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100 Men, 0 Women

0

What is it? The number of women in the top 100 highest-paid sportspersons, according to the Forbes’ 2018 ranking.

Why is it important? The 2017 list had only one woman: tennis player Serena Williams, who took a break to give birth. The absence of women in this list highlights the glaring gender divide that exists in the sporting world. In 2018, American boxer Floyd Mayweather was the world’s top-paid sportsperson, earning $275 million of his $285 million from 36 minutes of work in the ring.

Tell me more: Besides Mayweather, the top 10 list of sportspersons includes three from soccer (Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar), two apiece from American football and basketball, and one each from tennis and mixed martial arts.

25

What is it? The increase in repo rate (in basis points), the rate at which the central bank lends to commercial ones, to 6.25%.

Why is it important? This is the first hike in over four years (since January 2014), driven by inflationary concerns, mainly due to an increase in oil prices and a weak currency. This would prompt banks to increase their benchmark lending rates, which some have already done, making home and auto loans more expensive. The monetary policy committee (MPC) was unanimous in revising policy rates upwards.

Tell me more: The last change in policy rates was a reduction of the repo rate by 25 basis points to 6% in August 2017. On Wednesday, the MPC also increased the reverse repo rate to 6% from 5.75%.

3

What is it? The quantity of stockpile of sugar, in million tonnes, India is looking to build, as part of a few measures cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs for the sugar industry.

Why is it important? Besides this, food minister Ram Vilas Paswan said the government will offer soft loans worth Rs 4,400 crore to sugar mills to expand ethanol production capacity. These measures are to bail out mills, who have been unable to pay farmers on time, even as sugar prices dropped to their lowest in 28 months following a record production of 31.6 million tonnes in 2017-18. Mills owe farmers Rs 22,000 crore, which could jump to a record Rs 25,000 in the 2017-18 season.

Tell me more:In addition, the government has fixed a floor price of Rs 29 per kilogram. The measures announced would require a sum of Rs 7,000 crore.

25

What is it? The number of Karnataka ministers in the 15-day-old HD Kumaraswamy government who took oath on Wednesday.

Why is it important? The cabinet expansion comes amidst fresh outbreak of infighting in the Congress. Congress’ DK Shivakumar, who played a crucial role in preventing defections from the party after the polls returned a hung verdict, wanted to be deputy chief minister, but settled for two portfolios. It reportedly became difficult to accommodate two from the powerful Vokkaliga caste (Shivakumar and Kumaraswamy) at the top without displeasing other sections, even as some party leaders are reportedly upset at Shivakumar bagging two ministries.

Tell me more: Of the 25 ministers who took the oath of office on Wednesday, 14 are from Congress, nine from Janata Dal (Secular), and one each from Bahujan Samaj Party and Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party.

$256 billion

What is it? The value of American goods imported in 2017 by the 28 EU(European Union) nations.

Why is it important? The US and EU are locked in a trade standoff. Last week, the US added EU to the list of nations on which it would impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports. On Wednesday, the EU targeted $3.3 billion of US imports for retaliatory action, imposing tariffs on certain items with effect from July.

Tell me more: Besides steel, EU will impose tariffs on industrial and agricultural products, including bourbon, peanut butter, cranberries and orange juice.

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A Setback For Air India

6%

What is it? The repo rate, or the rate at which the central bank lends money to commercial banks. In its first bi-monthly monetary policy meeting for 2018-19 on Thursday, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) held this rate at this level.

Why is it important? The decision, which was widely expected, comes against the backdrop of moderate inflation even as the central bank maintains a neutral stance of monetary policy. It reduced its estimates for inflation for 2018-19. The central bank’s monetary policy committee, however, warned that the upside risks to inflation have increased due to strengthening aggregate demand, fiscal slippage and rising global crude oil prices.

Tell me more: The RBI switched back to the GDP way, which reflects economic growth from the consumers’ perspective or demand, from the GVA (gross value added) that measures it from the producers’ or supply side, to conform to international practices.

 

4.4%

What is it? The gain in the share price of InterGlobe Aviation, which operates leading domestic airline IndiGo, on Thursday in a broad market that rose 1.8%.

Why is it important? Yesterday, IndiGo released a statement saying it would not bid for state-run Air India under the current sale terms. IndiGo said it was primarily interested in Air India’s international operations and would not be able to absorb the entire domestic piece of Air India. IndiGo’s withdrawal is a setback to Air India’s sale, as it was one of the better-placed airlines to take on this task.

Tell me more: The last date for submission of expression of interest for Air India is May 14 and the government hopes to announce the winning bid by May 28.

 

5

What is it? The number of years for which Hindi movie actor Salman Khan has been sent to prison after he was found guilty of violating wildlife laws by killing two blackbucks, an endangered species of antelope, in 1998, by a court in Rajasthan.

