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EVOLUTIONS



OLDEST-EVER: Bir Narayan Chaudhary of Nepal is reliably said to be 141 years old, making him the oldest human on Earth. He doesn't make the Guinness Book of Records, though, for he has no birth certificate--nor does anyone else born in 1856, the year before India's First War of Independence. He cares for himself, eats what he wants, smokes five pipes a day and lives surrounded by five generations of his offspring.

ELECTED: Dr. Karan Singh, age 62, to India's Rajya Sabha ("Council of States"), by the legislature of Jammu and Kashmir for a six-year term. The renowned Hindu politician and religious scholar was immediately appointed as chair of the critically important Autonomy Panel evaluating the status of Jammu and Kashmir, to help settle that long-standing dispute and end years of regional conflict.

TRANSITION: Astronomer Carl Sagan, age 62, of complications from cancer. Sagan's 1980 TV series, "Cosmos," dramatized the mysteries of the universe for 500 million viewers in 60 countries. He firmly believed life exists throughout the universe--a view putting him at odds with many scientists. He was an outspoken opponent of nuclear weapons. In 1990 he participated with representatives of all religions in the Global Forum in Moscow to discuss the world environmental crisis.

HONORED: Bharatanatyam exponent Anita Ratnam Raj with the title of "Nritya Choodamani." In accepting the award, Anita said innovation and experimentation should be encouraged as long as they are lodged in a spirit of artistic integrity and faith.


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