female-2025511_960_720

100 Men, 0 Women

0

What is it? The number of women in the top 100 highest-paid sportspersons, according to the Forbes’ 2018 ranking.

Why is it important? The 2017 list had only one woman: tennis player Serena Williams, who took a break to give birth. The absence of women in this list highlights the glaring gender divide that exists in the sporting world. In 2018, American boxer Floyd Mayweather was the world’s top-paid sportsperson, earning $275 million of his $285 million from 36 minutes of work in the ring.

Tell me more: Besides Mayweather, the top 10 list of sportspersons includes three from soccer (Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar), two apiece from American football and basketball, and one each from tennis and mixed martial arts.

25

What is it? The increase in repo rate (in basis points), the rate at which the central bank lends to commercial ones, to 6.25%.

Why is it important? This is the first hike in over four years (since January 2014), driven by inflationary concerns, mainly due to an increase in oil prices and a weak currency. This would prompt banks to increase their benchmark lending rates, which some have already done, making home and auto loans more expensive. The monetary policy committee (MPC) was unanimous in revising policy rates upwards.

Tell me more: The last change in policy rates was a reduction of the repo rate by 25 basis points to 6% in August 2017. On Wednesday, the MPC also increased the reverse repo rate to 6% from 5.75%.

3

What is it? The quantity of stockpile of sugar, in million tonnes, India is looking to build, as part of a few measures cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs for the sugar industry.

Why is it important? Besides this, food minister Ram Vilas Paswan said the government will offer soft loans worth Rs 4,400 crore to sugar mills to expand ethanol production capacity. These measures are to bail out mills, who have been unable to pay farmers on time, even as sugar prices dropped to their lowest in 28 months following a record production of 31.6 million tonnes in 2017-18. Mills owe farmers Rs 22,000 crore, which could jump to a record Rs 25,000 in the 2017-18 season.

Tell me more:In addition, the government has fixed a floor price of Rs 29 per kilogram. The measures announced would require a sum of Rs 7,000 crore.

25

What is it? The number of Karnataka ministers in the 15-day-old HD Kumaraswamy government who took oath on Wednesday.

Why is it important? The cabinet expansion comes amidst fresh outbreak of infighting in the Congress. Congress’ DK Shivakumar, who played a crucial role in preventing defections from the party after the polls returned a hung verdict, wanted to be deputy chief minister, but settled for two portfolios. It reportedly became difficult to accommodate two from the powerful Vokkaliga caste (Shivakumar and Kumaraswamy) at the top without displeasing other sections, even as some party leaders are reportedly upset at Shivakumar bagging two ministries.

Tell me more: Of the 25 ministers who took the oath of office on Wednesday, 14 are from Congress, nine from Janata Dal (Secular), and one each from Bahujan Samaj Party and Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party.

$256 billion

What is it? The value of American goods imported in 2017 by the 28 EU(European Union) nations.

Why is it important? The US and EU are locked in a trade standoff. Last week, the US added EU to the list of nations on which it would impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports. On Wednesday, the EU targeted $3.3 billion of US imports for retaliatory action, imposing tariffs on certain items with effect from July.

Tell me more: Besides steel, EU will impose tariffs on industrial and agricultural products, including bourbon, peanut butter, cranberries and orange juice.

Read More

The Worst Spell

7

What is it? The number of days (between June 6 and 12) Mumbai could receive very heavy rainfall, according to Skymet Weather.

Why is it important? Skymet’s CEO Jatin Singh has warned this could be the worst spell in Mumbai since July 26, 2005, when the city received 900 mm of rainfall in a day. On that day 13 years ago, over 500 were killed and most deaths were reported from slum areas. In a recent study, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had identified 225 flood-prone areas, including 60 chronic ones that see chronic deluges every year.

Tell me more:Monday rains caused flights to get delayed or diverted, disrupting the movement of trains, besides tree-falling incidents and traffic woes.

35

What is it? The free baggage allowance (in kg) of a second class train passenger, while that of a sleeper class is 40 kg.

Why is it important? Though Indian Railways’ baggage allowance rules is around for around 30 years now, it has decided to enforce it strictly from now. If passengers are caught with excess baggage, they will have to pay six times the penalty. For instance, a sleeper class passenger travelling 500 km with an excess baggage of 40 kg would have to pay a penalty of Rs 654, against a cost of Rs 109 for putting the excess luggage in the luggage van.

