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 works to stabilize Kherson after Russian pullout

The Ukrainian military carried out “stabilization measures” near the southern city of Kherson on Saturday following the end of an eight-month occupation by Russian forces, a retreat that cast a further pall on President Vladimir Putin’s designs to take over large parts of Ukraine. People across Ukraine awoke from a night of jubilant celebrating after the Kremlin announced its troops had withdrawn to the other side of the Dnieper River from Kherson, the only regional capital captured by Russia’s military during the ongoing invasion. Moscow’s announcement that Russian forces planned to withdraw across the Dnieper River, which divides both the Kherson region and Ukraine, followed a stepped-up Ukrainian counteroffensive in the country’s south. In the last two months, Ukraine’s military claimed to have reclaimed dozens of towns and villages north of Kherson city, and the Ukrainian General Staff said that’s where the stabilization activities were taking place.

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Kherson Retreat: How Russia Lost Control of the Key Ukrainian City | WSJ

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Boost for Biden as Democrats retain control of US Senate after key polls

President Joe Biden’s Democrats retained control of the US Senate on Saturday, a remarkable midterms election result that defied predictions of a Republican win over both houses of Congress. Midterms traditionally deliver a rejection of the party in power, and with inflation surging and Biden’s popularity in the doldrums, Republicans had been expecting to ride a mighty “red wave” and capture the Senate and the House of Representatives. The win clinches Democratic control in the Senate as Vice President Kamala Harris can cast the tie-breaking vote if the upper chamber is evenly split 50-50.

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Europe braces for recession as economies falter

The ride down may be shallow or steep, but either way, the European Union and Britain could be starting to slide into recession. The British economy shrank 0.2% over July, August, and September compared with the previous three months, the Office for National Statistics reported Friday. It was a decline that is expected to continue and spread to the continent by the end of the year. Many countries are likely to enter a recession in the last three months of 2022, Paolo Gentiloni, the EU’s commissioner for the economy, said Friday. “The EU economy is at a turning point,” he said. “Recent survey data points to a contraction for the winter.”

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Global stocks rise after lower US inflation eases interest rate hike fears

Global stock markets rose on Friday after US inflation eased more than had been expected, spurring hopes the Federal Reserve might scale down plans for more interest rate hikes. The Fed and central banks in Europe and Asia are raising rates to cool inflation that is at multi-decade highs. Investors worry that might tip the global economy into recession. They hope lower inflation might prompt the Fed to ease off plans for more increases. Core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices and is more closely watched by the Fed, was 6.3 percent over a year earlier, down from September’s 6.6 percent and below the consensus forecast of 6.5 percent. Core prices rose 0.3 percent month on month, half of September’s 0.6 percent gain.

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European Union’s worst nightmare comes true: Recession is here | Europe Energy Crisis

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Malaysia’s economy posts double-digit growth for the first time in a year in Q3

Malaysia’s economy posted double-digit growth for the first time in over a year in the third quarter, boosted by rising domestic demand and strong exports, the central bank said on Friday. Gross domestic product (GDP) in July-September rose 14.2% from a year earlier, at a faster pace than the 11.7% growth forecast in a Reuters poll and up from the 8.9% annual rise in the previous quarter. That was also the fastest pace of growth since the second quarter of 2021 when the economy expanded by 16.1%. The government last month revised its growth forecasts for 2022 to 6.5%-7.0% from 5.3%-6.3%, but it expects economic growth to slow to 4.0%-5.0% next year.

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IMF sees rising economic fragmentation risk, urges policymakers fight inflation

The biggest challenge facing central bankers now is bringing inflation down, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Thursday, as her deputy warned of the growing risk of economic fragmentation. Georgieva told a conference in Washington that policymakers should adopt targeted measures to alleviate rising food and fuel prices while avoiding steps that could fuel inflation or sidetrack monetary policy. First Deputy Managing Director Gita Gopinath, speaking at the same conference, said the strengthening dollar, now at its highest level in more than 20 years, and concerns about financial fragility also posed big challenges in the current environment, and there was no scope for missteps.

