Commitment To Privacy


What is it? The number of Facebook employees who would be reviewing content posted in the social media website by end of this year, as compared to 10,000 employed last year to review content and security.

Why is it important? This move is after it was found Russia-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) influenced the 2016 US elections. Previously, Facebook has hands off approach to filter content that is false or malicious, but now it plans to actively patrol the content so as not to influence elections through fake news.

Tell me more: Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, told the US Senate’s Commerce and Judiciary committees that IRA ran 470 Facebook accounts to run ads and false information to scuttle Hillary Clinton’s chance to win 2016 elections. The content was seen by 157 million Americans.


Rs 606.74 crore

What is it? The amount BJP spent on election propaganda in 2016-17. In comparison, the Congress spent Rs 149.65 crore for the same in this period.

Why is it important? In this period, BJP won five state elections out of 10 – Assam, Goa, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Manipur – with an average election propaganda spend of Rs 60.67 crore. On the other hand, Congress’ average spend on election propaganda was nearly Rs 15 crore and it won two state elections – Puducherry and Punjab in 2016-17.

Tell me more: BJP and Congress spent Rs 69.78 crore and Rs 115.65 crore on administrative expenses in 2016-17 respectively.


42,000 rials

What is it? The exchange rate of Iran’s rial against the US dollar announced by the Iranian government.

Why is it important? At present, there are two exchange rates- one set by the government (37,000 rials to a dollar) and another used by traders (60,000 rials to a dollar). With Tuesday’s announcement, Iranian government has made it illegal to trade at any rate other than official rate.

Tell me more: Iran earns $50 billion from oil exports. Iran attempted with a single exchange rate in January 2012 and the experiment lasted only for a few months. Fearing collapse of nuclear deal, rial has lost 20% against the US dollar in last two weeks.


$21.17 million

What is it? The penalty imposed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Google for “search bias” and abuse of its dominant position in February.

Why is it important? The online search giant has filed an appeal against the ruling and has sought a stay on it. The core unit of Alphabet is is already involved in such anti-trust cases around the world: the European Commission imposed a record $2.7 billion fine on Google last year, besides facing anti-trust probes in Brazil and the possibility of investigations in South Korea.

Tell me more: Indian matchmaking firm Matrimony.com, which had filed the case against Google, has reportedly filed an appeal against the ruling as it feels the fine is too small and that CCI’s ruling that Google’s specialised search design or its advertising service, AdWords, were not breaking competition rules.



What is it? The number of shares a shareholder would receive in the to-be merged entity, Manipal Hospitals, for every 100 shares held in Fortis Healthcare. compared to the previous ratio of 10.83 shares for every 100 shares held.

Why is it important? Manipal Health Enterprises has revised its offer to buy Fortis Healthcare’s hospital business after institutional and minority shareholders expressed dissatisfaction with the previous offer. They had alleged that the hospital business of Fortis Healthcare had been valued at around Rs 95 per share as against the consensus analysts’ estimate of Rs 125-130 per share. The new terms would value Fortis at Rs 155 per share.

Tell me more: Besides the better swap ratio, the capital infusion of Rs 3,900 crore in the merged entity has been scrapped and instead, Manipal Health will undertake a rights issue of up to Rs 4,000 crore.


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NaMo, RaGa, And Data


What is it? The number of Russian diplomats US President Donald Trump has ordered to leave the country. As many as 14 European nations have also expelled some Russian diplomats.

Why is it important? This is in response to the nerve-agent attack on an ex-Russian spy in England on March 4. Russia has said it would reciprocate proportionately. This action is building up into the most serious diplomatic crisis between the West and Russia since the latter’s seizure of Crimea in 2014.

Tell me more: The United Kingdom held Russia responsible for the attack on a former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter earlier this month and expelled 23 Russian diplomats. Russia denied the charge and responded by saying it would send out 23 British diplomats out of its country.



What is it? The number of months since the Congress’ ‘WithINC’ mobile app has been defunct, according to the political party.

Why is it important? The Congress and BJP are engaged in a war of words, accusing each other of data breach and sending user information to third-party entities. The BJP-led government, which is already facing flak over an alleged recent security lapse in Aadhaar database, is now receiving criticism for reportedly illegally sharing data from the official app of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a US-based company.

Tell me more: The ruling party has accused Congress of sharing personal details of users of its app with a Singapore firm.



