Weekly Current Affairs

Welcome to the Endeavor Editors’ Weekly Current Affairs Choicest Blog series. Get a weekly roundup – of news from business, economy, markets, policy, and more. A quick capsule format news summary and update to keep you abreast with all the latest current affairs.

1) International News and Global Economy

Ukraine says Russia pounding Donbas, failing to take targets

Russian forces pounded Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region on Apr 30 but failed to capture three target areas, Ukraine’s military said, while Moscow said Western sanctions on Russia and arms shipments to Ukraine were impeding peace negotiations. The Russians were trying to capture the areas of Lyman in Donetsk and Sievierodonetsk and Popasna in Luhansk, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said in a daily update. “Not succeeding – the fighting continues,” it said. After failing to capture Kyiv in a nine-week assault that has turned cities to rubble, killed thousands, and forced 5 million Ukrainians to flee abroad, Russia is now focusing on the east and south of Ukraine. Moscow hopes to take full control of the eastern Donbas region made up of Luhansk and Donetsk, parts of which were already controlled by Russian-backed separatists before the invasion. Moscow said on Saturday its artillery units had struck 389 Ukrainian targets overnight.

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Russia’s Shifting Military Strategy for Ukraine’s Donbas, Explained | WSJ

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Ukraine war: Resistance to Russian rouble in Kherson

The Russian rouble will be used in Kherson from Sunday, according to Russia-backed forces that have taken control of the southern Ukrainian city. However, Kherson’s Ukrainian mayor, Ihor Kolykhaiev, who has now been overthrown by Russian authorities, has said that he doesn’t believe this will be possible while the only working banking system in the region is Ukrainian, not Russian. Around 40% of the population has fled in the two months since this key, the strategic city was taken by Russia, according to the mayor. Ukrainian authorities had suggested that Russia could try to hold a referendum in the region on 1 May, asking voters whether they want independence from Ukraine. Any attempt to do this would be seen as a way to legitimize Russia’s intervention, suggesting that residents no longer want to be part of Ukraine and painting Russia as liberators.

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Russia has made $66 billion from fuel exports since it invaded Ukraine – and the EU is still its biggest buyer, a study finds

Russia earned $66 billion from fossil fuel imports in the two months since its invasion of Ukraine as it profited from surging commodity prices despite facing tough sanctions, according to a study by an independent research group. Of that, the European Union imported 71% of Russian fossil fuels worth $46 billion through shipments and gas pipelines, the report by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air showed. This compares with imports worth roughly $147 billion for the whole of 2021, or about $12.3 billion a month, the Guardian reported. Germany was the largest importer — receiving orders worth $9.6 billion. Italy, China, Netherlands, Turkey, and France were the next biggest buyers, the study found. The research highlights how Russia has continued to benefit from energy exports, a key source of revenue for the economy, despite Western nations moving to sanction the country over its aggression in Ukraine.

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Germany takes Italy to UN court over Nazi-era compensation claims

In a submission to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Germany says Italy continues to allow cases in its domestic courts despite a 2012 ruling that such claims were inadmissible. It says that, since that ruling, over 25 new cases have been filed in Italy. In some of those, the courts have ruled that Germany should pay compensation. Berlin says it is bringing the complaint now because of two ongoing cases that could see properties in Rome owned by the German state seized to finance compensation payments. A court in Italy says it will decide by 25 May whether to force the sale of certain buildings, some of which house German cultural, historical, and educational institutions. The dispute dates back to 2008 when Italy’s highest court ruled that Germany should pay around €1m (£840,000) to relatives of nine people who were among 203 killed by German forces in Tuscany in 1944. Germany argues it has already paid out billions of euros to countries impacted by World War II since the conflict ended in 1945.

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Five takeaways from the UN’s latest 3,000-page climate report

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released its latest 3,000-page report on how humanity can avoid compounding catastrophe if nations take sufficient action to do so. The new report updates previous work by the IPCC — its last work on this topic came out in 2014 — as well as assessing the potential of technology and offering evidence that climate action, done right, can improve the health and wellbeing of people around the world. To fall back below the 1.5°C targets by 2100, the IPCC wrote, practices and policies — many of them still embryonic — would have to draw down almost a decade of CO2 emissions, according to scenarios that “are subject to increased feasibility concerns.”