Tell me more:Passengers in AC 3-tier sleeper/AC chair car, AC 2-tier sleeper/first class and AC first class are given free allowance of 40 kg, 50 kg and 70 kg respectively.

Rs 1.09 lakh

What is it? The base price of the electric scooter launched on Tuesday by Hero MotoCorp-backed electric vehicle startup Ather Energy.

Why is it important?Ather is looking to disrupt the two-wheeler market. Its maiden launch has been delayed by about a year. On Tuesday, it launched two models: the 340, whose performance is said to be comparable to a 110 cc petrol scooter and which retails at Rs 1.09 lakh—roughly twice the cost of a similar petrol-powered scooter—and the 450 (125 cc, Rs 1.24 lakh). The 340 has a range of 60 km on a single charge and the 450 has a range of 75 km.

Tell me more:Founded in April 2013, Ather Energy has raised $40 million in three funding rounds from four investors: Hero, Tiger Global, and Flipkart founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal.

42

What is it? India’s forecast rank in technological readiness among the world’s 82 largest countries between 2018 and 2022 by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Why is it important? If the forecast comes true, India’s ranking would improve from 47 between 2013 and 2017. The report says there is a strong correlation between the level of Internet usage and a country’s overall technological readiness score, and it expects India to be one of the four nations to make strong jumps. However, according to the World Economic Forum, India ranks 107 (of 137) in technological readiness, though it appreciated the country’s efforts in the ICT sector.

Tell me more:Australia, Singapore and Sweden share the top spot in EIU’s ranking forecast, which has assessed countries in access to the Internet, digital economy infrastructure and openness to innovation for the next four years.
2

What is it? The number of test-playing nations against which Afghanistan has recorded series wins in the T20 format.

Why is it important? On Tuesday, Afghanistan beat Bangladesh in the second T20 match of their three-match bilateral series. Afghanistan has beaten Zimbabwe in three T20 series, going back to 2015-16. The latest win will burnish its credentials as it prepares to take on India in its first-ever test match next week.

Tell me more:Afghanistan’s win was shaped by another clinical bowling performance from their 19-year-old star spinner Rashid Khan, who averages a wicket every 13 balls at an economy rate of 5.9 runs per six balls in T20 cricket.

Read More

facebook-257829_960_720

Is Facebook At It Again?

60

What is it? The number of device-markers such as Apple, Amazon, Blackberry, Microsoft and Samsung that Facebook has formed data-partnerships with in the last 10 years.

Why is it important? Facebook reportedly allowed these device firms to access data of users’ friends without their explicit consent, though it had declared that it would not share such information with outsiders. This comes a few weeks after the social media firm found itself in the centre of a dispute over the alleged harvesting and use of personal data of 87 million people, involving London-based elections consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

Tell me more: Facebook, however, has rejected the report and said that this is “very different” from the use of data by third-party developers such as Cambridge Analytica.

$350 million

What is it? The amount of funding raised by GitHub, in two funding rounds, since being formed in February 2008. The last was in 2015, when it was valued at $2 billion.

Why is it important? On Monday, the code repository company popular with the community of software developers for its championing of the open-source model, said it had reached an agreement to be acquired by Microsoft for $7.5 billion in stock. For GitHub, which has never made a profit, this is a way forward. For Microsoft, it’s a return to its earliest roots.

Tell me more: This is yet another significant acquisition by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who took charge in February 2014 and whose tenure has seen the Microsoft stock rise three-fold.

13

What is it? The number of months since MK Jain has been the managing director and chief executive officer of IDBI Bank. On Monday, the government appointed him as a deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Why is it important? Jain has over 30 years of experience in the banking industry and will be in-charge of the central bank’s supervisory department that is instrumental in cleaning up the banking system. However, his exit from IDBI Bank seems to be a negative for the lender as he was focused on cleaning up its balance sheet and divesting some non-core assets to generate capital. The lender’s shares fell to a two-week low after the announcement.

Tell me more: Jain was selected from nine candidates and after two rounds of interviews. The RBI deputy governor post fell vacant after SS Mundra retired at the end of July 2017.

250,000

What is it? The number of modern assault rifles the India Army will reportedly buy.

