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

Russia takes over operations at Europe’s largest nuclear plant

Moving on with his plans to autonomously operate the annexed Ukrainian regions, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered his government to take over operations at Europe’s largest nuclear power station in southern Ukraine’s Russia-annexed region of Zaporizhzhia. The power station, which is close to the front lines, has been occupied by the Russian forces since March. Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station is located on the banks of the Dnieper River, only 200 kilometers from the Donbas region, a point of intense conflict between the two armies. It is one of the country’s four operational nuclear power plants, having been in operation since 1984, and accounts for roughly 40% of total electricity generated by all Ukrainian NPPs and one-fifth of annual electricity production in Ukraine. The Russian order also comes amid comments from Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov that the annexed regions are part of Russia now and will not be returned to Ukraine. He also vowed to take back the regions Russia lost to Ukraine in the last few days.

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Russians being prepared for use of nuclear weapons says Ukraine President Zelensky – BBC News

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India abstains from voting for debate on China’s human rights situation

India has abstained from voting on a draft resolution in the UN Human Rights Council on holding a debate on the human rights situation in China’s Xinjiang province, sources close to the development revealed. The draft resolution on “holding a debate on the situation of human rights in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China” was rejected in the 47-member Council after 17 members voted in favor, 19 members voted against, including China, and 11 abstentions, including India, Brazil, Mexico, and Ukraine.

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Why India abstained from a vote on the resolution to debate China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang

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Biden administration clamps down on China’s access to chip technology

The Biden administration has announced sweeping new limits on the sale of semiconductor technology to China, a step aimed at crippling Beijing’s ability to access critical technologies that are needed for everything from supercomputing to guiding weapons. The moves are the clearest sign yet that a dangerous standoff between the world’s two major superpowers is increasingly playing out in the technological sphere, with the U.S. trying to establish a stranglehold on advanced computing and semiconductor technology that are essential to China’s military and economic ambitions. The package of restrictions, which was released by the Commerce Department, is designed in large part to slow the progress of Chinese military programs, which use supercomputing to model nuclear blasts, guide hypersonic weapons and establish advanced networks for surveilling dissidents and minorities, among other activities.

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U.S ‘saves’ chip tech from China; Biden admin introduces new export rules, blacklists 31 firms

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India, and Brazil abstains from UNHRC vote on Russian rights record

India along with Brazil abstained from voting on the UNHRC draft proposal favoring the appointment of an independent expert to step up scrutiny of Russia’s rights record. The UNHRC passed the resolution presented last week by all European Union member countries except Hungary, on a 17-6 vote, with 24 abstentions. The original proposal alleged “mass forced shutdowns” of independent media, non-governmental organizations, and opposition groups in Russia. It is the first time the council has authorized a special rapporteur to look into human rights issues in any of the five countries that are permanent members of the UN Security Council.

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North Korea fires more Ballistic missiles, seventh in two weeks: Seoul

North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the sea early Sunday, Seoul’s military said, the seventh such launch in two weeks, just hours after a nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier wrapped up joint drills off the Korean peninsula. Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington have ramped up combined naval exercises in recent weeks, infuriating Pyongyang, which sees them as rehearsals for invasion and justifies its blitz of missile launches as necessary “countermeasures”. With talks long-stalled, Pyongyang has doubled down on its banned weapons programs, firing an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan last week, with officials and analysts warning it has completed preparations for another nuclear test.

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North Korea launches new ballistic missiles over Japan l GMA

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Haiti asks the world for military help to curb the chaos

Haiti has asked for foreign military support to curb its gang violence crisis which has paralyzed the country. The Haitian government authorized Prime Minister Ariel Henry to request armed help due to “the risk of a major humanitarian crisis”. The US meanwhile urged its citizens in Haiti to leave due to the insecurity. A group of powerful gangs has blocked the country’s main fuel terminal since September, crippling its basic supplies like water and food. It is not clear to whom the request for intervention has been sent, and in what form the help would be given. The UN said it had not received an official request from Haiti’s government.