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2) India

Gen Manoj Pande takes charge as Army chief

Gen Manoj Pande took charge as the 29th Chief of the Army Staff on Saturday after incumbent Gen MM Naravane retired from service. Gen Pande, who was serving as the vice chief, became the first officer from the Corps of Engineers to helm the force. Before taking charge as vice chief of the Army on February 1, Gen Pande was heading the Eastern Army Command, tasked with guarding the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh sectors. Gen Pande took charge of the Army at a time India is facing myriad security challenges, including along the borders with China and Pakistan. As the Army chief, he will also have to coordinate with the Navy and the Indian Air Force on the government’s plan to roll out theatre commands. The theaterisation plan was being implemented by India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat who died in a helicopter crash in December last. The government is yet to appoint Gen Rawat’s successor.

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New Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande takes charge, His key priorities; Guard of Honour for Gen Naravane

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The second India-Nordic summit: A huge impetus to regional partnership

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Germany, Denmark, and France beginning May 2, marking his first foreign tour this year. Some of his most significant engagements during this tour would probably be in Copenhagen, Denmark, which he will visit bilaterally as also for the second India-Nordic Summit with leaders of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. As per Nordic statistics, the total bilateral trade in goods and services between India and the Nordic countries is $13 billion. Over the last four years, PM Modi has interacted extensively with all the Nordic leaders. All these countries figure among the top achievers in several areas of human endeavor, particularly innovation, clean energy, green technologies, and education. These present enormous opportunities for India to plug into the strengths of these countries for mutual benefit. The significance of this event can be assessed from the fact that the US is the only other country with which the Nordic states have an engagement at the summit level.

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Indian, French armies hold staff talks to boost cooperation

Staff talks between the armies of India and France were held on Friday to enhance cooperation with the two entities, an official statement from the Indian Army said. “The talks were focused on issues related to military training, military education, joint exercises, and defence cooperation between the two armies,” it said on Twitter. This was the 18th round of staff talks between the two armies. India and France have close defence ties. During his visit to France in February, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said India looks at France as a “trusted” partner in countering myriad security challenges, from the seabed to space, and from cyber to oceans.

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India sees warmest March in 122 years, lowest rainfall since 1908

India recorded its warmest March in 122 years with a severe heatwave scorching large swatches of the country during the month, the Indian Meteorological Department said. The weather department attributed the unusual heat to the lack of rainfall due to the absence of active western disturbances over north India and any major system over south India. The country as a whole recorded a rainfall of 8.9 mm, which was 71 percent less than its long period average rainfall of 30.4 mm. It was also the third-lowest precipitation in March since 1901 after 7.2 mm in 1909 and 8.7 mm in 1908. The countrywide average minimum temperature of 20.24 degrees Celsius in March this year was the third-highest in 122 years after 20.26 degrees Celsius in 1953 and 20.25 degrees Celsius in 2010.

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India heatwave leaves millions struggling to cope – BBC News

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Rlys cancels around 42 trains across two zones to facilitate coal freight movement

The railways have canceled 42 passenger trains so far to facilitate coal freight movement in the wake of a power crisis in various parts of the country, causing inconvenience to people traveling to and from coal-producing states such as Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, and Jharkhand. The South East Central Railway (SECR) division that covers the coal-producing regions has canceled 34 passenger trains, while the Northern Railways (NR), the division that receives coal for many power stations in the north, has canceled eight trains. The Central Electricity Authority’s (CEA) daily coal-stock report states that 56 of 165 thermal power stations are left with 10 percent or less coal, and at least 26 have less than five percent stock left. India’s 70 percent electricity demand is fulfilled through coal. Railway officials said that the national transporter has put 533 rakes for coal duty a day, 53 more than what was put into service last year. On Thursday, 1.62 million tonnes of coal were loaded in 427 rakes.

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USTR places India on the priority watch list, again

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) again placed India on the ‘Priority Watch List’ along with China, Russia, and four others, for lack of adequate intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement. In its Annual Special 301 Report that identifies trade barriers to American companies due to IP laws of other countries, the USTR said that India remained one of the most challenging economies for IP enforcement and protection and the country’s overall IP enforcement was inadequate. While India’s accession to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Performances and Phonograms Treaty and WIPO Copyright Treaty, collectively known as the WIPO Internet Treaties, in 2018 and the Nice Agreement in 2019 were positive steps, the USTR said the potential threat of patent revocations, lack of presumption of patent validity and narrow patentability criteria under the Indian Patents Act impact companies across different sectors. The USTR said despite India’s justifications for limiting IP protections as a way to promote access to technologies, India maintains high customs duties on IP-intensive products such as medical devices, pharmaceuticals, information, and communications technology products, and solar energy equipment, and capital goods.

