The 28-Hour Working Week

28 hours

What is it? The number of weekly working hours that 900,000 worker-members of IG Metall, a German labour union, can opt for up to two years, for a lower salary, before returning to the standard 35-hour week.

Why is it important? The pact covers 900,000 workers in the metals and electrical industries in a region where several top industrial groups of Germany are based, including Daimler and Bosch. More importantly, IG Metall agreements are seen as industry benchmarks in Germany, and similar pacts could be seen in other sectors also, giving a major victory to German workers for a better work-life balance.

Tell me more: According to the International Labour Organisation, in 2016, the mean working hours per week per employed person varied from 32 hours (Netherlands) to 50 hours (Qatar).


12 days

What is it? The number of days between Wall Street Journal publishing a story accusing Steve Wynn of a pattern of sexual misconduct over the years and him resigning as CEO and chairman of Wynn Resorts, late Tuesday.

Why is it important? The #MeToo movement has seen many women in the US come out about the sexual harassment they faced, but those complaints and experiences centred around Hollywood and famous women actors. While 76-year-old Wynn is a public figure, and founder and CEO of a listed company whose 2017 revenues were $6.1 billion, his accusers are not famous. Hence, his resignation is being seen as significant for gender relations in the existing power constructs.

Tell me more: Trading in the Wynn Macau stock on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange was halted yesterday. Since the WSJ story broke, shares of flagship Wynn Resorts are down 12%.


Rs 300 crore

What is it? The combined income declared by five of the seven national political parties (BJP and Congress are excluded here) for 2016-17.

Why is it important? According to a report released yesterday by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had the highest income, of Rs 173.58 crore in 2016-17, a year in which Uttar Pradesh, the party’s main state of influence, went for elections. This illustrates how income of political parties tends to spike in the lead up to elections. However, BSP spent only 30% of this amount during the year. Grants/donations/contributions formed 40% of the income of these five parties.

Tell me more: The two highest income declarers of the previous year, BJP and Congress, are yet to declare their incomes for 2016-17, and were overdue more than three months.


6 months

What is it? The current duration for which India’s central bank has now held the repo rate—the key interest rate in the banking system—at 6%.

Why is it important? At the meeting of its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) yesterday, it expectedly chose to maintain status quo on interest rates. In its last few meetings, the government and industry were, at times, holding out for a cut. Such optimism was missing this time, with inflation on the rise, share markets in turmoil and the US signaling higher rates. The Reserve Bank of India yesterday warned about inflation, projecting a band of 5.1-5.6% for the Consumer Price Index in the first half of 2018-19.

Tell me more: Of the six members in the MPC, five voted in favour of holding rates, while one member, Michael Patra, wanted a 0.25 percentage point increase.



What is it? The number of dismissals effected by MS Dhoni in one-day internationals. He crossed the 400 mark yesterday when he stumped South Africa’s Aiden Markram off Kuldeep Yadav, in a match that India convincingly won.

Why is it important? Dhoni is only the fourth wicket-keeper, and the first Indian, to cross 400 dismissals in one-day internationals. Kumar Sangakkara leads with 482 dismissals, followed by Adam Gilchrist (472) and Mark Boucher (424). Among the four, Dhoni has the lowest average dismissals per innings, of 1.293.

Tell me more: It was telling that Dhoni’s 400th dismissal was a stumping. He leads all keepers in stumpings (106 dismissals), a testimony to the greater reliance on spin bowlers by India compared to some other sides.


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