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

US, and South Korea extend war drills in response to North’s missile launches

The United States and South Korea have decided to extend military exercises in response to a recent spate of missile launches from North Korea, offering stern warnings for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un should he hold a nuclear test. The decision to extend the Vigilant Storm joint military air drills comes after Pyongyang late Wednesday launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), with additional missile launches early Thursday. The North Korean missile launches are the latest in a string of similar actions, including the firing of 23 missiles on Wednesday, including one that landed off the coast of South Korea for the first time, after testing several throughout the month of October.   Washington and Seoul have condemned the launches, with the Biden administration pressing countries to enforce sanctions on Pyongyang for violating United Nations Security Council resolutions that ban the isolated nation from holding missile and nuclear tests.

For details visit here.

U.S sends two supersonic bombers to deter Kim as North Korea fires new ballistic missiles

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U.S. announces $400 million in new military aid for Ukraine

The United States on Friday announced an additional $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, including refurbishing T-72 tanks and missiles for HAWK air defense systems for Kyiv. Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh told reporters that the U.S. would pay for 45 T-72 tanks from the Czech Republic to be refurbished and fund refurbishing some missiles for HAWK air defense systems. Singh said in addition to the funds to refurbish the HAWK missiles, the pledged $400 Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds would refurbish the Soviet-era Czech tanks and give them “advanced optics, communications, and armor packages.” There was also funding to buy 1,100 Phoenix ghost tactical unmanned aerial systems and 40 armored riverine boats, among other capabilities.

For details visit here.

Fed approves 0.75-point hike to take rates to highest since 2008 and hints at a change in policy ahead

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday approved a fourth consecutive three-quarter point interest rate increase and signaled a potential change in how it will approach monetary policy to bring down inflation. In a well-telegraphed move that markets had been expecting for weeks, the central bank raised its short-term borrowing rate by 0.75 percentage points to a target range of 3.75%-4%, the highest level since January 2008. The move continued the most aggressive pace of monetary policy tightening since the early 1980s, the last time inflation ran this high. The new statement hinted at that policy change, saying when determining future hikes, the Fed “will take into account the cumulative tightening of monetary policy, the lags with which monetary policy affects economic activity and inflation, and economic and financial developments.”

For details visit https://www.cnbc.com/2022/11/02/fed-hikes-by-another-three-quarters-of-a-point-taking-rates-to-the-highest-level-since-january-2008.htmlhere.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Raimondo doubles down on Biden’s plan to restrict American companies, and citizens, from helping China make semiconductor chips

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo doubled down on the Biden administration’s controversial plan to ban U.S. companies, and citizens, from helping China manufacture advanced semiconductor chips. In October, the Biden administration-imposed export restrictions on semiconductors manufactured in China by U.S. companies. The administration has also called on U.S. allies to issue similar restrictions. U.S. chipmakers will have to obtain a license from the Commerce Department to export certain chips that can be used in modern weapons systems. Commerce also issued license restrictions barring U.S. citizens from working for China’s chip manufacturing industry, putting their U.S. citizenship at risk.

For details visit here.

CNBC-TV18 Explains | US Steps up its attack on Chinese Chip Industry

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Cash-strapped Pakistan to receive additional USD 13 billion from China, Saudi: Report

Cash-strapped Pakistan has secured about USD 13 billion in additional financial support from its traditional allies China and Saudi Arabia, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said, as the government tries to steady the country’s weak economy. Dar said that under the new financial support Pakistan would be getting about USD 9 billion from China and USD 4 billion from Saudi on top of assurances for about USD 20 billion in investments, the Dawn newspaper reported. Responding to a question, Dar said the Chinese side had also agreed to fast-track the processing for a USD 9.8 billion high-speed rail project (Main Line-1) from Karachi to Peshawar, and both sides would immediately activate their respective teams. The minister said he had also suggested a part of the outstanding dues of Chinese power producers be converted into overall debt stock and had already cleared about Rs 160 billion in recent months.

