A Serendipitous Discovery

12
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.

>30%

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?

6.7%

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.

 

6

 

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.

 

16,868

 

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.

 

3000 

 

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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A Break-up in J&K

25

What is it?The number of legislators BJP had in the 89-strong Jammu and Kashmir assembly. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had 28.

Why is it important? On Tuesday, BJP pulled out from its alliance with PDP, saying it had become impossible to continue with the growing radicalism and the worsening security situation in the state. It has asked the state to be put under the governor’s rule and if done, this would be the eighth time in the last four decades. The split, which happened mainly due to ideological differences, is reportedly due to BJP losing ground in Jammu and Ladakh, a year before the General Elections in 2019.

Tell me more:Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has tendered her resignation and said her party would not seek the support of other parties to restore majority.

2

What is it? The number of approaches the central government would adopt to improve the functioning of public sector banks (PSBs) – by addressing the issues of consortium-based lending and by identifying good and genuine borrowers.

Why is it important? The state-run lenders would assess the borrowing needs of around 4,500 stressed accounts that have borrowings between Rs 200 crore and Rs 2,000 crore over the next 3-4 weeks, after which accounts with loan exposure up to Rs 200 crore would be studied. This would enable PSBs that have lending restrictions due to weak financials, to identify stressed MSMEs with genuine needs of working capital, which otherwise find it difficult to access further loans as those would carry higher risks.

Tell me more: The decision taken by 66% percent lenders in a consortium would be followed by banks, in line with the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said the government is open to giving more powers to the central bank.

20 lakh

What is it? The number of healthcare professionals and facilities that would be mapped in a government census, which is expected to be completed by September.

Why is it important? The census would not only pinpoint their geographical locations of hospitals, doctors, clinics, diagnostic laboratories, pharmacies and nursing homes but also, measure their performance. This would include over 1,400 variables such as infrastructure. This exercise aims to provide real-time information to the government and data collection/updation is the first step in improving healthcare facilities in a country that ranks poorly in healthcare quality and access.

Tell me more:The government has already undertaken pilot projects in a few states including Sikkim, Rajasthan and Kerala between December 2017 and January 2018 and will begin the exercise in Manipur, Odisha and Rajasthan.

9 days

What is it? The duration of the dharna led by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at the residence of Anil Baijal, lieutenant governor of Delhi.

Why is it important? The sit-in-protest was called off on Monday after the Delhi government claimed IAS officials have started attended meetings called by ministers. Six officers including the Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, who alleged that he was assaulted by Aam Aadmi Party legislators in a midnight meeting called by Arvind Kejriwal in February, attended the meetings called by ministers, according to Manish Sisodia, deputy chief minister of Delhi.

Tell me more:The other demand asking the LG to approve the doorstep delivery of rations was not met. Four chief ministers of non-BJP ruled states expressed their support to the protest.

52 

What is it? The number of votes cast in favour of legalising the recreational use of cannabis in the Canadian senate. 29 votes were against the proposal.

Why is it important? Canada became the first G7 – a group of seven developed nations – to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Canadians spent $4.5 billion on cannabis in 2015. Government says law against cannabis use was ineffective and this move will help manage the use.

Tell me more:Adults, those above 18 years, will be able to possess 30 grams of cannabis (dry) in public.

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The Brunt Of Nature

2017 was the year when President Donald Trump refused to acknowledge the effects of global warming and moved to withdraw from the Paris Climate accord. Nature, probably didn’t like it. In the same year, the number of natural disasters spiked 20% on average versus the last 16 years. Global warming is real. There’s absolutely no denying that.

4

What is it? The number of states in which members of the Multiplex Association of India will not screen Padmaavat, the Sanjay Leela Bhansali period film that releases on Thursday.

Why is it important? The four states are Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa, all ruled by the BJP, which is also in power at the Centre. Protests against the film—led by the Shri Rajput Karni Sena, which is unhappy at the depiction of the Rajput community in the film—turned into acts of vandalism in several parts of the country yesterday, putting the spotlight on the inability of administrations to maintain the rule of law and raising fingers on their being complicit.