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Indonesia export ban traps 290,000 T of palm oil shipments for India

Indonesia’s wider palm oil export ban has trapped at least 290,000 tonnes of the edible oil meant to be headed to India at ports and oil mills in the world’s top producer. The disruption in shipments after Indonesia widened its export ban to include crude and refined palm oil will create a vegetable oil shortage in top importer India, the officials said. Second-biggest exporter Malaysia is already struggling to meet higher demand levels and is asking for near-record prices for prompt shipments, they said. India is the world’s biggest importer of palm oil and relies on Indonesia for nearly half of the 700,000 tonnes it takes every month. Palm oil – used in everything from cakes and frying fats to cosmetics and cleaning products – accounts for nearly 60% of global vegetable oil shipments, and top producer Indonesia accounts for around a third of all vegetable oil exports.

For details visit here.

Oil crunch: Indonesia introduces palm oil export ban | DW News

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3) Economy

India, UAE CEPA to come into force on May 1, $40 billion exports likely in FY23

The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and the United Arab Emirates will come into force on May 1, which would allow 90% of the country’s exports duty-free access to the Emirates. The CEPA is likely to benefit about $26 billion worth of Indian products that are currently subjected to 5% import duty by the UAE, India’s third-biggest trading partner behind the US and China. “We expect exports to go up to $40 billion this year from around $26 billion last year, led by labor-intensive sectors such as gems and jewelry,” said Ajay Sahai, director-general, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO). Sahai said that India’s $250 million to the UAE of pharma exports could see a sharp increase as both sides have also agreed to a separate Annex on pharmaceuticals to facilitate access to Indian pharmaceuticals products, especially automatic registration and marketing authorization in 90 days for products meeting specified criteria.

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Indian Economy may take 12 Years to recoup pandemic losses: RBI Report

The Indian economy may take more than a decade to overcome the losses emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic, said a report published by the Reserve Bank of India. In an analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, the report has estimated the output losses during the pandemic period at around ? 52 lakh crore. With the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, the downward risks to global and domestic growth are getting accentuated through a surge in commodity prices and global supply chain disruptions, it noted. “The pandemic is a watershed moment and the ongoing structural changes catalyzed by the pandemic can potentially alter the growth trajectory in the medium-term,” the report said.

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At Rs 1.68 lakh crore, GST collection scales to an all-time high in April 2022

The monthly collection under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) peaked at an all-time high of Rs 1.68 lakh crore in April 2022, according to a statement by the Finance Ministry on May 1. The gross GST collection has crossed the Rs 1.5 lakh crore mark for the first time in April 2022 and the Rs 1 lakh crore mark for the tenth month in a row. The Finance Ministry attributed the rise in GST collections to the ongoing economic recovery along with anti-evasion activities and the various rate rationalization measures undertaken by the GST Council to correct inverted duty structures.

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4) Markets, Banking, and Finance

Sensex tanks over 900 pts from day’s high on fag-end selloff; key factors that led the fall

In yet another disappointing end to the week, Indian equities gyrated over 1,000 points after facing intense selling pressure in the final hour of the session, dragging benchmarks sharply lower. Erasing initial gains amid a choppy session, the 30-share pack Sensex declined 460.19 points or 0.80% to close at 57,060.87. Axis Bank, Reliance, and Infosys were top index drags. The Nifty Bank index fell nearly 1 percent. Power Grid, State Bank of India, Titan, and NTPC were among the major laggards in the Sensex pack. The benchmark indexes have lost more than 2% in April, hurt by weak earnings from domestic technology firms, fears over the fallout of the Ukraine war, surging inflation, and strong policy tightening signals from the Fed.

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Zomato hits all-time low, wipes out half of the investor wealth in the first 4 months of 2022

Shares of Zomato hit a new lifetime low on 29th April, as the selloff in the counter continued amid rising pessimism over the counter. The food delivery platform has wiped out almost half of the investors’ wealth in 2022 so far. The scrip has dropped about 12 percent in the month of April itself. The order from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has wreaked havoc on the counter. Prior to this, the sharp selloff in new-age tech platform stocks jittered the sentiments. On April 4, the commission had ordered a detailed probe against food delivery platforms such as Swiggy and Zomato for alleged unfair business practices with respect to their dealings with restaurant partners. Institutional investors have been trimming their stake in the company in the March 2022 quarter. Domestic mutual funds have sold 83 million equity shares or 1.1 percent stake in the company to own 2.82 percent.