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China successfully launches cargo spacecraft for its space station in orbit

China successfully launched its cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-5 on Saturday to deliver supplies for its space station, the construction of which is expected to be completed this year. The Long March-7 Y6 rocket, carrying Tianzhou-5 which blasted off this morning from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site in the southern island province of Hainan has successfully entered its designated orbit, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) said. It declared the launch a complete success, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The cargo craft is expected to conduct a fast-automated rendezvous and docking with the space station combination.

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Warring parties in Ethiopia agree to open Tigray to aid

Warring parties in Ethiopia have signed a deal allowing humanitarian supplies into the war-torn Tigray region. It comes after a recent peace deal was reached between the sides, with the focus now shifting to aid and disarmament.

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2) India

At the summit, India & ASEAN reaffirm the importance of freedom of navigation

In an oblique reference to China’s assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region, India and the ASEAN countries on Saturday reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, freedom of navigation and overflight in the region, and peaceful resolution of disputes. This was stated in the joint statement of the 19th ASEAN-India Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar is representing India at the summit. The two sides agreed to advance maritime ties and enhance cooperation against terrorism, transnational crimes, and cybercrimes.

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India seeks COP27 deal to ‘phase down’ all fossil fuels

India wants countries to agree to phase down all fossil fuels at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt, rather than a narrower deal to phase down coal as was agreed last year, two sources familiar with the negotiations told Reuters on Saturday. The push would put oil and gas consumers and producers in the spotlight as well as those countries that rely on coal. India generates around three-quarters of its electricity by burning coal, according to the Indian Ministry of Coal. The proposal would have to be agreed upon by consensus during the next week if it were to go into a final COP27 deal.

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LAC is stable but unpredictable, China building infra: Army chief

Two months after Indian and Chinese troops disengaged at Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hot Springs area of eastern Ladakh, Army chief General Manoj Pande on Saturday said the situation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was “stable but unpredictable”. He said infrastructure development by the Chinese on their side of the LAC was going on “unabated”. He indicated that India was now preparing for the next round of military talks with China. Round 16 of talks at the level of the Corps Commanders had led to the disengagement in September at PP 15 where Indian and Chinese troops had been in a faceoff for over two years.

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Supreme Court, in a majority verdict, upholds constitutional validity of EWS quota

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Monday, in a 3:2 majority decision, upheld the validity of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment which provides 10% reservation in government jobs and educational institutions to the ‘economically weaker sections of the society but excludes the ‘poorest of poor’ among Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) from its scope. On whether a reservation on the sole basis of economic criteria violated the Basic Structure of the Constitution, Justice Maheshwari took the expansive view that reservation was an “instrument of affirmative action by the state” and should not be confined to just SCs, STs, SEBCs, and the non-creamy layer of OBCs, but also include “any class or sections so disadvantaged as to answer the description of ‘weaker section'”.  Justice Trivedi noted that “the legislature understands and appreciates the needs of its own people”. The three judges in the majority held that reservation on economic criteria alone did not violate the Basic Structure of the Constitution.

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‘For casteless, classless society’: What SC judgment on EWS quota says

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Industry bodies call for draft Telecom Bill Review

The draft Indian Telecommunication Bill 2022 is overbroad and will impose an extensive licensing burden, hurt cross-border digital trade, hamper India’s economic growth, and constrain innovation, several industry bodies have said in a joint statement. The draft bill, up for public consultation till Thursday, seeks to expand the definition of telecom services to include OTT communication services such as WhatsApp, Signal, and email providers like Gmail, requiring them to do KYC of their users. Industry stakeholders called for further deliberations and consideration to fully assess the draft bill, given its wide-ranging implications. It called for narrowing the definition of telecommunication infrastructure to specifically cover telecommunication infrastructure used to provide telecommunication services.

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CNBC-TV18 Explains | What does the Draft Telecom Bill 2022 propose? | Digital | CNBC-TV18

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Jharkhand Assembly raises quota to 77%, 1932 land records to fix domicile status

The Jharkhand Assembly, at a special session Friday, unanimously cleared two Bills, one increasing reservation in vacant government posts and services in the state to 77%, and the second, using land records with 1932 as the cut-off year to determine domicile status and who among the people fit the definition of local residents. Chief Minister Hemant Soren said the Bills will come into force only after the Centre carries out amendments to include these in the Ninth Schedule, putting it beyond judicial scrutiny.

