‘Nation-State of the Jewish People’

What is it?The percentage of Arabs in Israel, which has a population of about 9 million.

Why is it important? Israel passed a law declaring itself to be ‘Nation-State of the Jewish People’. “Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it,” the law said. The legislation was first proposed seven years ago.

Tell me more: Critics have slammed Israel for violating its 1948 Declaration of Independence, which promises to treat all its inhabitants equally. They also said the law would complicate the two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.




What is it? The price at which Maharashtra government will procure milk (per litre) from farmers starting 21 July.

Why it’s important? This follows four days of agitation by farmers demanding better price for their produce. Such protests are being increasingly seen as an effective way to get things done by the state. Agrarian riots increased eightfold between 2014 and 2016.

Tell me more: Meanwhile, central government is looking to raise export incentives on milk and milk products as a way for farmers to get better returns.


19.8 million


What is it?The number of smartphones sold by the top 2 players in Indian is second quarter of 2018.

Why is it important?Xiaomi and Samsung stand neck to neck, selling 9.9 million phones each, and accounting for 60% of the market. Samsung’s sales were up 47% year on year, this quarter. Overall smartphone shipments grew 22% during the quarter. The South Korean and Chinese companies were followed by two more Chinese firms, Vivo and Oppo.

Tell me more: Samsung recently opened a factory in India that will have a capacity to produce 120 million phones a year. Rising video consumption in rural India is one of the key drivers of both internet and smartphones in the country.


$1,217.95 per ounce


What is it? Spot price of gold.

Why is it important? It’s lowest in the last one year, and the dip comes against the expectation that gold prices would go up in the context of geopolitical uncertainty and escalating trade war between US and and China. However, stronger dollar and expectation of two more interest rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve have proven to be bigger drivers so far.

Tell me more:  The Fed raised interest rates in June. Its chairman  Jerome Powell said in a testimony that he sees two years of stable growth ahead of US. US President Donald Trump however has criticized rate hikes for its potential impact on growth and job creation.


1 hour 43 minutes


What is it?The duration of the total lunar eclipse around midnight on July 27th.

Why is it important? This will be the longest eclipse of the 21st century, according to BM Birla Science Centre. The moon will be passing the middle of earth’s shadow making it longer than an usual lunar eclipse.

Tell me more: The moon will also appear red, as the earth will filter out most of blue light coming from the Sun.

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EU Fines Google. Again.

$5 billion

What is it?Fine imposed by European Union on Google for abusing its dominant position in Android operating system.

Why it’s important? European Commission said Google forced phone manufacturers to pre-install its search and Chrome apps in Android phones as a condition of using its app store Google Play. Android operating system has a market share of over 80%. This comes at a time when there are growing concerns about the big tech firms such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Tell me more: Last year, EU fined Google $2.7 billion for abusing its position in search by favoring its own shopping sites against competitors. Earlier this year, India fined Google $21.17 million for a similar offence.

1.2 million tonnes

What is it?Likely Indian imports of pulses in 2018-19, according Indian Pulses and Grains Association.

Why is it important?If it falls to this level, it will be the lowest imports of pulses by India in the last two decades. It follows government’s decision to increase import taxes and impose quantity restrictions. Lower imports would raise the price of pulses, which would mean the government will have to pay out less as subsidies to farmers.

Tell me more: India is the largest importer of pulses and the move will adversely impact exporting countries such as Canada. In 2017-18, pulses imports fell by one million tonnes.


What is it? The number of seats National Democratic Alliance has in Lok Sabha, 272 of them held by Bharatiya Janata Party.

Why is it important? With a clear majority, Narendra Modi government is set to clear the no-confidence motion, moved by the opposition and approved by the speaker on Wednesday. The exercise is expected to be used by the opposition to highlight its disappointment with government’s economic performance.

Tell me more: The Monsoon session of the parliament which started on Wednesday will have 18 sittings. The session is crucial for BJP, which has a handful of billsto pass before it faces elections next year.


What is it?The number of unarmed surveillance aircraft, MQ-9B Guardian, that India is in the process of buying from the United States.

Why is it important? Now, US has reportedly offered to sell armed version of Guardian, in a departure from its practice of selling armed drones only to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) countries. This will also be the first of its kind in South Asia.

Tell me more: India was in talks to buy 22 of MQ-9B Guardian from the US for $2 billion to watch over Indian Ocean.

4.7 to 7.3 percentage points

What is it?The temporary drop in the local GDPs of informal districts following demonetisationof 2016, according to a World Bank study.

Why is it important? The study, which used nightlight intensity to gauge economic activity said, “these shocks were temporary, so that their impact on the annual GDP of the affected localities was probably modest. But in the short-term the local impacts were sizeable.”

“The difference in local growth relative to a normal year was very small in urban districts, as well as in those with greater access to finance and with more prevalent regular wage employment,” the report said.

Tell me more: The impact of demonetisation on economic activity at the aggregate level was ‘small and short-lived’, the report said. “There is a dip in nightlight intensity, but it only lasts for about two months.”

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A Serendipitous Discovery

What is it?The number of new moons discovered orbiting Jupiter, solar system’s biggest planet.

Why is it important?These moons were discovered by accident when the astronomers at Carnegie Institute of Science, University of Hawaii and Northern Arizona University were looking for objects beyond dwarf planet Pluto. Such serendipities are common in the world of science.  This takes the total number of moons orbiting Jupiter, which is also solar system’s oldest planet, to 79.