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5) Business

Adani Power becomes the sixth group firm to pop into the Rs 1 trillion club

Adani Power became the sixth group firm to hit Rs 1 trillion (lakh crore) market capitalization as the stock hit an all-time high of Rs 270.80 on 25th April and rose as much as five percent from the previous close. Shares have surged over 165 percent this year and gained 46 percent this month. Earlier, Adani Green Energy, Adani Transmission, Adani Total Gas, Adani Enterprises, and Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone hit this milestone. Power stocks have risen since the start of the year on expectations that energy generation companies may report strong results in the fourth quarter of 2021-22. Also, experts said that these companies may have witnessed better cash flows on payment of dues from power discoms. As the temperature has soared across the country since mid-March, there has been a sudden increase in power demand, widening the demand-supply gap.

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Tata Motors seeks to lead EV movement in India, have global aspirations, says N Chandrasekaran

Tata Motors will continue to lead electrification in India’s automobile industry and aim to take its electric vehicles to global markets, leveraging the strength of a conglomerate that is getting also into local manufacturing of battery cells and semiconductors, Tata Group chairman N Chandrasekaran said. Tata Motors, which has made a commitment to invest $2 billion in the EV sector, will use its new Gen-3 platform to make electric vehicles for the global markets. Chandrasekaran unveiled a concept electric car, Avinya, based on the Gen-3 platform. Under the ‘One Tata’ approach, already group companies like Tata Power, Tata AutoComp, Tata Elxi, and Tata Technologies contribute significantly towards Tata Motors’ EV plans. Very soon, the group will announce a battery and cell localization plan. Apart from EVs, the chairman said there was a significant amount of work going on in the autonomous car technology, fuel cell vehicles for the commercial vehicle segment, and connected car solutions, which would drive the future EV adoption.

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Startups shed flab amid a slowdown in large funding rounds

Over the past few weeks, more than 1,800 contractual and full-time employees have been fired from ed-tech firm Unacademy, social commerce startups Meesho and Trell, online learning platform Lido Learning and furniture rental startup Furlenco. Some of these companies may look to cut more jobs, people in the know said. The trend is likely to play out further, though the early-stage funding ecosystem has yet to significantly taper off. Investors have begun to ask high-growth companies to go back to basics — chase profits and reduce their cash burn. Industry experts say if these startups fail to raise newer rounds, the layoffs could deepen amid a funding slowdown.

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IndiGo becomes the first airline to land aircraft using indigenous navigation system GAGAN

IndiGo became the first airline in the country to land aircraft using the indigenous navigation system GAGAN, according to a statement issued on April 28. The flight was conducted using an ATR-72 aircraft and landed at the Kishangarh airport in Rajasthan on April 27 morning, using GPS-aided geo-augmented navigation (GAGAN), which has been jointly developed by the Centre-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the statement issued by IndiGo said. GAGAN is used to provide lateral and vertical guidance when an aircraft is approaching a runway for landing. Its precision is especially useful at small airports where the instrument landing system (ILS) has not been installed. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued a mandate for all aircraft registered in India after July 1, 2021, to be fitted with GAGAN equipment, it added.

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India’s big feat in the Asia Pacific: IndiGo uses Made-In-India tech GAGAN to landplane

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KVIC posts Rs 1.15 lakh crore turnover in 2021-22, beats all FMCG firms

Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has become the first organization in India in the FMCG category to have a turnover of over Rs 1 lakh crore. KVIC’s turnover surged to Rs 1.15 lakh crore in the financial year ended March 2022, the government data showed. KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said innovative schemes, creative marketing ideas, and active support from various ministries have led to growth in the Khadi sector. In the last couple of years, KVIC’s main focus has been to create sustainable employment for artisans and unemployed youth. Faced with economic distress, a large number of youths took up self-employment and manufacturing activities under PMEGP which increased the production in the village industry sector, the ministry said.

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Xiaomi’s Rs 5,551 crore Assets seized over Forex violations: Probe Agency

Central probe agency Enforcement Directorate (ED) today seized over ? 5,500 crores from Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi over violations of the Indian foreign exchange law. The action has been taken against Xiaomi Technology India Private Limited. The company has, however, claimed that all its operations “are firmly compliant” with local laws and regulations. The ED seized ? 5,551.27 crores from the bank accounts of the company under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999. The central probe agency had initiated an investigation in connection with “illegal remittances” made by the company in February this year. The company started its operations in India in 2014 and started remitting the money in 2015. It has so far remitted foreign currency equivalent to ? 5,551.27 crores to three foreign-based entities, which include one Xiaomi group entity, in the guise of royalty, the probe agency said.

