Morning Digest | Damon Galgut wins Booker Prize; Centre cuts excise duty on petrol and diesel, and more

A select list of stories to read before you start your day

South African Damon Galgut wins Booker Prize for ‘The Promise’

South African writer Damon Galgut won the prestigious Booker Prize for fiction on Wednesday with “The Promise,” a novel about one white family’s reckoning with South Africa’s racist history.

Mr. Galgut took the prize on his third time as a finalist, for a book the judges called a “tour de force.” He was previously shortlisted for “The Good Doctor” in 2003 and “In a Strange Room” in 2010, but lost both times.

Centre cuts excise duty on petrol by ₹5, diesel by ₹10

The Government on Wednesday finally bit the bullet on runaway fuel prices and slashed excise duties on petrol and diesel by ₹5 and ₹10 per litre respectively, citing the need to help farmers for the rabi crop, ease inflation and give the economy a consumption boost.

Covaxin gets WHO’s emergency use nod

India’s first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, was granted Emergency Use Listing (EUL) by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday.

U.S. adds Israeli maker of Pegasus spyware to ‘black list’

US authorities on Wednesday put the Israeli maker of the Pegasus spyware on the list of restricted companies, after determining the firm supplied software used to target officials and journalists.

Narendra Modi calls for door-to-door COVID-19 vaccination

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday held a review meeting with senior officials of districts having low COVID vaccination coverage.

The meeting included districts with less than 50% coverage of the first dose and low coverage of the second.

Rahul Dravid appointed as head coach of Indian men’s cricket team

Dravid takes over from Ravi Shastri, whose term ends after the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup. Dravid, among the finest batsmen India has produced, was unanimously appointed by the Cricket Advisory Committee comprising of former international cricketers Sulakshana Naik and R.P. Singh.

BJP meeting to review bypoll results

The BJP will be getting into a huddle on Sunday for its long delayed meetings of the party’s national executive, and top on the agenda will be the coming Assembly polls next year as well as a review of the just concluded bypolls which yielded mixed results for the party.

NCPCR issues notice to NCERT on transgender inclusion manual

Following a Right-wing backlash on social media and a complaint from a former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has issued a notice to the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) regarding its new training manual on inclusion of transgender children in schools.

Shock in China as tennis star accuses top leader of sexual abuse

Top Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai’s allegations of a sexual assault and subsequent years-long affair with a senior Communist Party of China leader and former Vice Premier has triggered intense debate in China as well as a massive effort by the authorities to censor it.

$9.5 billion spent using Chinese central bank’s digital currency

Some 140 million people had opened "wallets" for China’s new digital yuan as of October and used it for transactions totalling around 62 billion yuan ($9.7billion), a senior Chinese central bank official said on Wednesday.

However, Mu Changchun, the director-general of the digital currency institute of the People’s Bank of China, told HongKong’s "Fintech Week" conference there was no official launch date for the digital currency, also known as the e-CNY.

ICC T20 World Cup | Rohit and Rahul pulverise Afghanistan

Virat Kohli lost the toss for the third straight time and India was asked to bat first yet again. However, those were the only similarities from the two previous games as the batters went ballistic and notched up the highest total of the edition — 210 — in the Group 2 Super 12 match against Afghanistan on Wednesday. In reply, Afghanistan was restricted to 144, giving India its first win of the competition.

T20 World Cup | Martin Guptill’s 93 sets up New Zealand’s 16-run win over Scotland

Opener Martin Guptill’s blistering 56-ball 93, which was built around monstrous sixes and authoritative batting, set up a 16-run win for New Zealand over a spirited Scotland in the T20 World Cup match in Dubai on Wednesday.

In all, Guptill smashed seven sixes and six fours as New Zealand posted 172 for five in the Group 2 Super 12 match. Scotland replied with 156 for five in their allotted 20 overs at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

MSME margins badly hit by commodity price surge: PHDCCI

Industry chamber PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) on Wednesday said skyrocketing commodity prices are severely impacting the price cost margins of businesses, especially MSMEs, observing that the RBI has a crucial role to play in balancing inflation and maintaining currency stability.

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