New York, Dec 6: IT stalwart Roshni Nadar Malhotra, biotechnology pioneer Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, media mogul Shobhana Bhartia and actor Priyanka Chopra have been named among the world's 100 most powerful women by Forbes in a list topped by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Merkel, 64, a four-time Chancellor, retained the top spot in The World's 100 Most Powerful Women 2018. It is the eighth consecutive year and 13 times in total in the 15 years of the annual list she has topped.

She is followed by UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who for the second year in a row has retained the No 2 spot on the list. May, 62, is followed by International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde (No 3), General Motors CEO Mary Barra (No 4), and Fidelity Investments CEO Abigail Johnson (No 5).

Nadar Malhotra, CEO, HCL Technologies is ranked 51st on the list. The 37-year old is responsible for all strategic decisions for the USD 8.1 billion enterprise, which operates in technology, healthcare and infosystems.

Nadar Malhotra is also the Vice Chairperson of the board of HCL Technologies and the Chairperson of its CSR Committee. She is a trustee of the Shiv Nadar Foundation, which is focused on education and has established some of India's top colleges and schools.

Mazumdar-Shaw, Founder and Chair, Biocon, is ranked 60. India's richest self-made woman had founded the country's largest bio pharmaceutical firm in 1978.

The firm has successfully forayed into the lucrative US biosimilars market, catching the attention of investors and creating a surge in market cap, Forbes said.

Biocon became the first company to gain approval from the USFDA for two different biosimilars of drugs used in certain cancer treatments.

The 65-year old business woman has invested in research infrastructure and scientific talent with the aim of building a deep R&D-based biotech firm, not a copycat generics maker.

Bhartia, 61, Chairperson and Managing Director, HT Media, is ranked 88th. In 2013, Bhartia launched the business weekly MintAsia in Singapore and then bought Webitude, a social and digital media outfit. HT Media's tutoring arm, Studymate, has expanded into coaching students for the admissions exam required by India's elite engineering schools.

Chopra, who married American singer and actor Nick Jonas this week, comes in at the 94th spot.

Forbes said Chopra, 36, is "arguably the most successful Bollywood actor to cross over to Hollywood".

Chopra made her US big-screen debut in 2017's "Baywatch" and became the first Indian actor to lead a drama series on American television as the former star of ABC's "Quantico."

She launched her own production company, Mumbai-based Purple Pebble Pictures, to promote regional filmmakers and emerging Indian talent.

In 2018, she became a tech investor, putting money into dating app Bumble's investment fund and Holberton School for software engineering.

The UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and UN Foundation Girl Up Champion also launched the Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education.

"Forbes' Most Powerful Women 2018 list reflects what is always known about power, how ephemeral it is and how volatile it can be," says Moira Forbes, Executive Vice President, Forbes Media.

"The world's most powerful women are leading amidst a tumultuous time where geopolitical tensions are on the rise, key economies are facing instability, and where trust in institutions is at an all-time low."

The 100 women on the list are women who are building billion-dollar brands, calling the shots in the financial markets, crisscrossing the globe to broker international agreements, and provide aid to those in need.

Their accomplishments are formidable on their own, and even more so given how difficult it can be to establish inroads into industries and job titles traditionally dominated by men, especially in tech, venture capital, and Hollywood.

They are builders, disruptors, and innovators in every sector from business to creative worlds, taking a modern, forward-looking view on power and using their positions to better the world.

Members of the 2018 Most Powerful Women list represent women in six categories: business (27 honorees), technology (18), finance (12), media & entertainment (16), politics & policy (22), and philanthropy (5). In total, the Power Women control or influence nearly USD 2 trillion in revenues and oversee 5 million employees.

The 2018 list spans more than six generations of influential women, with Taylor Swift the youngest honoree at 28 and Queen Elizabeth II the oldest at 92.

The list also includes siblings for the first time Anne and Susan Wojcicki of 23andMe and YouTube respectively.

North America represents 50 women on the list, Asia Pacific 22, Europe (inclusive of Russia and Turkey) 17, the United Kingdom 7, the Middle East 3, one in Africa.

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New Delhi, Dec 11: The Supreme Court said on Tuesday that if there is a "common thread" among the murders of social activists Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, journalist Gauri Lankesh and rationalist M M Kalburgi, then one agency can investigate all the four cases.

A bench of Justices U U Lalit and Navin Sinha asked the CBI to inform it by January first week as to why it should not investigate all the four cases if there appears a link among all the murders.

The counsel for the Maharashtra government informed the court that the CBI is investigating the murder cases of social activist and professor Narendra Dabholkar after the Bombay High Court transferred the probes to the agency.

The court, after perusing the status report of the Karnataka Police, said there appears to be a link between the murders of journalist Gauri Lankesh and rationalist M.M Kalburgi.

It asked the Maharashtra government's counsel about the status of the investigation into the Pansare murder case, to which the counsel said the case was pending before the Kolhapur trial court.

Earlier in the day, the Karnataka Police had informed the apex court that there appears to be a connection between Lankesh and Kalburgi murder cases.

The state police also told the apex court that it will file a chargesheet in the Kalburgi murder case in three months.

Noted scholar Kalburgi was killed at Dharwad in 2015. Pansare was also killed the same year. Lankesh was shot dead on September 5, 2017 in Bengaluru, whereas rationalist Dabholkar was assassinated on August 20, 2013.

The top court on November 26 had pulled up the Karnataka government for "doing nothing and just fooling around" in the investigation and had indicated that it may transfer the case to the Bombay High Court.

The top court had on January 10 sought the response of probe agencies NIA and CBI and the two state governments on the allegation of Uma Devi that no substantial investigation has been carried out so far in the murder case.

Kalburgi's wife, in her petition, had alleged that there was common link between the murder of her husband and that of activists Narendra Achyut Dabholkar and Govindrao Pansare, who too were assassinated in August 2013 and February 2015 respectively.

The 77-year old Kalburgi, the former vice chancellor of Hampi University and a well-known epigraphist, was shot dead in broad daylight at his residence in Kalyan Nagar in Dharwad, Karnataka, on August 30, 2015. Born in 1938, he was a Sahitya Akademi award-winning writer of old Kannada literature.