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Global CEOs expect the recession to be mild, short: KPMG survey

Nearly 58 percent of about 1,300 global chief executive officers (CEOs) expect the recession to be mild and short, a survey of KPMG revealed. The report also said that the CEOs anticipated this recession, looming large, to hit over the next year. The leaders were asked about their strategies and outlook during the survey. In the KPMG 2022 CEO Outlook, fourteen percent of senior executives identify a recession among the most pressing concerns today, which is slightly up from 9 percent in early 2022. Pandemic fatigue tops the list with 15 percent. However, more than 8 out of 10 i.e 86 percent global CEOs anticipate a recession to hit over the next year, with nearly 71 percent predicting it will impact company earnings by up to 10 percent, said the survey.

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2) India

India counters UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s claim on visa overstayers

India has countered UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s claim that the Migration and Mobility Partnership (MMP) had not “worked very well” to say that India had initiated action on all cases raised with it under the agreement. In response to a PTI query about Braverman’s interview in ‘The Spectator’ saying that Indians are the “largest group of people who overstay” their visas in the UK, the Indian High Commission has said that India awaits “demonstrable progress” on certain commitments undertaken by the UK government under the MMP that was signed last year.

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India issues demarche to Canada against upcoming Khalistan Referendum II

On 15 September this year, a month after a Mahatma Gandhi statue was vandalized in New York, videos emerged of a Hindu Temple getting defaced in Canada. The gates of BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto, one of the largest temples in Canada, were spray-painted with the words “Khalistan zindabad” (long live Khalistan) and “Hindustan murdabad” (death to India). This has become a cause for concern as the Narendra Modi government has served the Canada High Commission a demarche to be conveyed to the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, expressing discontent and urging the Canadian government to stop the Khalistan referendum scheduled to be organized in Ontario on 6 November. A demarche is a formal diplomatic representation of the official position, views, or wishes on a subject from one government to another government or intergovernmental organization. It often denotes a note of protest or petition presented through diplomatic channels between governments.

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India’s first solar-powered village will light up today; ?3,900 crore spent

On October 9, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will recognize Modhera, a village in Gujarat’s Mehsana district that is known for its Sun Temple, as India’s first solar-powered village, marking a significant step toward spreading renewable energy. More than 1,000 solar panels have been put on village homes, the Gujarat government reported in a series of tweets, providing the people with electricity 24 hours a day. Significantly, they will receive cost-free solar electricity. In accordance with the Prime Minister’s goal of boosting the use of renewable energy in India, it has assured the sustainable implementation of a number of welfare projects in Gujarat, the Gujarat government claims.

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3) Economy

World Bank lowers India’s GDP growth forecast to 6.5% from 7.5% for 2022-23

The World Bank has cut its 2022-23 (FY23) real gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for India to 6.5%, from an earlier estimate of 7.5%, while warning that spillovers from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and global monetary tightening will weigh on the economic outlook. Private investment growth is likely to be dampened by heightened uncertainty and higher financing costs,’ the World Bank said in its twice-a-year report. The international financial institution also noted that slowing global demand will impact the country’s exports. This is the third time the World Bank has revised its GDP growth forecast for India in FY23. In June, it slashed its FY23 GDP growth forecast for India to 7.5%. Earlier in April, it had trimmed the forecast from 8.7% to 8%.

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India better placed than others, still on course for 7% growth, says CEA

Chief economic adviser V Anantha Nageswaran said India is still on course for 7% growth in the current fiscal year although “downside risks dominate the upside risk” it’s “better placed” than other countries. “What gives us strength is the fact that domestic consumption is the biggest driver of growth,”. “I would argue that once the current one-off exogenous external shocks dissipate, I am still confident that the sustainable growth rate will be closer to 7%.” He dismissed reports of JP Morgan not including India’s sovereign bonds in a widely popular global index due to concerns about the country’s market infrastructure. “We have to understand that the stated reasons are not real reasons–this is a very specious excuse,” he said. “India’s infrastructure is far more advanced.” India has made its stance clear about not giving up its sovereign right to tax, he said.

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Services sector growth loses pace, hits 6-month low in September

India’s services sector growth slowed to a six-month low in September, but remained in expansionary mode, a private survey showed. The S&P Global India Services Purchasing Managers’ Index dropped to 54.3 from August’s robust 57.2 level. A reading above 50 on the index indicates an expansion in activity. The aggregate rate of input cost inflation eased to a 22-month low in September due to broad-based slowdowns in manufacturing and services, while selling price hikes were the “weakest in six months”, S&P Global said. There was a continued revival in business confidence, with sentiment at its highest level in over seven-and-a-half years in September.