Why is it important? This is the fourth case related to poaching animals (in 1998) against the actor, of which he was acquitted in the first three. The popular actor with many box-office hits has had several brushes with the law. Last year, he was acquitted in a case related to the use of illegal arms to kill blackbucks and in a 2002 hit-and-run case where a homeless man lost his life.

Tell me more: Others accused in the poaching case, including actors Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre, have been acquitted. Khan will reportedly appeal against the sentence and has already submitted a plea for bail.

 

Rs 6,138.1 crore

What is it? The bid amount, a record, for which Star India won the worldwide rights for television and digital broadcast of international and domestic cricket matches in India for the next five years.

Why is it important? With this, the fully-owned subsidiary of 21st Century Fox, has a virtual monopoly in the cricket broadcasting space after having clinched the IPL rights for Rs 16,347 crore for the period 2018 to 2022 last September. It also jointly owns the audio-visual broadcast rights with Star Middle East for ICC tournaments for the period 2015 to 2023.

Tell me more: The average cost per match of the Indian cricket media rights awarded on Thursday is around Rs 60 crore, higher than the average cost per IPL game (2018-22) of Rs 54.5 crore.

 

+5

What is it? The number of shots over par that Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma posted in the first round at the US Masters in Augusta, the first golf major of 2018, including

Why is it important? The 21-year-old Sharma is a special invitee to this year’s edition of golf’s blue riband event, an invitation that was extended to him after a series of notable performances earlier in the year. Sharma, ranked 72 in the world, was placed 73 at the end of round 1 and is in danger of missing the halfway cut.

Tell me more: At the end of round 1, Jordan Spieth led the tournament with a score of –6. Tiger Woods, making a return to majors, carded a score of +1 to be placed 29.

 

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The 28-Hour Working Week

28 hours

What is it? The number of weekly working hours that 900,000 worker-members of IG Metall, a German labour union, can opt for up to two years, for a lower salary, before returning to the standard 35-hour week.

Why is it important? The pact covers 900,000 workers in the metals and electrical industries in a region where several top industrial groups of Germany are based, including Daimler and Bosch. More importantly, IG Metall agreements are seen as industry benchmarks in Germany, and similar pacts could be seen in other sectors also, giving a major victory to German workers for a better work-life balance.

Tell me more: According to the International Labour Organisation, in 2016, the mean working hours per week per employed person varied from 32 hours (Netherlands) to 50 hours (Qatar).

 

12 days

What is it? The number of days between Wall Street Journal publishing a story accusing Steve Wynn of a pattern of sexual misconduct over the years and him resigning as CEO and chairman of Wynn Resorts, late Tuesday.

Why is it important? The #MeToo movement has seen many women in the US come out about the sexual harassment they faced, but those complaints and experiences centred around Hollywood and famous women actors. While 76-year-old Wynn is a public figure, and founder and CEO of a listed company whose 2017 revenues were $6.1 billion, his accusers are not famous. Hence, his resignation is being seen as significant for gender relations in the existing power constructs.

Tell me more: Trading in the Wynn Macau stock on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange was halted yesterday. Since the WSJ story broke, shares of flagship Wynn Resorts are down 12%.

 

Rs 300 crore

What is it? The combined income declared by five of the seven national political parties (BJP and Congress are excluded here) for 2016-17.

Why is it important? According to a report released yesterday by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had the highest income, of Rs 173.58 crore in 2016-17, a year in which Uttar Pradesh, the party’s main state of influence, went for elections. This illustrates how income of political parties tends to spike in the lead up to elections. However, BSP spent only 30% of this amount during the year. Grants/donations/contributions formed 40% of the income of these five parties.

Tell me more: The two highest income declarers of the previous year, BJP and Congress, are yet to declare their incomes for 2016-17, and were overdue more than three months.

 

6 months

What is it? The current duration for which India’s central bank has now held the repo rate—the key interest rate in the banking system—at 6%.

Why is it important? At the meeting of its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) yesterday, it expectedly chose to maintain status quo on interest rates. In its last few meetings, the government and industry were, at times, holding out for a cut. Such optimism was missing this time, with inflation on the rise, share markets in turmoil and the US signaling higher rates. The Reserve Bank of India yesterday warned about inflation, projecting a band of 5.1-5.6% for the Consumer Price Index in the first half of 2018-19.

Tell me more: Of the six members in the MPC, five voted in favour of holding rates, while one member, Michael Patra, wanted a 0.25 percentage point increase.

 

400

What is it? The number of dismissals effected by MS Dhoni in one-day internationals. He crossed the 400 mark yesterday when he stumped South Africa’s Aiden Markram off Kuldeep Yadav, in a match that India convincingly won.

