004 and taken to Libya.

Technology:
Scientists discover mini Nile river on Saturn's moon Titan NASA scientists have spotted the longest extraterrestrial river system ever - on Saturn's moon Titan - and it appears to be a miniature version of Earth's Nile river. The river valley on Titan stretches more than 400 kilometres from its "headwaters" to a large sea, a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory said. In comparison, the Nile river on Earth stretches about 6,700 kilometres. Images by NASA's Cassini mission have revealed for the first time a river system this vast and in such high resolution anywhere other than Earth. Titan is known to have vast seas - the only other body in the solar system, apart from Earth, to possess a cycle of liquids on its surface. However, the thick Titan atmosphere is a frigid one, meaning liquid water couldn't possibly flow. The liquids on Titan are therefore composed of hydrocarbons such as methane and ethane.

Business & Economy:


KG basin row: House panel pulls up Petroleum Ministry The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Gas has expressed its disappointment over the Petroleum Ministrys failure to initiate penal action against Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) for its failure to achieve the production outlined under the Field Development Plan (FDP) for the KG D6 block.The Committee, headed by Aruna Kumar Vundavalli, said in its report tabled in Parliament. RIL has drilled only 22 out of the 31 wells that it had outlined in the investment plan for D1&D3, the largest of the 18 gas finds in the KG-D6 block. Of these, only 18 were put on production and even out of those put on production, six wells have shut due to high water and sand ingress. Drop in output from KG-D6 pulled down natural gas production from fields operated by private firms to 21.608 billion cubic metres in 2011-12 from 26.775 bcm in the previous year. Page 2 of 4 14th December 2012

Cabinet okays 30% cut in spectrum reserve price for 4 circles Airwaves in Delhi, Mumbai, Karnataka and Rajasthan found no takers in last auction as bidders found the prices too high. Subsequently, a ministerial panel recommended a 30 per cent cut in the base or reserve price for spectrum in 1,800 mega-Hertz (MHz) band in the four circles. The Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, accepted the EGoM recommendation and approved auction of airwaves in the four zones at 30 per cent lower price. Cabinet Committee clears new urea investment policy The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), has approved a urea investment policy, which is likely to incentives fertilizer companies to set up new plants and expand existing capacity. India imports over 30 per cent of its urea requirement and the policy aims at reducing that. But it is unlikely to have any impact on existing prices. The policy, which aims to attract fresh investment of about Rs.35,000 crore to increase domestic production by eight million tonnes, has been cleared as the previous policy failed to attract the much needed funds. Under the new policy, the government will give 12-20 per cent post-tax return on fresh capital infused by the manufacturers for setting up of new plants as well as for expansion and revamp of the existing ones. The country produces 22 million tonnes of urea, against the requirement of 32 million tonnes. PFC to raise Rs.4,590 cr through tax-free bonds Power Finance Corporation (PFC) has launched a tax-free bond issue to mobilise up to Rs.4,590 crore from investors. The funds would be utilised towards lending purposes, debt servicing and working capital requirements. The bond issue in the nature of secured, redeemable, non-convertible debentures with tax benefits under Section 10 (15) 9iv) (h) of Income-tax Act, 1961, will open on December 14 and close on December 21. PFC Chairman and Managing Director Satnam Singh said that the company had permission to raise upto Rs.5,000 crore out of which Rs.410 crore had been raised through a private placement. The bonds will have a tenor of 10-15 years offering an interest rate between 7.69 per cent and 7.86 per cent for retail investors and 7.19 per cent to 7.36 per cent for other category of investors. SEBI initiative to reduce risk on stock exchanges The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), has asked stock exchanges to ensure that stock brokers are mandatorily put in risk-reduction mode when 90 per cent of the stock brokers collateral available for adjustment against margins gets utilised on account of trades that fall under a margin system. SEBI said that all new orders should be checked for sufficiency of margins and non-margined orders should not be accepted from the stock broker in risk reduction mode. US rejects UN Telecom Treaty The United States has rejected a UN treaty under consideration at a global telecommunications conference in Dubai, arguing that this could lead to state censorship and regulation of the internet. Polaris launches 'Ranger RZR XP 900' Polaris India, a wholly-owned subsidiary of US-based off-road vehicle maker Polaris Industries, has launched a new vehicle 'Ranger RZR XP 900'. Polaris India has recently announced its tie up with HDFC Bank to provide easy financing solutions to its customers. Government notifies new drug pricing policy, cheaper drugs on way The government said the new drug policy which aims at bringing more medicines under price control has been notified. "The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Policy (NPPP-2012) approved by the Cabinet on November 22, 2012 has been notified on December 7, 2012. Price control over drugs was first introduced in the country in the aftermath of the Chinese aggression by Drugs (Display of Prices) Order 1962 and the Drugs (Control of Prices) Order 1963. The outgoing drug policy of 1994, which covers 74 bulk drugs, was implemented through Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO) 1995.

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Sport:
Spirited India clinches World Cup India survived a brave effort from Pakistan to clinch the inaugural SBI T20 World Cup for the Blind with a 29run victory in the final. Men-of-the-series (all Indians): Fully blind category (B1) - Ketan Patel; Partially blind category (B2) Prakash Jayaramaiah; Partially sighted category (B3) Ajay Kumar Reddy. Kim Clijsters bids farewell with win Former world No. 1 Kim Clijsters celebrated the end of her sparkling career with a victory in an exhibition match against American Venus Williams. The Belgian, who won 41 career singles titles. Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams crowned ITF world champions Serbia's Novak Djokovic and US player Serena Williams were announced as this year's International Tennis Federation world champions, based on their performances in tournaments throughout 2012. The sport's governing body also said that US brothers Bob and Mike Bryan were men's doubles world champions for the ninth time in 10 years, while Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci of Italy were the women's equivalent. Dutch wheelchair tennis legend Esther Vergeer won the title for the 13th year in succession after she won Paralympic singles gold for the fourth Paralympics in a row. Stephane Houdet of France won the men's award.

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