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Xiaomi’s Rs 5,551 crore Assets seized over Forex Violations: Probe Agency

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Shell buys Indian renewables firm Sprng Energy for $1.55 billion

Shell agreed to acquire India-based renewable power platform Sprng Energy for $1.55 billion, boosting the energy company’s low-carbon output as it shifts away from oil and gas. Shell said it would buy 100% of Solenergi Power Private Limited, the flagship company of Sprng Energy group, from UK-based investor Actis. Sprng Energy supplies solar and winds power to electricity distribution companies in India, seen as a major growth market in the power sector in the coming decades. The deal will triple Shell’s current renewables capacity in operations.

For details visit here.

6) Technology

Elon Musk finally takes over Twitter for $44 Billion Cash: A Timeline of 3rd Biggest Tech Deal

In a mega-deal, billionaire Elon Musk has now officially bought the social site, Twitter. Musk has acquired the platform for approximately $44 billion with shares valued at $54.20. Tesla CEO had announced his bid for Twitter on April 14, calling it his ‘best and final offer’. However, in its desperate attempt to defend the hostile takeover, Musk’s bid saw a ‘poison pill defence.’ Meanwhile, once it was announced by Musk that he had secured funding, the board went into negotiations with the Tesla boss. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, on Friday, Musk met “privately with several shareholders of the company to extol the virtues of his proposal” and also made video calls to them to push for his case.

For details visit here.

Swiggy to pilot drone-based deliveries for its grocery service Instamart

Online food-delivery major Swiggy said it will pilot the use of drones for its instant grocery service, Instamart, starting May. The company will use drones to replenish stocks between dark stores— from the seller’s location to the common point closest to the customer’s delivery address—essentially completing what it calls the middle-delivery layer. The dark store is a small fulfillment center used to facilitate ultra-fast deliveries. The pilot will commence in Bengaluru and Delhi-NCR with Garuda Aerospace and Skyeair Mobility. Based on the progress, the expansion will take place in the region and beyond.

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Rise of Big Tech calls for inter-regulatory collaboration: RBI Report

The growth of big techs has led to the rise of regulatory collaboration that necessitates clear demarcation of responsibilities over such business entities, the latest report on currency and finance released by the Reserve Bank of India has suggested. The report also raised concerns over digital financing and said that if went unchecked this could lead to volatility issues. The report also highlights that with the increasing dominance of BigTechs in digital payments, there could be an acceptance of data-fueled oligopoly for cheap services. Though digital literacy and healthy competition could alleviate some of these concerns, and hence there is a need for re-aligning incentives to foster smaller, more innovative firms. The report on currency and finance also red-flagged the need to restrain the unchecked growth of digital financing.

For details visit here.

7) Politics

Prashant Kishor: Why India’s top political strategist didn’t join Congress

Prashant Kishor, India’s top political consultant, has told BBC Hindi that he didn’t join the country’s main opposition Congress party due to a disagreement over the implementation of a revival plan proposed by him. Mr. Kishor had been invited to present a strategy to help Congress revive its political fortunes ahead of the national election in 2024. Mr. Kishor was also asked to join the Empowered Action Group (EAG), a new decision-making body set up by Congress. But after days of public speculation, he turned down the offer, tweeting: “In my humble opinion, more than me the party needs leadership and collective will to fix the deep-rooted structural problems through transformational reforms.” The refusal was also partly due to the party’s “problematic” decision to form the EAG, he said. Mr. Kishor said that before his refusal, he and the party had “held discussions in a structured way” and agreed on a strategy.

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Assam CM wants UCC, says it will ensure honor for Muslim women

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has strongly pitched for the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the country, saying no Muslim woman wants her husband to have three wives. He said if Muslim women and mothers have to be given the honor in the society, after the Triple Talaq (law), the UCC has to be put in place. However, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) on April 26 described the attempt by some chief ministers to introduce a UCC in the country as “an unconstitutional and anti-minorities move”.

For details visit here.

