The Cost Of Violence

Rs 8,000 crore

What is it?The approximate amount Punjab National Bank(PNB) expects to recover from bad loans in the April-June quarter.

Why is it important?The state-run lender, which posted the biggest-ever quarterly loss by any bank in the fourth quarter of 2017-18, says it has already recovered Rs 6,000 crore by the end of the first week of June, compared with Rs 5,617 crore in all of 2016-17. In addition, it expects to raise some money from stake sales in its subsidiaries and other entities as part of the reforms agenda of public sector banks that are battling high ratios of bad loans and frauds.

Tell me more:PNB’s total liability due to the Nirav Modi scam is around Rs 14,357 crore, of which it said it has provided 50% and the rest will be covered in the remaining three quarters of 2018-19.

 

2

What is it?The number of memoranda of understanding that China and India signed last week.

Why is it important?One MoU pertains to China sharing with India hydrological data about the Brahmaputra river. This data contains the distribution, movement and quality of water, which is an indicator of the water levels of the river and is useful in creating flood alerts for India’s northeastern states. Last year, China stopped sharing this data soon after the 73-day Doklam standoff between its troops and the Indian Army. It will share the data twice every day until October.

Tell me more:Beijing provides the information from three hydrological stations, for which India pays Rs 1 crore per year.

 

17

What is it?The number of grand slam titles won by Rafael Nadal of Spain.

Why is it important? On Sunday, Nadal won the French Open, beating Dominic Thiem of Belgium in straight sets. Nadal is closing in on the all-time record of archrival Roger Federer, who found new ways to win in 2017 to nudge his grand slam tally to 20. After his win, Nadal said while he would like to overhaul Federer, he wasn’t obsessive about such records.

Tell me more:Of Nadal’s 17 grand slam titles, 11 are on the clay of Paris. He’s played the French Open 14 times, and accumulated a staggering win-loss record of 86-3 there.

 

75%

What is it?The percentage of voters in Switzerland who rejected via a referandum a radical proposal to overhaul the Swiss banking system. All the 26 Swiss cantons also voted against it.

Why is it important?The proposal entailed prohibiting commercial banks from lending more money than they had in deposits, leaving the country’s central bank as the only source of new money. Those supporting the proposal said they were seeking to strengthen the banking system and protect people’s savings from bank runs.

Tell me more:As of December 2016, there were 261 banks in Switzerlandand their total balance sheet size was $3.1 trillion.

 

3.7%

What is it?The percentage of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) that was lost due to violence in 2017.

Why is it important?In a recent report, the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) has calculated the economic costs of violence globally, defining it as the expenditure and economic effect related to containing, preventing and dealing with the consequences of violence.

Tell me more:With a spending of $186 billion, the report ranked India fourth on spending to contain global violence, with most of the spending going towards military spending.

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Hung House

111

What is it? The number of seats a party or an alliance requires to form the government in Karnataka.

Why is it important? Though the initial trends pointed towards BJP securing a simple majority, its final tally fell seven short of the halfway mark for 222 seats, where elections were held in the state. While the BJP, as the single-largest party, wants a first crack at forming the government, the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) combine have staked a claim to power. It remains to be seen if BJP makes its entry into the south or if Congress is able to retain its only big state ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Tell me more: Although the Congress has won more seats than JD(S), it has agreed for the latter’s leader HD Kumaraswamy to be their chief ministerial candidate.

 

2.5 million

What is it? The number of pieces of hate speech removed by Facebook in the first quarter of 2018, of which 38% were flagged by its technology.

Why is it important? Hate speech was one of the six areas in which Facebook took action against content posted on its platform. On Tuesday, it reported its numbers in these six areas in its first Community Standards Enforcement Preliminary Report. It admitted its technology didn’t work that well for hate speech. By comparison, Facebook took down 21 million pieces of adult nudity and sexual activity, 96% of which were found and flagged by its technology, before they were reported.

Tell me more: Facebook estimates that of every 10,000 pieces of content viewed on Facebook, 7 to 9 views were of content that violated its adult nudity and pornography standards.

 

Rs 13,416.9 crore

What is it? Punjab National Bank’s (PNB) net loss in the fourth quarter of 2017-18, compared with a net profit of Rs 261.9 crore in the year-ago period.

Why is it important? It is the lender’s (and any domestic bank’s) biggest ever quarterly net loss due to the hit it has taken from the Nirav Modi scam, India’s biggest banking fraud. The bank said it had provided for Rs 7,178 crore on account of the scam, which is 50% of the total, in the last quarter. It will provide for the remaining amount in the next three quarters.

Tell me more: PNB’s total provisions and contingencies in the quarter stood at Rs 20,353 crore compared to Rs 5,753 crore a year ago.