What is it? The lowest value the Facebook stock touched in trading on Monday, a drop of 20% from where it was 10 days ago, when the story of its user data being harvested illegally broke.

Why is it important? The dip on Monday came after the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) confirmed that it was investigating the data practices of the social media giant, which has over 2 billion users.

Tell me more: In a statement, the FTC said that “companies who have settled previous FTC actions must also comply with FTC order provisions imposing privacy and data security requirements”. Back in 2011, Facebook has signed a consent decree with the FTC, following a two-year investigation by the agency into Facebook’s privacy practices.


$600 million

What is it? The amount earned by cricket board of Australia (in Australian dollars) from the sale of television rights in a five-year deal, which ends later this year.

Why is it important? The ball-tampering issue has already claimed the Australian captaincy and the vice-captaincy, sullied reputations and killed a gripping test series. More action is likely. This wave of bad press could give broadcasters a bargaining chip as they bid and negotiate for the next TV deal.

Tell me more: Cricket Australia officials are currently in discussions with several broadcasters for a new TV deal that was said to be worth at least $150 million (Australian) a year before the ball-tampering issue changed the narrative of Australian cricket.


Rs 2,88,000 crore

What is it? The amount the Indian government will raise by selling bonds in the April-September period of 2018-19.

Why is it important? This is about 47.5% of its total budgeted amount for the entire fiscal, against 60-65% in the previous years, making it the lowest first-half borrowing in percentage terms in the last decade. This comes at a time when bond yields are rising and the demand for government securities has shrunk. The lower borrowing is expected to provide relief to bond investors and help the government reduce its borrowing costs.

Tell me more: The government is likely to borrow Rs 50,000 crore lesser than the Rs 6,06,000 crore announced in the budget for 2018-19.


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25-Year-Rule of the Left Has Ended In Tripura




What is it? The number of months since journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh was murdered outside her home in Bengaluru.

Why is it important? A Special Investigation Team probing her death has made its first arrest in the case: KT Naveen Kumar, for illegal possession of bullets. Kumar, who is said to be a member of a right-wing group called Hindu Yuva Sena, was arrested on February 18. However, he is reportedly among the weakest links in the case and it remains to be seen if his arrest can lead to the main plotter of Lankesh’s murder.

Tell me more: Investigations into the killings of other rationalists such as Narendra Dabholkar, MM Kalburgi and Govind Pansare, who were vocal critics of the Hindutva agenda, has made little or slow progress.



What is it? The aggregate number of seats BJP has won in three north-eastern states—Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya—out of 59 seats each.

Why is it important? It is set to be part of the government in all three states with the help of allies, consolidating its position in the north-eastern region, which may have a bearing on the 2019 General Elections. The 25-year-rule of the Left has ended in Tripura, reducing its presence to just one state, Kerala. The BJP is already a part of the governments of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

Tell me more: The BJP won a clear majority in Tripura (35 of 59 seats) but will form the government with ally IPFT. In Nagaland, the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party along with BJP and other allies will form the government, while a five-party alliance (including BJP) led by the National People’s Party is set to come to power in Meghalaya.



What is it? The number of entities, including key accused Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, in the Rs 12,700-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case that the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has barred from selling their assets.

Why is it important? This is in addition to the reported probe carried out by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office involving 110 companies, including listed ones, and around 10 limited liability partnership firms linked to Modi and Choksi. The Central Bureau of Investigation has arrested 14 people so far in this case. On Saturday, the agency for the first time said Modi had bribed at least one PNB official.

Tell me more: Non-bailable warrants were issued against both the accused by a special court on Saturday.



What is it? The latest world ranking of Shubhankar Sharma, the 21-year-old Indian golfer.

Why is it important? This is Sharma’s highest-ever world ranking and he’s also currently the highest-ranked Indian golfer. He has gained nine spots in a week in which he led for three rounds of the $10 million WGC-Mexico Championship, before crumbling in the fourth round. Still, Sharma finished the tournament with a score of 10 under par (the winner, Phil Mickelson, was at 16 under) and pocketed $270,000.

Tell me more: Sharma, who turned professional at the age of 16 years, finished 2017 with a ranking of 202. This season, he’s the only two-time winner on the European tour, and his latest showing in a star-studded field at the WGC has catapulted him into the spotlight.