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3) Economy

Expect Oct inflation numbers to be less than 7%: RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das at HTLS 2022

Retail inflation likely eased below 7% in October, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das said on Saturday, in conversation with R Sukumar, editor-in-chief, of Hindustan Times at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2022. “We have a major challenge in terms of inflation. We expect the October number to be less than 7%,” the RBI Governor said. Das also said that if inflation is above 6% for three straight quarters, it will be treated as a monetary policy failure. The law requires that when for three consecutive quarters, if the inflation remains above 6%, it will be treated as a failure of monetary policy, and the RBI is required to write a letter to the Central Government.

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India gaining power in the world order, says Morgan Stanley; calls it ‘once-in-a-generation shift’

With an average gross domestic product growth of 5.5 percent in the past decade, India is already the fastest-growing economy in the world, stated Morgan Stanley in a research report released on November 8. It added that India is expected to overtake Japan and Germany to become the world’s third-largest economy by 2027. India is also gaining power in the world order, the Morgan Stanley report said, calling it a ‘once-in-a-generation shift’. It added that global offshoring, digitalization, and energy transition is driving unprecedented growth in the country. The report said that India’s GDP could double from $3.5 trillion to surpass $7.5 trillion by 2031. Its exports are expected to double and BSE deliver an 11 percent growth, reaching an m-cap of $10 trillion in the coming decade.

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Why Morgan Stanley’s Ridham Desai believes this decade belongs to India | BQ Prime

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Despite border tensions & calls for a boycott, imports of Chinese goods are up 44% in a year

India’s imports from China have already surpassed $89 billion in the first three quarters of 2022 and look set to cross $100 billion by the end of the year, mainly driven by capital or industrial goods. This is despite the calls for the boycott of Chinese goods in the wake of border tensions between the two nations. The faster growth in imports from China means that its share in India’s total imports has risen from 15.3 percent in 2021 (January-September) to 16.2 percent in 2022 (January-September). A deeper look at India’s foreign trade with China reveals that most of the rise in imports is on account of “input goods” or capital goods, which are used to produce other goods.

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4) Markets, Banking, and Finance

Sebi introduces a regulatory framework, that aims to facilitate online bond platforms

Capital markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India on 11 November introduced a regulatory framework to facilitate providers of online bond platforms that are selling listed debt securities. According to the new rules, no one can act as an online bond platform provider without obtaining a registration certificate as a stock broker from Sebi, the regulator said in a notification. With this move, SEBI aims to enhance the confidence among investors, particularly non-institutional investors, as the platforms would be provided by Sebi-regulated intermediaries.

For details visit here.

5) Business

The world’s biggest democracies sound warning on Twitter blue checks

Officials from many of the world’s largest democracies are warning that Twitter Inc.’s new subscription service introduced under new owner Elon Musk is a breeding ground for misinformation. From India to Brazil and the US, officials are warning of a proliferation in fake accounts, with some saying the new system in which a blue check mark can be bought for $7.99 per month is ripe for abuse. The service, introduced after Musk’s $44 billion takeover in October, has already been suspended after subscribers paid to create impostor accounts with verified blue check marks. The most visible abuse came from a wave of accounts lampooning major brands including Tesla Inc., Nestle SA, and defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp.

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Ambani, Adani among 13 bidders for Future Retail

Firms run by billionaires Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani are among the 13 companies that have submitted initial bids to acquire Future Retail Ltd., a filing by the debt-laden company said. Mr. Ambani’s Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd., submitted the expression of interest (EoI) under insolvency proceedings initiated to recover dues Future Retail owes to lenders. April Moon Retail Private Ltd., a joint venture between Adani Airport holdings and Flemingo group, also submitted an EoI. The deadline for submission of EoI ended on October 20, Future Retail, which was once the country’s second-largest retailer, said in the stock exchange filing. Future Retail was dragged into bankruptcy proceedings by banks after it defaulted on loans and its lenders rejected a ?24,713-crore takeover of its assets by Reliance amid a legal challenge by Amazon.