Time for One Nation, One Law? Clamour for Uniform Civil Code rises

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8) Sports

MS Dhoni To Lead CSK Again As Ravindra Jadeja Quits Captaincy Midway Through Season

Chennai Super Kings announced on Saturday that MS Dhoni is returning as their captain after Ravindra Jadeja relinquished the role to “focus on his game”. Jadeja was appointed captain two days before the start of the season, with MS Dhoni handing over the role to the all-rounder. But the franchise endured a difficult start to the campaign, winning just two of its first eight matches. Dhoni had led CSK in every season the franchise played in the IPL since its inaugural edition in 2008. He captained them to four titles, with the latest one coming last year.

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Badminton Asia Championships: PV Sindhu Goes Down Fighting To Akane Yamaguchi In Semifinal

Double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu ended her Badminton Asia Championships campaign with a bronze medal after going down fighting to Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi in three games on Saturday. The 26-year-old started the match on a positive note but couldn’t keep the winning momentum going, losing 21-13 19-21 16-21 to the top seed and world No. 2 Yamaguchi in the clash, which lasted one hour and six minutes. This is Sindhu’s second medal in the tournament – she had claimed a bronze in the 2014 Gimcheon edition.

For details visit here.

9) Opinion

India’s multi-alignment policy can provide an answer to current geopolitics: CICA head

India’s multi-alignment policy can provide an answer to the current geopolitical scenario and there is a need to learn from India’s policies, according to Kairat Sarybay, Executive Director, Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia or CICA. Sarybay who was on a visit to India this week to participate in the Raisina Dialogue and other meetings speaking to a select group of reporters noted that India’s policy has moved from non-alignment to multi-alignment. “It is good for dialogue and democracy.” Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev recently stated that the transformation of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building Measures in Asia (CICA) into a full-fledged international organization is a priority goal of the country’s presidency in the organization. The Kazakh capital houses the CICA Secretariat. CICA has 27 member states including Russia, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, and India.

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What Indonesia’s palm oil export ban means for India

Indonesia has banned the export of palm oil from April 28 because, as in the words of its President Joko Widodo, the government is finding it difficult to get cooking oil for its people. Indonesia wants its citizens to get cooking oil below 14,000 rupiahs (approximately ?74) a liter but that was not happening. Widodo, in a statement, said he cannot let the problem persist and Indonesia has been short on supply despite trying various policies, which have proved ineffective. The ban’s objective is also to ensure the availability of crude palm oil products, which could result in cooking oil being available at an affordable price in traditional markets, and micro and small-sized enterprises. Widodo’s decision is also termed “political” as it is aimed at not providing any leeway to his political opponents and extremist elements, who could indulge in pitched battles. Palm group of oils makeup nearly 60 percent of total edible imports and sometimes more when prices rule low. As of now, the government has the limited option of urging the processors or producers to cut down their margins. The Centre has been taking various measures such as lowering import duties on imports of edible oils. In November last year, it slashed the basic import duty on crude palm, soya bean, and sunflower oils to nil from 2.5 percent. It also reduced the agricultural infrastructure cess to 7.5 percent for crude palm oil and 5 percent for crude soya bean and sunflower oil from 20 percent. Also, it cut the import duty on refined palmolein, soya bean, and sunflower oil to 17.5 percent from 32.5 percent. Thus, these measures have left the Centre with limited options.

For details visit here.

10) Weekly special

How India’s first insurtech unicorn Digit Insurance consistently outperforms the industry growth rate

Founded by Kamesh Goyal, Bengaluru-based Digit Insurance has crossed Rs 5,000 crore in gross written premium in a span of fewer than five years. In 2021, the startup not only became the first Indian unicorn of the year but also the first insurtech company to achieve the coveted billion-dollar valuation. In a conversation with YourStory, Kamesh says, “The journey has been fairly good in terms of what we wanted to do as the response from our customers and distribution partners has been overwhelming.” And it certainly seems like Digit Insurance has been ticking all the right boxes in terms of insurance premium income it generates on its platform, its range of products, and the volume of business. Registered in December 2016, the startup sold its first policy in late-2017, and there has been no looking back since, even amid the lows of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For details visit here.

10) Did you know?

What is a planet parade, the astronomical event that will happen after 1,000 years?

Although there is no scientific definition for ‘planet parade’, it is being widely used in astronomy to denote an event that takes place when planets of the solar system line up in a row in the same area of the sky.

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With that, we come to an end of our Weekly Current Affairs May 2022 -Week 1. Hope you have liked it. Write your feedback in the comments below and let us know if there is anything else you would like us to cover.

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