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4) Markets, Banking, and Finance

RBI to soon commence the pilot launch of Digital Rupee releases concept note on Central Bank Digital Currency

The Reserve Bank of India on Friday said it will soon commence the pilot launch of the e-rupee for specific use cases and also released a concept note on Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) that aims to create awareness about such currencies in general and the planned features of the Digital Rupee in particular. As the extent and scope of such pilot launches expand, the RBI will continue to communicate about the specific features and benefits of the digital rupee, from time to time, it said in a statement. “The e-rupee will provide an additional option to the currently available forms of money. It is substantially not different from banknotes, but being digital it is likely to be easier, faster, and cheaper. It also has all the transactional benefits of other forms of digital money,” the RBI said.

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SEBI orders Indian credit agency Brickwork Ratings to shut down

India’s market regulator on Thursday ordered Brickwork Ratings India Pvt Ltd to wind down operations within six months, citing “failure to exercise proper skill, care and diligence” while discharging duties as a credit rating agency. In a rare order, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) canceled the certificate of registration of Brickwork Ratings and prevented it from taking on any new business, saying there have been repeated lapses in the functioning of the rating agency. “The repeated lapses, noticed across multiple inspections conducted by SEBI, shows that governance changes recommended in earlier inspections, and monetary penalties imposed have not proved effective,” the regulator said in the order. SEBI has been tightening disclosure rules for credit rating agencies since 2016, in a bid to boost transparency and accountability after a number of sudden sharp corporate rating changes.

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5) Business

Gautam Adani announces Rs 65,000 cr investment in Rajasthan

Richest Asian Gautam Adani has announced a Rs 65,000 crore investment in Rajasthan over the next 5 to 7 years in setting up a mega 10,000 MW solar power capacity, expanding cement plant, and upgrading Jaipur airport. The investment by the ports-to-energy conglomerate that Adani heads also spans city gas infrastructure for retailing CNG to automobiles and piped gas to households and industries as well as laying transmission lines to carry renewable power. Adani Group is investing Rs 50,000 crore to add 10,000 megawatts of renewable power generation capacity. Besides, it is looking to double its cement manufacturing capacity following its acquisition of Ambuja Cements and ACC.

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TCS carves out two new telecoms, 5G business Units

Tata Consultancy Services has carved out two new business units dedicated to telecom and 5G solutions led by industry veterans, according to sources. The company has created a network solution and services unit (NSS), under the communications and media vertical, to cater to 5G rollout and engineering solutions led by Vimal Kumar. It has also created a cognitive enterprise network unit (CEN), within the enterprise growth group, to offer intelligent network management solutions led by Satya Pitta. India’s largest IT services company by revenue, TCS has been bullish on the 5G opportunity and has been vocal about industry access to the 5G spectrum.

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Indian startups in focus as Tiger Global eyes $6 billion venture fund

India has emerged as a major highlight in Tiger Global’s plans, even as the New York-based investment firm targets a corpus of $6 billion for its new venture capital fund, according to a letter sent to its limited partners, or sponsors, on October 6. The latest fund, which aims to rack up $6 billion, is substantially smaller than the $12.7 billion technology vehicle it closed earlier this year, as per international media reports, but the fund size was initially planned for over $8 billion. Among the largest tech-focussed funds globally, Tiger Global said India’s OfBusiness, a business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce firm for raw material procurement, has been one such bet where it has a meaningful holding and the business has grown quickly with compelling margins. OfBusiness, which is also backed by Japan’s SoftBank and Alpha Wave, is valued at nearly $5 billion.

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‘Avoid Indian-Origin Candidates’: Infosys faces “Culture Of Bias” suit in the US

Infosys, the Bengaluru-based IT giant, is facing a bias suit in a US court after a former executive, in a complaint, last year, accused the company of discrimination in its hiring process, based on age, gender, and nationality. Jill Prejean, a former Vice President of Talent Acquisition with Infosys, claimed she was asked to avoid hiring candidates of Indian origin, women with children, and candidates above 50 years of age, according to reports. She made the shocking admission before the United States District Court for the southern district of New York. Ms. Prejean had filed the suit against the company, former executives of the company, and partners in September last year.