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6) Technology

BYJU’S CEO says up for bumper growth in FY22, with revenue up 3X and losses down by half

Byju Raveendran is unfazed about his company’s losses in the previous financial year and is confident that his edtech company will pull it back in FY 2021-22. The edtech company BYJU’S booked a staggering loss of Rs 4,588 crore in the latest financial year. But Byju expects revenue growth of 3X and losses to be halved in the 2021-22 financial year. Addressing the recent losses, Byju said those were due to decisions taken by the company during the pandemic when its banking and non-bank partners stopped supporting financing. BYJU’S started lending from its balance sheet and extended the moratorium on financing. The repayments or collections of these debts were completed only in 2022, which made the FY 2020-21 losses look worse than they were, he said.

For details visit here.

Crypto exchange giant FTX collapses, CEO resigns

Crisis-struck cryptocurrency exchange FTX filed for US bankruptcy protection on Friday after experiencing the digital currency equivalent of a bank run. FTX, its affiliated crypto trading firm Alameda Research, and about 130 of its other companies have commenced voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in Delaware, the company said in a statement on Twitter. In its bankruptcy petition, FTX Trading said it has $10 billion to $50 billion in assets, $10 billion to $50 billion in liabilities, and more than 100,000 creditors. The platform’s founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried also resigned after he failed to raise billions to stave off collapse as traders rushed to withdraw $6 billion in just 72 hours. FTX had agreed earlier this week to sell itself to bigger rival Binance after customers fled fearing a lack of capital. The crypto world had hoped that Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, might be able to rescue FTX and its depositors. However, after Binance took a look at FTX’s books, it concluded that the smaller exchange’s problems were too big to solve and backed out of the deal.

For details visit here.

7) Politics

No exit polls allowed until elections are over: Election Commission

No exit polls on the Himachal and Gujarat elections will be allowed till the elections are over on December 5, Election Commission has said. The notification also said that no opinion polls or any other poll survey will be allowed during the 48 hours ending with the hours fixed for the conclusion of polling in Himachal. The campaign for Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls ended on Thursday, with the BJP and Congress engaged in a keen contest and Aam Aadmi Party also trying to put up a strong performance. A total of 412 candidates across parties are in the fray. The elections will decide the fates of Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, CLP Leader Mukesh Agnihotri, Chairman of Congress Campaign Committee Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, and several other prominent leaders.

For details visit here.

Congress, NCP forge a pre-poll alliance in Gujarat

After declaring its second list of 46 candidates late on Thursday night, Gujarat Congress on Friday announced a pre-poll tie-up with Nationalist Congress Party. Congress will share three seats of Umreth in Anand District, Devgarh Baria in Dahod district, and Naroda in Ahmedabad with NCP. Interestingly, Congress had sent out a tough signal to NCP by fielding its own candidate in Kutiyana in Saurashtra where NCP candidate Kandhal Jadeja is a sitting MLA. Meanwhile, the party also announced its third list of six candidates taking the total list of candidates announced to 95.

For details visit here.

8) Sports

T20 World Cup: England beat Pakistan to win pulsating final in Melbourne

England beat Pakistan by five wickets in a pulsating final in Melbourne to win the Men’s T20 World Cup and become double world champions. Chasing 138 in front of a raucous Pakistan-supporting crowd, they fell to 45-3 and 84-4 amid electric fast bowling. The win, thanks in large part to a superb bowling performance from Sam Curran and Adil Rashid, means England becomes the first team to hold the men’s 20 and 50-over world titles. It is also their second T20 world title following victory in the West Indies in 2010.

For details visit here.

Greg Barclay gets the second term as ICC chairman, and Jay Shah to head the F&CA committee

New Zealand’s Greg Barclay was on Saturday unanimously re-elected as chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) for a second two-year term. Besides Barclay’s re-election, BCCI secretary Jay Shah was elected as the head of ICC’s all-powerful Finance and Commercial Affairs (F&CA) committee at the board meeting. Barclay was unopposed following the withdrawal of Zimbabwe’s Tavengwa Mukuhlani from the process, and the ICC Board reaffirmed its full support to the New Zealander to continue at the helm.

For details visit here.