 

15

What is it?The number of people feared dead as on Tuesday evening (8.15 pm) after a flyover collapsed in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Media reports differ on the death toll, though the range was between 12 and 20.

Why is it important? Many were trapped dead after a portion of an under-construction flyover collapsed, crushing people and vehicles underneath. Of those trapped, many of them are labourers working on flyover construction. A total of 1,885 people died in 2015 due to a collapse of structures, or 0.6% of the total accident deaths in India.

Tell me more: The Uttar Pradesh government has set up a three-member committee to probe the incident and announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the families of those killed in the incident.

 

40 years

What is it? The number of years that former Australian cricketer Bill Lawry did cricket commentary. On Tuesday, the 81-year-old announced his retirement.

Why is it important? One of the distinctive voices of Channel Nine, Bill Lawry calling it a day as a cricket commentator is symbolic of possibly the biggest shift underway in the Australian cricket broadcasting landscape since the Kerry Packer days. Earlier this year, Seven and Fox Sports ended Channel Nine’s four decade-long association with broadcasting cricket in Australia.

Tell me more: Lawry, who also captained Australia, is known for his excitable style of commentary that produced articulations that have since become lore, like “it’s all happening” (to describe a busy passage of play) and “bang” (a big hit).

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India’s History May Be Rewritten

 

6

What is it? The number of months since the Indian government set up a committee of scholars for the “holistic study of origin and evolution of Indian culture since 12,000 years before present and its interface with other cultures of the world”.

Why is it important? The 14-member committee aims to use evidence, including archaeological finds and DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), to prove that current day’s Hindus are descendants of the first inhabitants of this land and that ancient Hindu scriptures are factual accounts. This panel is said to be a part of bigger plans to rewrite India’s history and its findings could be included in school textbooks and academic research.

Tell me more: There have been instances of school textbooks being rewritten, most of it with respect to the Indian history, in the last few years. The underlying idea seems to be to change the idea of India and define the contours of national identity in consonance with it.

 

31

What is it? The number of banks, both state-run and private, that were in the consortium that extended working capital loans worth Rs 5,280 crore to Mehul Choksi-controlled Gitanjali Gems, beginning 2009.

Why is it important? On Tuesday, in an apparent widening of the probe into the alleged bank fraud by companies linked to Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) summoned senior executives of ICICI Bank, which led the consortium, and Axis Bank.

Tell me more: Since April 2007, banks reportedly entered into 151 loan transactions with Gitanjali Gems, with the most recent being Rs 40 crore by Syndicate Bank in December 2016 and Rs 60 crore by ICICI Bank in August 2016. Today, the SFIO is expected to question the MD and CEO of Punjab National Bank, which is the worst hit by this fraud.

 

11 years

What is it? The number of years since the last inter-Korean summit, in 2007. The last time North Korea was on the talks table was 2008-09, in a six-party dialogue comprising Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, US and North Korea, which eventually collapsed.

Why is it important? In what are being seen as signs of rapprochement, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is slated to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the end of April, a senior South Korean diplomat said on his return from the North on Tuesday. The diplomat added that North Korea was willing to hold talks with the US on de-nuclearisation if the safety of Kim Jong-un’s regime was guaranteed.

Tell me more: The US and North Korea have been locked in a war of words. North Korea ranks ninth in terms of its nuclear arsenal.

 

Rs 45,000 crore

What is it? The amount Reliance Communications (RCom) owes to banks, as of March 2017.

Why is it important? An arbitration court has restrained RCom from selling or transferring assets without its permission. This deals a blow to its efforts to pare its debt by selling its wireless assets to Reliance Jio Infocomm for over Rs 20,000 crore, which was set to be completed by the end of this month. Anil Ambani-backed RCom has moved the Bombay High Court against this order.

Tell me more: The Indian subsidiary of Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson, which had signed a seven-year agreement in 2014 to operate and manage RCom’s network, had filed insolvency petitions last September to claim unpaid dues of Rs 1,150 crore.

 

10

What is it? The number of days for which Sri Lanka has declared a nationwide state of emergency to quell anti-Muslim riots.

Why is it important? This is the first such emergency imposed since the civil war that was the result of ethnic tension between the Sinhalese and Sri Lankan Tamils. At least two people have been killed, and dozens of mosques and homes damaged. The special measures give the government sweeping powers to arrest suspects and detain them for longer periods and deploy forces where required.

Tell me more: Muslims account for 7.6% of Sri Lankan population, as per Census 2001. The latest violence is said to have erupted after a group of Muslim men in Digana town were accused of killing a man from the Sinhalese Buddhist community, which constitute three-fourths of the country’s population.

 

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

 

 

5

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.

 

49

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.

 

64

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.

 

66

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.

 

4

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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