For details visit here.

China’s out-of-control rocket booster plunges into the Pacific Ocean

A massive chunk of debris from a Chinese rocket, which risked causing damage falling back to earth, has safely crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Experts had said the core booster of the Long March 5B rocket would make an “uncontrolled reentry” to Earth on Friday or Saturday. There was uncertainty about where it would land and the debris was seen as posing a level of risk above commonly-accepted thresholds. Pieces of the 23-ton rocket body re-entered the atmosphere over the south-central Pacific Ocean, the US Space Command tweeted on November 4. Though it fell into the ocean, the debris led to some disruptions. As a safety measure, Spain shut airspace over some regions, because of which around 300 flights were delayed, news agency Reuters reported.

For details visit here.

France’s far-right party RN elects Bardella as the new president

France’s far-right Rassemblement National (RN) elected Jordan Bardella as its new president on Saturday, overwhelmingly backing the 27-year-old European Parliament member to succeed Marine Le Pen in the post. Bardella, a party loyalist who had already been interim president for a year, won nearly 85% of party members’ votes, against 15% for his challenger Louis Aliot, who is Le Pen’s former partner. It is the first time the party will be led by someone who is not a member of the Le Pen family. Le Pen, who has diluted some of the party’s anti-immigrant, eurosceptic policies, stepped down from RN’s leadership structure in 2021 ahead of her unsuccessful bid for the presidency in this year’s election, which was won by incumbent Emmanuel Macron.

For details visit here.

14,000 arrested in Iran over Anti-Hijab protests in last 6 weeks: UN

At least 14,000 people have been arrested in Iran over the last six weeks, following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died on September 16, according to the United Nations. “Over the past six weeks, thousands of men, women, and children – by some accounts over 14,000 persons – have been arrested, which includes human rights defenders, students, lawyers, journalists, and civil society activists,” said Javaid Rehman, special rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran on Wednesday, reported CNN. The “unabated violent response of security forces” in the country has led to the reported deaths of at least 277 people, Rehman added in an address to the UN Security Council, a figure backed by reports from human rights groups. Increasingly, activists and experts are characterizing the protests as a national uprising and one of the biggest challenges to the Iranian regime since its founding.

For details visit here.

Iran anti-Hijab protests enter the seventh week: ‘Don’t come to streets,’ say revolutionary guards

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COP27: ‘Watershed moment’ as UN climate summit begins

The UN’s annual climate change summit has opened with hosts Egypt billing it as the world’s “watershed moment” on climate action. More than 120 world leaders are heading to the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. About 30,000 people will attend the two-week summit, known as COP27, though some activists are staying away over concerns about Egypt’s rights record. The past year has seen extreme weather regularly linked to climate change. The urgency of the climate change issue has been evident during the past 12 months with devastating flooding in Pakistan as well as in places including Nigeria and extreme heat in India and Europe in the summer. Ahead of the conference a series of major climate reports were released outlining progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

For details visit here.

Thousands march in Peru, demanding the resignation of leftist President Castillo

Thousands of people took to the streets across Peru on Saturday to demand the resignation of embattled President Pedro Castillo, a leftist whose government is under investigation for corruption. Carrying the Andean nation’s vertically striped red-white-red flag and signs with anti-government slogans, protesters marched towards the opposition-dominated Congress in the capital Lima. Castillo, who took office in July last year, has already survived two impeachment attempts. Opposition legislators are seeking a fresh trial against the president even though Congress recognized it would not gather sufficient votes.

For details visit here.