Tell me more: On Monday, three byelections are scheduled in Rajasthan: for the Lok Sabha seats of Alwar and Ajmer, and the assembly seat of Mandalgarh. The bypolls were necessitated by the death of the sitting MPs and MLA, all of them from the BJP.

 

5

What is it? The number of years for which Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav was sentenced to jail in a fodder scam case by a special CBI court in Ranchi on Wednesday. In addition, he has been fined Rs 5 lakh.

Why is it important? Of the total six cases relating to the fodder scam for which he is facing trial, Yadav has been convicted in the third one. This case relates to the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 33.67 crore from Chaibasa (now, in Jharkhand) district treasury during 1992-93, when Yadav was the chief minister of Bihar. Yadav, who is currently serving time in Ranchi’s Birsa Munda jail after being pronounced guilty in the second fodder scam case, is unlikely to escape legal wrangles soon, as verdicts in the remaining cases are expected over the next few months.

Tell me more: Another former chief minister Jagannath Mishra has also been given the same punishment as Yadav in this case. A total of 50 accused in this case have been convicted and six are off the hook.

 

Rs 88,139 crore

What is it? The total amount the government said it will infuse in 20 public sector banks this fiscal, of which Rs 80,000 crore will be raised by the finance ministry through recapitalisation bonds and the rest provided as budgetary support.

Why is it important? This is the first tranche of the unprecedented two-year recapitalisation plan of Rs 2,11,000 crore the government had announced last October. The capital infusion would prop up public sector banks, which account for 87% of the banking system’s total bad loans as of September 30 (resulting in higher provisioning) and which also require additional capital to move towards the full implementation of Basel III norms. This is likely to spur lending and revive growth at a time when bad loans have reached record levels.

Tell me more: Public sector banks have raised Rs 10,312 crore so far this fiscal from sales of shares to external investors. This means the total recapitalisation will cross Rs 100,000 crore in 2017-18.

 

330

What is it? The total number of natural disaster events in 2017, according to a report by Aon Benfield. An event qualifies as a natural disaster in this study if it meets at least one of the defined set of criteria such as economic losses of at least $50 million, 10 fatalities, 50 injured people, an insured loss of $25 million, and 2,000 homes/structures damaged or claims filed.

Why is it important? This is 20% higher than the average of 275 recorded in the period of 2000-2016 and is the highest in seven years. The total economic losses due to natural disasters was $353 billion, the second-costliest year on record. 2017 also broke other records such as being the second-costliest year on record for natural-disaster insured losses, the costliest year ever for weather disasters and, thereby, also for insurers who provide protection against such catastrophes.

Tell me more: In 2017, nine of the 10 costliest insured loss events (including four that were severe weather-related) impacted the continental United States, which pulled out of the 2015 Paris climate accord last year. The region accounted for 51% and 63% of catastrophe losses and insured catastrophe losses, respectively, last year.

 

Rs 1286 crore

What is it? The loss declared by Idea Cellular, India’s third-largest telecom service provider, in the third quarter (October to December) of 2017-18.

Why is it important? This is Idea’s biggest-ever quarterly loss and its fifth consecutive one. The company, which is set to merge with Vodafone India to become India’s largest telecom company by subscribers, has been deeply affected by the price wars triggered by Reliance Jio, which has done in 16 months what Idea took 17 years to do. In the last quarter, the 57% cut in interconnection usage charge (IUC) by the telecom regulator also eroded Idea’s revenues by Rs 820 crore; overall, Idea’s revenues dropped 24% to Rs 6,551 crore.

Tell me more: Last week, Bharti Airtel, the fourth heavyweight in Indian telecom, declared its Q3 results, where it announced a 39% drop in net profit, showing the lingering effects of the Jio pressure.

 

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