9) Opinion

What US election results mean for the future of Ukraine aid

If Republicans win the House, where does that leave Ukraine? It’s a question that is top of mind in Washington as the GOP draws closer to winning the majority in the US House. Some fear the end of Democratic control in Congress – and the empowerment of “America First” conservatives – could ultimately result in the curtailment of American assistance as Ukraine battles Russia’s invasion. Recent comments from Kevin McCarthy, who is in line for speaker if Republicans win the House, exacerbated those fears. He warned that Republicans wouldn’t support writing a “blank check” for Ukraine if they captured the majority. But the hard-line rhetoric isn’t the end of the story. While Republican control of the House is likely to make sending tranches of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine more difficult, support for the country runs deep in both parties.

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Focus on age, caste & lessons from 2017: BJP uses ‘repeat’ strategy on tough seats in Gujarat, brings in fresh faces in rest

Bringing down the average age of its MLAs and sending a message to its cadre that loyal and diligent workers will be rewarded if they stick to party discipline were among the top focus of the BJP while charting its first list of candidates for the Gujarat elections, according to senior party leaders. The national imprint on the list was visible on Thursday when the party announced a list of 160 candidates. It leaves out 38 sitting MLAs. Ten of these MLAs had a winning margin of fewer than 14,000 votes in 2017, while a dozen had won with high margins. This time, the BJP is locked in a three-cornered contest with the main opposition Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party. The average age of BJP MLAs in the state now is around 57 years, and it is trying to bring that down, even as the AAP has been claiming that the average age of its candidates is 39. With its list, the BJP is also giving a strong message to ministers whose names have cropped up in corruption cases and to people who break the party’s discipline.

For details visit here.

Salvatore Babones, 5 questions on India’s global rankings, the good, bad & some ugly

Who is Salvatore Babones, the sociologist who said, ‘India’s intellectual class is anti-India’ at the India Today Conclave? Are some International ratings unfair & who takes these seriously? Watch Episode 1110 of Cut The Clutter where ThePrint Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta explores five questions behind India’s global rankings, the good, bad, and ugly.

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10) Weekly special

Adjust focus: How Peyush Bansal built Lenskart into a profitable unicorn

Apart from a sharp focus on business, what helped Lenskart grow aggressively was its drive to continuously strive for improving conversion rate, cutting costs, and ramping backward integration. While starting home services and free trial were lynchpins in the strategy to drive volumes, and consequently erase losses, progressively cutting costs helped it keep expenses under control. Next, the company ventured offline, opened physical stores, expanded franchisees, and cemented its bonding with the consumers. From FY19, the revenue juggernaut gathered steam, conversion increased, and bleeding sequentially slowed down. In December 2019, Lenskart entered the unicorn club when it reportedly raised around $231 million in a Series G funding round led by Japanese financial conglomerate SoftBank. In FY20, over a decade after starting the venture, Bansal posted the firm’s maiden profit. The next fiscal, the unicorn remained profitable, and the trend continued in FY22 as well. “We are profitable. Now the business is at 69 percent gross margin, and we never achieved this number by increasing the price,” claims Bansal.

For details visit here.

11) Did you know?

What is climate finance?

Climate finance is “finance that aims at reducing emissions, and enhancing sinks of greenhouse gases and aims at reducing the vulnerability of, and maintaining and increasing the resilience of, human and ecological systems to negative climate change impacts”, as defined by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Standing Committee on Finance. The term has been used in a narrow sense to refer to transfers of public resources from developed to developing countries, in light of their UN Climate Convention obligations to provide “new and additional financial resources”, and in a wider sense to refer to all financial flows relating to climate change mitigation and adaptation. The 21st session of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC (Paris 2015) introduced a new era for climate finance, policies, and markets. The Paris Agreement adopted there defined a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2 °C above preindustrial levels. It includes climate financing channeled by national, regional, and international entities for climate change mitigation and adaptation projects and programs. They include climate-specific support mechanisms and financial aid for mitigation and adaptation activities to spur and enable the transition towards low-carbon, climate-resilient growth and development through capacity building, R&D, and economic development.

For details visit here.

With that, we come to the end of our Weekly Current Affairs November 2022 -Week 2. 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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