Why is it important? This is less than a third of its original requirement of 800,000 rifles and the reduced order size is said to be due to budgetary constraints and the need to increase the pace of deliveries. As of July 2017, a majority of the India’s troops were still using the outdated INSAS (Indian Small Arms System) rifles, though the Army had floated a tender for the supply of multi-caliber assault rifles to replace these in 2011.

Tell me more: Of the 450,000 infantry troopers in the defence force, about half of them go into the battleground and use the rifle as their primary weapon.

900

What is it? The number of singles matches won by Rafael Nadal of Spain.

Why is it important? On Monday, Nadal became only the fifth male tennis player to reach the milestone of 900 singles victories. This elite list is led by Jimmy Connors, who finished his career with 1,256 wins. He is followed by Roger Federer (1,149), Ivan Lendl (1,068) and Guillermo Vilas (949).

Tell me more: Of these five players, Nadal has the best winning percentage (82.8%). He is followed by Federer (82.0%).

Read More

Ploughing_with_cattle_in_West_Bengal

Supply Hit, Prices Soar

100

What is it? The number of farmer outfits that are participating in a 10-day agitation led by Rashtriya Kisan Mahasangh, which entered the third day on Sunday.

Why is it important? The nationwide stir has resulted in an increase in the prices of perishables such as milk and vegetables in some cities of Punjab, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh. In Maharashtra, the All India Kisan Sabha has threatened to stop the supply of vegetables and milk from June 7 if their demands such as a complete farm loan waiver, minimum support price for their produce and the implementation of the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission, are not met.

Tell me more:The agrarian crisis is also snowballing into a bigger challenge for the ruling BJP, which is seeking a second term at the Centre. Congress President Rahul Gandhi has said he will participate in a protest at Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh, where six farmers were allegedly killed in police firing last year, on Wednesday.

30

What is it? The number of firms that have resigned as auditors of companies mid-term so far this year.

Why is it important? This is already over four times such resignations in the whole of 2017, indicating that auditors are reacting to the stricter regulatory environment that involves a modified Companies (Amendment) Act, 2017. One of the main changes to this law includes the proposed setting up of National Financial Reporting Authority as an independent regulator for the auditing profession. The entity has powers to investigate matters of professional misconduct by chartered accountants or CA firms, prohibit them for a period of up to 10 years and impose penalty.

Tell me more: Recently, Deloitte and Price Waterhouse Chartered Accountants resigned as the auditors of Manpasand Beverages and infrastructure firm Atlanta saying they refused to divulge some key information.

3

What is it? The number of parties– Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Gondwana Ganatantra Party – that have reportedly formed an alliance ahead of the upcoming polls in Madhya Pradesh.

Why is it important? Congress is looking to replicate its Karnataka success where it recently formed the government with JD(S). Mayawati’s BSP has been steadily polling 7% of votes in the last two decades in Madhya Pradesh and with Congress’ nearly 37% vote share in the last state elections, it can be a formidable force against the BJP where it polled 45% and faces an anti-incumbency wave after being in power for three terms.

Tell me more: Congress is also looking to stitch a wider alliance with BSP in Rajasthan and Haryana where the latter has been getting 5% and 4% in vote share respectively.

70% 

What is it? The percentage of women, who are detected with early stage breast cancer, that need not undergo chemotherapy.

Why is it important?An existing genetic testing, which measures activity levels of 21 genes to understand how aggressive cancer is, is enough to determine whether chemotherapy is needed or not. At present, women receiving low score (less than 10) are not given chemotherapy and those with high scores (above 26) are told to undergo chemotherapy. Those with intermediate scores were also given the aggressive treatment. The research study found survival rates for those intermediate score were same for those who had chemotherapy and those who didn’t.

Tell me more:Early stage cancers are the ones which haven’t spread to the lymph nodes and does not have the HER2 mutation, an indicator of whether the cancer will grow aggressive or not.

Rs24,000 crore 

What is it? Cash deposited by 73,000 deregistered companies, after demonetisation was announced in November 2017.

Why is it important? The cash deposit is being investigated for potential black money link by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office and the Registrars of Companies. If proven that these companies have helped to convert illegal money or acted as conduit to avoid taxes, it will bolster government’s effort to curb black money in Asia’s third largest economy.

Tell me more:Two months prior to demonetisation announcement, the government deregistered more than 200,000 companies for failing to file regular returns with Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

Read More