2) India

Windfall tax on crude petroleum slashed to Rs 9,500 per tonne, hiked on ATF, diesel exports

Windfall tax or the special additional excise duty (SAED) on crude petroleum exports has been slashed to Rs 9,500 per tonne from Rs 11,000 at present, as per a government notification issued on November 1. The SAED on aviation turbine fuel (ATF) has been increased from Rs 3.50 to Rs 5 per liter; and on diesel, it has been hiked from Rs 12 to Rs 13 per liter. The duty on diesel exports includes the RIC charge of Rs 1.50 per liter. Windfall tax was introduced by the government on July 1 to charge the industry for the large profit it has been earning through the sale of refined crude in the international market. Its quantum is reviewed every fortnight. Earlier in July, when the government had first imposed windfall taxes, Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj said India will only withdraw its windfall tax for oil producers and refiners if global prices of crude fell as much as $40 a barrel from present levels.

For details visit here.

3) Economy

India may miss FY26 fiscal deficit target of 4.5%: Fitch Ratings

Fitch Ratings does not expect the Centre to meet its goal of reducing the fiscal deficit to 4.5 percent of GDP by 2025-26 because of a lack of clarity on the medium-term consolidation path. When Fitch raised its outlook on India’s BBB- rating to stable from negative in June, it had estimated that the FY23 fiscal deficit would come in at 6.8 percent. But the Centre’s finances have held up so far, with the deficit at 37 percent of the full-year target in the first half of the financial year. Additional costs – such as subsidies – mean the target may still be missed, but perhaps not by the 40 basis points Fitch expected earlier this year. The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) failure to meet its mandate of keeping inflation in the 2-6 percent band has not affected how Fitch views the credibility of Indian monetary policy and its support to the credit profile as inflation expectations seem to be “fairly well anchored” and the central bank has acted “quite aggressively” in the last six months to rein in inflation.

For details visit here.

4) Markets, Banking, and Finance

New RBI norms for ARCs make it tougher to offload retail NPAs

The Reserve Bank of India recently pushed forward new regulatory guidelines for asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) and reports say that this could affect the settlement of stressed retail loans. The new guidelines aimed at preventing ARCs from cutting deals with defaulting businesses do not distinguish between corporate and retail loans. This could make it tough for lenders to offload retail bad loans. ARCs typically buy bad loans from lenders at a discount and try to make a profit by recovering a larger amount. RBI said the guidelines for the reconstruction of financial assets through the settlement of dues payable by the borrowers have been modified.

For details visit here.

5) Business

Twitter lays off 50% of employees across the world amid $4 million per day losses

Twitter on Saturday said it has laid off 50% of its workers across the world after Tesla founder Elon Musk took over the microblogging platform on October 27. Musk said that there was no option but to let employees go when the company has been losing $4 million a day. He blamed the losses on the activist groups that were putting pressure on the advertisers. Musk reportedly plans to cut nearly 75% of Twitter’s workforce, just after completing his $44 billion(over Rs 3,36,910 crore) purchase of the social media company. He also became the “sole director” of Twitter, according to documents filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.

For details visit here.

Elon Musk wants more paying Twitter users, hinting at $8 a month for Verified Accounts

Elon Musk is looking to quickly boost Twitter Inc.’s revenue by embracing subscriptions, aiming to make the social media company less dependent on digital ads as Madison Avenue signals a cautious stance toward the site after the billionaire’s takeover. Mr. Musk has been saying since before completing his $44 billion takeover of Twitter that it needs to rely less on the digital advertising dollars that account for nearly 90% of its total sales. Twitter and its competitors have considered or dabbled with subscriptions as an additional revenue source, but they haven’t yet amounted to sizable income for most companies. Mr. Musk signaled in several tweets that he was leaning toward an $8-per-month subscription offering. Subscriptions would help make Twitter less ad reliant, he said. This week, two large advertising companies recommended that their clients temporarily hold off on advertising on Twitter, adding urgency to Mr. Musk’s efforts to identify alternative revenue sources. Both Interpublic Group of Cos. and Havas Media have urged their clients to pause their Twitter ads because of concerns about the company’s ability to monitor its content, according to people familiar with the situation.

For details visit here.

