The Fear Of Being Homeless, Again


El Salvador immigrants living in the US have lost their homes once, two decades ago, when a pair of earthquakes ravaged their homes and killed nearly 1000 people. They are living in fear of being homeless, again. Trump administration has decided to end the protected status of Salvadorians, which was granted to them in 2001. The onus of keeping their stay legal is on these immigrants now. Either they find another way or prepare to leave the country that once sheltered them.



What is it? The number of years after which the Supreme Court will re-examine its verdict upholding the constitutional validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalises homosexuality.

Why is it important? This provides renewed hope to the LGBQT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and transgender) community in India. A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, yesterday referred to a larger bench a writ petition filed by five petitioners to quash Section 377. This decision follows the top court’s landmark verdict last August that declared right to privacy a fundamental right and that sexual orientation is an essential attribute of privacy, which is likely to help shape the debate around homosexuality in India.

Tell me more: In December 2013, the Supreme Court reversed a 2009 Delhi High Court ruling that had struck down Section 377.




What is it? The number of days by which the release of the Hindi film ‘Padmavati’ has been delayed. It will reportedly hit the theatres on January 25.

Why is it important? The movie, which got caught in a controversy over the portrayal of queen Padmini, the existence of whom has been questioned by some historians, is being released after a change in title (to ‘Padmavat’) and other modifications. However, since its release date clashes with another movie Padman, starring Akshay Kumar, it may get only 2,500 screens at the upper end compared to 3,000-4,000 screens in an ideal situation.

Tell me more: Despite the Central Board of Film Certification clearing the film and giving it an UA certificate, on Monday, Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje said the film would not be screened in the state.



What is it? The estimated number of El Salvador immigrants living in the US who stand to lose their temporary legal immigration status after the Donald Trump administration yesterday decided to end the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of El Salvador.

Why is it important? El Salvador immigrants were granted TPS in 2001 after two destructive earthquakes killed nearly 1,000 and demolished more than 100,000 homes. These immigrants will now either have to seek a different status to continue staying legally in the US or leave once this 18-month extension ends in September 2019.

Tell me more: TPS is a blanket form of humanitarian relief. This latest decision reverses those of George W Bush and Barack Obama, giving the justification that El Salvador has rebuilt and recovered enough since and that “substantial disruption of living conditions no longer exist”.



What is it? The average number of balls that South African fast bowler Vernon Philander takes to scalp a wicket at Newlands in Cape Town.

Why is it important? This is the second best strike rate among fast bowlers who have taken 40 wickets at a venue. On Monday, defending just 208 against India in the first test match and a bowler short after losing Dale Steyn to injury, South Africa needed this statistic, which embodies wicket-taking ability in quick bursts, and the burly Philander delivered with his fourth five-wicket haul at the ground.

Tell me more: As many as 18 wickets fell on Monday, as South Africa won by 72 wons. Despite being a match dominated by bowlers, South African captain Faf du Plessis called it “one of my favourite games of cricket”.



What is it? The number of advanced minesweepers the Indian government is planning to procure.

Why is it important? It is planning to start anew after negotiations for a Rs 32,000 crore project to indigenously build 12 minesweepers in partnership with South Korean firm Kangnam Corporation failed. This is seen as a setback to the government’s ‘Make in India’ programme as well as to the Indian Navy, which reportedly has just four minesweepers to defend its 14 ports and requires at least 24 to make up for the shortfall. The existing ones are set to retire by 2018-20.

Tell me more: The deal has been reportedly called off due to differences over a range of issues, including the terms and conditions for the transfer of technology.


Read More


Two States Ban ‘Padmavati’


‘Padmavati’ is in dire straits. In the tech world, Uber hid a massive data breach for a year. Indian Air Force has bolstered its capabilities. Now it can strike enemy warships 1,500 kilometers off the coast within a few minutes. While, India is planning to become a huge market for electric vehicle batteries by 2030. 


57 million

What is it? The number of customers and drivers whose personal data was stolen by hackers from Uber Technologies about a year ago.

Why is it important? The ride-hailing app concealed the massive data breach for a year. It fired its chief security officer and one of his deputies for their involvement in keeping this a secret, which includes a $100,000 payment to the hackers. Regulators in some countries have said they would investigate the matter further that makes the ride rougher for Uber, which has been battling top-level executive exits over issues such as sexual harassment, data privacy concerns and working conditions of drivers.

Tell me more: Compromised data from the October 2016 breach included names, email addresses and phone numbers of 50 million Uber customers, in addition to personal information of 7 million drivers.


290 km

What is it? The strike range of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.

Why is it important? The missile was successfully tested for the first time from a Sukhoi-30MKI fighter against a sea-based target on Wednesday. This means the Indian Air Force now has the capability to strike enemy warships 1,500 kilometers off the coast within a few minutes. The world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile is now capable of being launched from air, sea and land.

Tell me more: The BrahMos missile, developed in a joint venture between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation and NPOM of Russia, is the heaviest weapon to be deployed on Sukhoi-30MKI aircraft.


$300 billion

What is it? The projected size of the market for electric vehicle (EV) batteries in India by 2030, according to a report by Niti Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute.

Why is it important? A stated aspiration of the Indian government is to have only electric vehicles entering the market from 2030. If it presses on these and if the report projections are met, India would account for 40% of global EV battery demand in the next 13 years. However, it remains to be seen how feasible the electric dream of various countries (including India) is, given that EV batteries use nickel, cobalt, aluminium, graphite and lithium. These are rare earths, and their availability is much lesser than that of coal and oil.

Tell me more: The report says India’s demand for EV batteries could bring down global battery prices by 16% to $60 per KWh by 2030.



What is it? The number of test series in Australia that England have won in their last five tries, dating back to 1998-99.

Why is it important? The two oldest cricketing nations renew their cricketing rivalry today. The first test of the five-match test series, better known as the Ashes, is underway at Brisbane, Australia. England, smarting from the loss of talismanic all-rounder Ben Stokes, are not tipped to change that dismal record in this trip.

Tell me more: The last time that England won in Australia was in 2010-11, when they won 3-1, with all three wins being by an innings margin.



What is it? Number of states to have banned the yet-to-be-released Hindi period film Padmavati. On Wednesday, Gujarat became the second state, after Madhya Pradesh, to do so by issuing a notification.

Why is it important? This further jeopardizes the film’s prospects from having a timely and disruption-free release, which could trigger commercial losses across the board. So far, chief ministers of at least five states—four of them ruled by the BJP (Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan) and one ruled by the Congress (Punjab)—have spoken publicly against the film.

Tell me more: A sixth chief minister, Manohar Lal Khattar in BJP-ruled Haryana, said the state would wait for the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC)’s notification on the film.


Read More