Tell me more: The 12 new moons include a tiny object, to be named Valetudo after the goddess of hygiene, which the scientists called oddball. Valetudo circles Jupiter in the opposite direction to most other moons, and stands a chance of colliding into others.

Rs 11,336 crore

What is it?The amount Indian government plans to infuse into five public sector banks in the next few days.

Why it’s important? This is a part of the Rs 2.11 lakh crore package that the government announced in October 2017 to save public sector banks, which were forced to acknowledge their huge bad loans after prodding by Reserve Bank of India. In addition, Punjab National Bank, one of the beneficiaries of government capital infusion programme, was hit by Nirav Modi scam.

Tell me more: Punjab National Bank will get₹2,816 crore; Indian Overseas Bank, ₹2,157 crore; Andhra Bank, ₹2,019 crore; Corporation Bank ₹2,555 crore and Allahabad Bank ₹1,790 crore.

$40.5 million

What is it? Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar’s earnings according to Forbes 2018 list of world’s highest-paid celebrities.

Why is it important? That has earned him 76th place in the list. He shares the spot with Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson. Salman Khan, another Bollywood actor in the list, has secured 82nd spot with earnings of $37.7 million.

Tell me more:  American Boxer, Floyd Mayweather ($285 million) topped the 2018 list. Shah Rukh Khan who was 8th in 2017 rankings has dropped out.


What is it? The net profit margin of Tesla Model 3, according to a top automotive consultant.

Why is it important? It makes Model 3 the most profitable electric car. The car’s starting price is $35,000 and can cross $50,000 with added options. Tesla made a loss of $784.6 million in the quarter ended March 31, on a revenue of $3.41 billion.

Tell me more: Tesla was in the news recently after its CEO Elon Musk got into a public spat with one of the rescuers who helped bring out 12 boys and their soccer coach from deep inside a flooded cave in Thailand. The 61 year old British diver dissed a mini-submarine that Musk and his team built as a backup, saying Musk ‘can stick his submarine where it hurts’. Musk posted a tweet challenging him, and calling him a ‘pedo’, a reference to Thailand’s sex trade. The diver said he is looking at options to sue Musk. On Monday, Tesla shares were down 3.5%

10 million tonnes 

What is it?India’s likely sugar inventory by the end of September, according to Indian Sugar Mills Association.

Why is it important? This is up from 3.87 million tonnes a year ago, and comes on the back of its record production of 32.25 million tonnes this year. Of this, 275,000 tonnes sugar has been contracted for export.

Tell me more: Meanwhile, Union Cabinet is considering a proposal to increase minimum price to be paid by sugar mills to growers by Rs 20 to Rs 275 starting October.

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Is China Slowing Down?


What is it?China’s growth in second quarter of 2018, compared to same period last year.

Why it’s important? This is lower from 6.8% GDP growth that China saw in the first quarter, and comes as it wages a trade war with US, its largest trading partner. The slowdown was likely caused by the efforts Chinese government has taken to keep a check on the growing debt in the corporate segment.

Tell me more: The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, had earlier warned that higher tariffs are likely to hurt emerging economies such as China and India compared to developed countries such as US.




What is it?The number of public sector banks in which India’s largest life insurer, Life Insurance Corporation of India holds more than 10% stake.

Why is it important?Corporation Bank, in which LIC has 13.03% stake tops the list now, but that will soon be overtaken by IDBI Bank. On Monday, LIC board approved purchase of 51% stake in IDBI Bank in which it has 10.82% stake.

Tell me more: The move is largely seen as a bailout of the bank struggling with bad loans to the tune of Rs 55,600 crore. The move will also help government bring down its stake in the bank to 50% from 86% at present, seemingly a disinvestment, but for the fact that the government also owns LIC.




What is it? The number of criminal cases filed by the police against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the country’s outgoing ruling party over election violations.

Why is it important? The move is seen as a meddling by the powerful Pakistani military with democratic process to favour former cricketer Imran Khan. Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party is competing with PML-N, and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in the general election scheduled for July 25th.

Tell me more: Authorities have also opened a criminal investigation on PML-N members under anti-terrorism laws. The move was condemned by PPP leader and former president Asif Ali Zardari. Nawaz Sharif, who was convicted of corruption by Pakistani courts, was arrested last Friday.


5.2 million


What is it? The number of subscribers Netflix added globally in the quarter ending June, taking its total user base to 130.1 million

Why is it important? Its growth was about a million lower than what investors expected, and pushed the stock price down by 14%. As was the case with the last few quarters, the growth was primarily driven by non-US market, where it added 4.5 million subscribers, up 8% year on year.

Tell me more: In India, Netflix hopes to add 5 million subscribers in the coming quarter, on the back of the success of series such as Sacred Games. In India, it also faces stiff competition from other streaming services including Hotstar and  Amazon.




What is it?Number of children’s lives saved in Burkina Faso, a landlocked West African country, thanks to a mass radio campaign between 2012 and 2015 on medical treatment for malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea, according to a new research.

Why is it important? This highlights the impact of a technology that has been around for close to 100 years; and raises questions on whether it can also be used in solving some of the problems intensified by new technologies such as internet and smartphones. Whatsapp, owned by Facebook, recently released ads in newspapers on its responsible use, after it was criticized for its role in the violence triggered by rumours. India has over 243 FM radio channels, but they are barred from broadcasting news.

Tell me more: The research on radio campaign in Burkina Faso revealed that diagnosis rate for the three diseases went up during the three years and across the areas compared to areas not covered by the campaign.

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