What is it? German chancellor Angela Merkel has secured her fourth term in power after Germany’s Social Democratic party (SPD) voted on Sunday to form another “grand coalition” government with Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Why is it important? For Germany, this brings to an end nearly six months of political uncertainty and wrangling, the longest the country has been without a government post-war. For Europe, Merkel’s return means Germany will continue to play a major role in how things evolve in the continent, and that vision will be shaped by a strong element of continuity championed by Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron.

Tell me more: In the German elections held in September 2017, though CDU and SPD emerged as the two largest parties, they both lost ground. The big gainer was the right-wing Alternative for Germany.


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World’s Largest Oil Producer Is Not Russia



What is it? The number of exit polls (of three) predicting that BJP is likely to topple the Left government in Tripura, and consolidate its position in Meghalaya and Nagaland, where elections were recently held.

Why is it important? If these predictions come true, the BJP is likely to make significant inroads in the north-eastern region after having formed governments in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh post its win in the 2014 general elections. In Tripura, this would mean the end of the 25-year rule of CPI(M) and BJP’s maiden government with allies. In Nagaland, it would mean the likelihood of BJP and its ally, Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party, getting more votes than its former ally Naga People’s Front.

Tell me more: The Congress, which is in power in Meghalaya, is predicted to win fewer seats than National People’s Party by two exit polls.



What is it? The number of years in which the United States would overtake Russia to become the world’s largest oil producer, according to Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA). It could also happen as early as this year.

Why is it important? The increase in US oil production is happening at a time when other major producers, including Russia and members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, are cutting output to increase prices. This accord has been largely credited for the 50% increase in oil prices between mid-2017 and 2018. The US is not part of this deal, and its energy companies have wrested market share from those that are part of the pact.

Tell me more: Us crude output topped 10 million barrels per day (bpd) late last year, which happened for the first time since the 1970s, helping it surpass Saudi Arabia. The world’s largest economy is expected to register an output of over 11 million bpd by end-2018, which is likely to help it beat Russia to the first spot.


22 billion pounds

What is it? The amount that US cable leader Comcast has counter-bid for UK pay-TV group Sky, which is currently owned by media baron Rupert Murdoch, with a 39% stake.

Why is it important? Comcast’s bid is reportedly 16% higher than what Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox had previously agreed to pay to acquire the remaining 61% of Sky, even as it tries to complete the sale of a good part of itself to Disney. This puts a spanner in Murdoch’s plans in multiple ways as he has to find ways to preserve both the Sky and the Disney deals.

Tell me more: Murdoch’s plans have met with regulatory concerns on either side of the Atlantic: in the UK, about Murdoch controlling all of Sky, which augurs well for Comcast as it chases Sky; in the US, about the 21st Century Fox and Disney coming together.



What is it? The number of days within which state-run banks have been directed by the finance ministry to take pre-emptive action to improve their oversight of operational and technological risks.

Why is it important? This comes after India’s second-largest public sector bank Punjab National Bank (PNB) said it was hit by a Rs 11,400-crore fraud about two weeks ago. On Monday, PNB said the amount of fraudulent transactions could rise by another Rs 1,300 crore, resulting in its stock tumbling 13% yesterday, taking its total loss to 34% since it made public the Nirav Modi fraud. Lenders are expected to identify current oversight weaknesses, come up with a report on how to improve standards/practices, besides asking the boards of the banks to “assign clear accountability” for implementation and compliance.

Tell me more: The ministry has also directed public sector banks to investigate all non-performing assets of over Rs 50 crore for any possible fraud and report those cases to the Central Bureau of Investigation.


10 years

What is it? The number of years between Roger Federer’s fourth and the fifth Laureus Sportsman of the Year awards. Yesterday, the world’s number men’s singles tennis player won the 2018 award.

Why is it important? The 10-year gap is testimony to Federer’s longevity at the pinnacle of tennis and caps a stellar 12 months or so, in which the 36-year-old won three grand slams and became the oldest number one men’s singles player. Federer’s fifth Laureus win also takes him clear of Usain Bolt (4) and Novak Djokovic (3).

Tell me more: Federer also won the Comeback of the Year award, taking his overall Laureus tally to six—the most by any sportsperson in the awards that were instituted in 2000. Serena Williams won the Sportswoman of the Year award, taking her Laureus tally to 5.


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