Elon Musk and the recent hectic developments at Twitter | The Hindu

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India becoming major manufacturing hub; our policies stable, predictable: PM Narendra Modi

India will now become a major producer of transport aircraft, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday after laying the foundation stone of a manufacturing facility for a C-295 medium transport plane for the Indian Air Force. Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said that today we have taken a big step in the direction of making India the manufacturing hub of the world. He said India is making fighter jets, tanks, submarines, medicines, vaccines, electronic gadgets, mobile phones, and cars that are popular in many countries. The Prime Minister remarked that India is moving forward with the mantra of ‘Make in India, Make for the Globe’, and now India is becoming a huge manufacturer of transport aircraft in the world.

For details visit here.

6) Technology

Fintech valuations to rise 3.5 times by FY26: Bain study

Financial technology startups, or fintech, are set to grow at a fast pace on the back of rising credit demand from Indian businesses as well as consumers. According to Bain and Co.’s India Fintech Report 2022, published on 19 October, the boom in smartphone adoption in India, set to breach 1.1 billion units by FY26, could push the net valuation of fintech services by 3.5 times in India, from $100 billion to $350 billion in four years. By 2026, fintech startups may account for 15% of the domestic financial services industry, up from 7% now. Bain expects India’s financial services market to grow from $1.3 trillion now to $2.3 trillion by FY26.

For details visit here.

7) Politics

Ex-Gujarat minister Jaynarayan Vyas resigns from BJP ahead of Assembly polls

Former Gujarat minister and veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jaynarayan Vyas on Saturday resigned from the ruling party citing personal reasons ahead of the Assembly elections next month. Vyas was a minister in the BJP government in Gujarat when Narendra Modi was the chief minister. However, he lost the 2012 and 2017 Assembly elections from Sidhpur. He had last week met Gehlot, who is Congress’s senior observer for Gujarat elections, in Ahmedabad.

For details visit here.

AAP declares Gadhvi as its CM candidate for Gujarat

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal on Friday named former TV news anchor and social activist Isudan Gadhvi as the party’s chief ministerial candidate for next month’s assembly elections in Gujarat, where the party is hoping to spring a surprise against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and push the Opposition Congress into third place. Delhi chief minister Kejriwal said 40-year-old Gadhvi, who is a national general secretary of the AAP, got 73% votes in a poll conducted by the party to select the CM candidate.

For details visit here.

BJP wins 4 key elections, TRS emerges winner in Telangana: 10 Points

The Bharatiya Janata Party emerged victorious in four of the seven assembly seats whose results were declared today. The BJP has won in Uttar Pradesh’s Gola Gokrannath, Haryana’s Adampur, Bihar’s Gopalganj, and Odisha’s Dhamnagar. The Tejashwi Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal has won in Bihar’s Mokama. The K Chandrashekar’s Rao’s Telangana Rashtriya Samithi won in Munugode and the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction won in Mumbai’s Andheri East seat. Of the seven seats, the BJP held three, the Congress two, while the Shiv Sena and the RJD had one each before by-polls were necessitated. Two of the seats are in Bihar and one each in UP, Haryana, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Odisha.

For details visit here.

8) Sports

BCCI bats for pay parity, same match fees for women & men: ‘New era of equality’

In a significant decision, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday announced a “pay equity policy”, saying that its centrally-contracted men and women players would get the same match fees. This means the women players will now get Rs 15 lakh per Test match, Rs 6 lakh for a One-Day International (ODI), and Rs 3 lakh for a T20 International. Till now, they were paid Rs 1 lakh for a white-ball match, and Rs 4 lakh for a Test. The annual retainership for women cricketers remains the same — Rs 50 lakh for Grade A, Rs 30 lakh for Grade B, and Rs 10 lakh for Grade C. The men, who play more games, are paid Rs 1-7 crore, depending on their grade.

For details visit here.