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6) Technology

AIGF urges TN to reconsider online gaming ban, says move ‘unconstitutional’

The All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) has urged the Tamil Nadu government to reconsider the ordinance passed by the state to ban online skill games. The industry body termed the move “unconstitutional” and said “it disregards 6 decades of established legal jurisprudence. The Federation also believes that the ban can have an adverse effect on the state and will push more and more people toward illegal offshore websites. “What this ordinance in effect does is treat and conflicts games of skill as gambling and games of chance,” said Roland Landers, CEO of AIGF. The Federation said that India is the fifth largest online gaming market globally and skill-based gaming, a sunrise sector, is giving birth to an increasing number of unicorns within the country. A ban may, therefore, push people towards illegal offshore websites.

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The impact of the Tamil Nadu Government’s ordinance to ban Online Gaming

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Crypto exchange WazirX lays off 40% of staff in a bid to weather volatile markets

Indian crypto exchange WazirX laid off 40% of its staff last week, including members from its policy, communications, and marketing teams, as per reports. WazirX in a statement to Coindesk said “The crypto market has been in the grip of a bear market because of the current global economic slowdown. The Indian crypto industry has had its unique problems with respect to taxes, regulations, and banking access. This has led to a dramatic fall in volumes in all Indian crypto exchanges.” With these recent layoffs, WazirX joins the long list of crypto firms looking to cut down on their workforce due to the economic downturn. Since June, several crypto companies began to lay off, freeze withdrawals, and go to any extent to stem losses.

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7) Politics

M K Stalin elected again as DMK chief sets sight on winning 2024 Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu

DMK stalwart and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin was unanimously elected as party president at the party’s general council meeting held here on Sunday. In his address following his election, Stalin asked office-bearers to take a vow to work towards securing a landslide victory for the party in the 2024 Lok Sabha (LS) polls and emerge in national politics as an unassailable force. The party should win all the 39 Parliamentary constituencies in the state and the lone seat in neighboring Puducherry as well, he said. This is the second time Stalin is being elected unopposed as party chief.

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EC bars Uddhav Thackeray, and Eknath Shinde camps from using the Shiv Sena name, the symbol for Maha bypoll

The Election Commission on Saturday barred the Shiv Sena factions led by Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde from using the party name and its election symbol. In an interim order over the claims by the rival factions for control of the organization, the commission asked them to suggest by Monday three name choices for their groups, and also as many free symbols. The Commission can allocate the name and symbol to both factions from the options submitted.

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8) Sports

Lionel Messi says the 2022 World Cup will ‘surely’ be his last

Argentina captain Lionel Messi said Thursday that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will “surely” be the last of his career. Messi, who is due to appear in his fifth World Cup, made his international debut in 2005 and has since won 164 caps for Argentina and is the country’s all-time record scorer with 90 goals. Messi’s international debut as a substitute against Hungary in 2005 lasted just two minutes before he was sent off but he quickly established himself in the national team set-up and traveled to Germany for his first World Cup in 2006. He went on to play in the 2010 edition in South Africa, in 2014 in Brazil, where Argentina reached the final, and in 2018 in Russia.

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Norway Chess: Viswanathan Anand claims another win over world champion Carlsen; leads standings

Indian ace Viswanathan Anand returned to winning ways, upstaging world No.1 Magnus Carlsen in the fifth round of the Classical section early on Monday in the Norway Chess tournament to climb to the top spot. After defeating the Norwegian superstar in the Blitz event that preceded the Classical section, Anand claimed the victory in a thrilling Armageddon (sudden death game) after the regular match ended in a 40-move draw. In Armageddon, the 52-year-old Anand recreated the magic of old when he stunned Carlsen to post a win in 50 moves. With 10 points in his kitty, the Indian GM leads the field with four more rounds to go in the prestigious tournament which features some of the best players in the sport.

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India beat South Africa by seven wickets in the 2nd ODI

India beat South Africa by seven wickets in the second ODI to level the three-match series here on Sunday. India chased down the target of 279 with 25 balls remaining, riding on a brilliant 113 not out off 111 balls from Shreyas Iyer and 93 from Ishan Kishan. South Africa had won the first match by nine runs on October 6 in Lucknow.

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Lovlina, Jaismine and Hussamuddin confirm medals at National Games

Olympic bronze winner Lovlina Borgohain and Commonwealth Games medal-winning duo of Mohammed Hussamuddin and Jasmine Lamboria assured themselves of a medal each at the National Games boxing competition after recording quarterfinal victories here on Sunday. Even as the fancied names made progress, Gujarat’s Asifali Asgharli Syed and Ruchita Rajput lined up for a podium finish, giving the home crowd much to cheer about.