Why is it important? Dhoni is only the fourth wicket-keeper, and the first Indian, to cross 400 dismissals in one-day internationals. Kumar Sangakkara leads with 482 dismissals, followed by Adam Gilchrist (472) and Mark Boucher (424). Among the four, Dhoni has the lowest average dismissals per innings, of 1.293.

Tell me more: It was telling that Dhoni’s 400th dismissal was a stumping. He leads all keepers in stumpings (106 dismissals), a testimony to the greater reliance on spin bowlers by India compared to some other sides.

 

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Person Of The Year: The Silence Breakers

 

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”

Last month, several women who had experienced sexual harassment came out on Facebook and narrated their bitter experiences with #Metoo. Some of these experiences were fairly recent and some were decades old. But, their memories of the incident/s was just as new. The ripple effect of this movement shook Hollywood the most and has slowly engulfed few senators in the US parliament as well. This year Times Magazine has declared these Silence Breakers as the ‘Person of the year’.  Why is it important, you ask? Read on.

 

3

What is it? The number of times since 2007 when Time magazine’s Person of the Year was not one person, but a group or a movement. On Wednesday, Time declared ‘The Silence Breakers’—the women who have spoken out against sexual harassment and sexual assault at the workplace—as its 2017 Person of the Year.

Why is it important? As actor after actor came out against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, it emboldened more women and men to narrate their incidents of sexual assault by men in positions of power. This had a domino effect, trickling down to the masses through the Twitter hashtag #MeToo, and bringing sexual harassment at the workplace into conversations and actions than ever before. The well-known names accused include actors Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman, Tv host Bill O’Reilly and Silicon Valley investor Shervin Pishevar.

Tell me more: Time bestows this title to someone who impacted the world in a significant way, positive or negative. The previous two occasions since 2007 when it was not given to one person was 2014 (The Ebola Fighters) and 2011 (The Protestor).

 

92%

What is it? The amount by which cryptocurrency Bitcoin has increased in the past month. On Wednesday, it roared past the $13,000 mark.

Why is it important? The latest price rise comes in amid news that Chicago exchanges CBOE Global Markets and CME Group have received regulatory approval to launch Bitcoin futures, and are planning to do so on December 10 and December 18, respectively. It’s a move that has sparked new bouts of concern about regulatory preparedness and systemic risk for this one-of-a-kind asset class.

Tell me more: Two disparate events in the past week highlight the contrast in Bitcoin: on the one hand, South Korean financial regulators banned Bitcoin futures; on the other, the Winklevoss twins, who sued Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg over the claim that he stole the idea for the social network from them, have become billionaires on the back of their investment in Bitcoin.

 

5

What is it? The maximum number of players a franchise can retain for the upcoming seasons of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Why is it important? It means each franchise has some chance to hold on to their core players, while all other players go into the auction pool again. Details of the announcement come as a shot in the arm for the two franchises that were handed a two-year ban in 2015 for illegal betting and financial irregularities, Chennai and Rajasthan. Their retention pool includes former players who joined the Gujarat and Pune teams in the interim, paving the way for MS Dhoni to rejoin his old team Chennai.

Tell me more: A franchise will retain players via two routes: retention before the auction (maximum three players) and right to match a bid in an auction (maximum three players, with a total of five under the two heads). Further, the salary cap of each IPL team has been increased from Rs 66 crore to Rs 80 crore.

 

6%

What is it? The rate at which India’s central bank held the benchmark repo rate—the interest rate at which it lends to banks—at its bimonthly policy review on Wednesday.

Why is it important? This the second consecutive review in which the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has not touched the benchmark repo rate. This is despite clamor from industry and the government to do so in order to spur economic growth. The RBI noted risks to inflation, but expressed optimism that the slowdown in economic growth had bottomed out.

Tell me more: Five of the six MPC members—Chetan Ghate, Pami Dua, Michael Debabrata Patra, Viral Acharya and Urjit Patel—were in favour of the monetary policy decision. Only one member, Ravindra Dholakia, voted for a policy rate reduction of 0.25 percentage point.

 

Rs 17.38 crore

What is it? The amount Infosys agreed to pay former chief financial officer Rajiv Bansal as severance pay in October 2015.

Why is it important? On Wednesday, Infosys filed a consent plea, without admitting wrongdoing, with capital market regulator Sebi (Securities and Exchange Board of India) over governance and disclosure issues related to this payout. Governance experts have expressed unhappiness over the latest move by Infosys—for long cited as the marker in corporate governance in India Inc—to handle the issue, seeing it more as a way of achieving closure rather than coming clean on it.

Tell me more: The severance pay to Bansal was one of the flashpoints in a tussle earlier this year that saw the Infosys board and previous CEO Vishal Sikka on one side and Infosys co-founders, notably NR Narayana Murthy, on the other side. Sikka was eventually ousted and the board had a new chair in Nandan Nilekani.

 

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