India and Pakistan into T20 World Cup semis as Netherlands stun South Africa

India and Pakistan have advanced to the T20 World Cup semi-finals after South Africa crashed out in a shock 13-run defeat to the Netherlands on Sunday. Victory in Adelaide would have secured the Proteas’ place in the final four regardless of other results, but they fell short of their 159 targets on a sluggish pitch. That left Pakistan and Bangladesh to compete for a semi-final spot in the day’s second game at the same venue. Pakistan prevailed by five wickets to complete a dramatic turnaround after losing the first two games in their Super 12s group. India later confirmed the top spot with an emphatic victory over Zimbabwe in Melbourne and will face England in the semi-finals while Pakistan takes on Group 1 winners New Zealand.

For details visit here.

9) Opinion

Imran Khan has the Pakistani army ducking & weaving. Why it’s a historic moment for the subcontinent

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Ukraine war, changing nature of aerial warfare, Russia’s losses & lessons for Indian Air Force

The Russia-Ukraine war has thrown up multiple lessons for the militaries across the world. However, it holds special lessons for the IAF which has a large fleet of Russian-origin fighters. ThePrint’s Deputy Editor Snehesh Alex Philip looks at some of the lessons from the ongoing war.

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UPI powers India’s digital transactions. RBI’s eRupee is compelling but must argue retail use

The Unified Payments Interface — India’s instant and interoperable retail payment system — clocked yet another record high in October this year at 7.3 billion transactions amounting to Rs 12.11 trillion. With growth rates of nearly 85 percent by volume and 67.85 percent by value over the previous year, UPI continues to lead the country’s now-storied leap to digital payments. The question therefore arises: What is the role of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in India? The recently released concept note by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) attempts to answer this question. A retail CBDC, or an eRupee, could provide an additional payment option outside the commercial banking system, and reduce the concentration of liquidity and credit risks in payment systems mediated through commercial banks. This could be an important argument. In addition to UPI currently dominating digital payments, there are market concentration risks posed by third-party application providers within the UPI system.

For details visit here.

Experts decode the impact of another U.S Fed Rate Hike

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Could the UK Kick Off the next Eurozone Crisis?

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Why Xiaomi left India’s Fintech Market

In October 2022, Xiaomi, the Chinese designer, and manufacturer of many consumer electronic devices solidified its status as the world’s third-largest smartphone vendor behind leaders Apple and Samsung. Xiaomi’s reputation as an affordable smartphone provider, combined with its entire ecosystem of products, services, and software, has helped to fill a relatively large gap in providing economical access to digital services in many developing countries, including India. In spite of this success, in late October 2022, Xiaomi pulled its MiPay and MiCredit apps from the Indian market. This move is particularly curious given Xiaomi’s status as India’s top smartphone vendor, despite the sector’s decline in late 2022. The removal of these ancillary business services supported by Xiaomi highlights the increasing desire for governments like India to control data and information more effectively domestically, in contrast to relying on externally sourced technologies prone to state-actor influence.

For details visit here.

10) Weekly special

Why the new-age used car retailing model has collapsed

The short answer is that what investors or industry pundits believed as the new-age automobile retailing business model disrupting the 140 years old automobile industry was a bubble and it has completely burst and collapsed. New-age automobile retailers owned expensive inventory, refurbished vehicles themselves with their own centers/teams/supplies, and then sold them via their owned and operated physical centers. This is a very expensive proposition if the maximum margin in the used car industry is barely 14.5%.

For details visit here.

11) Did you know?

What is Permacrisis?

Permacrisis has been chosen as the Collins Dictionary’s word of the year. The word means an extended period of instability and insecurity. “Permacrisis sums up just how truly awful 2022 has been for so many people,” Alex Beecroft, head of Collins Learning told AFP.  Beating off competition from the likes of “Kyiv”, “sportswashing” and “partygate”, the term “permacrisis” was named Tuesday as Britain’s word of the year in recognition of a dismal 2022.

For details visit here.

With that, we come to the end of our Weekly Current Affairs November 2022 -Week 1. We 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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