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9) Opinion

India will not be the next China

Up until 1990, India was slightly richer than China on a per capita basis, but since then China’s economy has grown far faster than India’s. In this video let’s look at the structural issues in India’s economy that have thus far prevented it from achieving the same level of economic success as China.

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Transaction declined: why Prosus scrapped the $4.7 billion PayU-BillDesk deal

Prosus, the investment arm of South African multinational Naspers, has terminated the $4.7 billion acquisition of online payments gateway firm BillDesk by the Dutch-listed company’s Indian subsidiary PayU Payments. The “abrupt move” announced on Monday was triggered largely by the ongoing correction in global markets that rendered the year-old transaction “over-priced”. The firm’s decision to pull out of the deal comes barely a month after India’s anti-trust regulator – the Competition Commission of India (CCI) – had approved the contours of the deal that was first announced in August 2021. This ends what would have been the second-largest buyout of an Indian digital technology startup after Walmart’s $16 billion purchase of a majority stake in online retailer Flipkart in 2018.

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Reality check: Are NFTs dead?

There’s no doubt about it: Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are in trouble. The bull run that existed all throughout 2021 has long been left behind in the dust. Now, liquidity has dried up and trade volumes have plummeted, with the most popular marketplace OpenSea reporting a decline of over 90% in daily trading volumes since its peak around May. Things turned for the worse as OpenSea laid off about 20% of its workforce in July to tide through the adverse market conditions. As per the recent Bloomberg report, NFT trading volumes have tumbled 97% since January, the report implies that the fading NFT mania is a component of a larger $2 trillion wipeout in the crypto sector caused by a rapidly tightening monetary policy that is depriving speculative assets of investment flows.

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Courage, politics & geopolitics of Nobel Peace Prize — Think Putin & bestie, Lukashenko

Nobel Peace Prize winners are from Lukashenko’s Belarus, Putin’s Russia & Zelensky’s Ukraine. Shekhar Gupta on who the winners are, their courage, and also geopolitics from Belarus’ Ales Bialiatski and his decades-old tussle with Lukashenko.

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Crisis point: Europe’s economic future | Business Beyond

Russia’s war in Ukraine has drawn renewed attention to Europe’s role on the world stage. Having displayed a unified response to Russian aggression by imposing sanctions on Moscow and helping millions of Ukrainian refugees, the continent is now facing other urgent challenges including the cost-of-living crisis, energy shortages, and an increase in extreme weather. In this video, we explore how the European Union’s unique history informs its response to various crises, how national and common interests collide, and how the next decades could be shaped by new trading relationships, particularly with Africa.

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10) Weekly special

JM Financial’s Vishal Kampani on the India growth story

Like most views, Vishal Kampani is bullish on India and its future. He reasons it out with a cross-assimilation of three different paradigms — Stability and long-term vision from the government at the center coupled with a corporate sector with low cash balances, barely any leverage, and who are willing to invest and mass flow of consumer households savings to financial instruments. Moreover, he insists that the availability of domestic capital sources will reduce India’s dependence on foreign capital, making it a 7-8% growth story for the next 20 years. “Putting together advancements in design, innovation, low-scale labor, and a massive push in terms of energy sources and infrastructure in the country, there’s no reason India can’t be a manufacturing hub in the coming years. The entire world is our market,” says Vishal. Vishal bets on India becoming one of the best-performing markets globally by 2030.

For details visit here.

11) Did you know?

As the world celebrates Nobel Peace winners, a question: Why didn’t Gandhi ever win the Prize?

Up to 1960, when anti-apartheid activist Albert John Lutuli was honored, the Peace Nobel went almost exclusively to Europeans and Americans. According to the Nobel website, Gandhi was a ‘different’ man — not a real politician or proponent of international law, not a humanitarian relief worker, not an organizer of global peace congresses. The Committee’s archives do not suggest that a possible adverse British reaction to an award to Gandhi was ever taken into account. In 1947, a majority of the Committee had doubts about the consistency of Gandhi’s pacifism, triggered by a misleading news report that quoted him as saying that “if there was no other way of securing justice from Pakistan… the Indian Union Government would have to go to war against it”, and “Muslims whose loyalty was with Pakistan should not stay in the Indian Union”.

For details visit here.

With that, we come to the end of our Weekly Current Affairs October 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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