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 counter-offensive: Russian forces retreat as Ukraine takes key towns

Russian forces have withdrawn from key eastern towns, as a rapid Ukrainian counter-attack makes further gains. On Saturday, Ukrainian officials said troops entered Kupiansk, a vital eastern supply hub for Russian forces. Russia’s defence ministry then said its troops have retreated from nearby Izyum to allow them “to regroup”. The ministry also confirmed the withdrawal of troops from a third key town, Balaklyia, in order to “bolster efforts” on the Donetsk front. The Ukrainian advances – if held – would be the most significant since Russia withdrew from areas around Kyiv in April.

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Putin’s war in Ukraine takes an ‘ugly turn’ for Moscow; Russian troops retreat from Kharkiv towns

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The last reactor at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant stopped

Europe’s largest nuclear plant has been reconnected to Ukraine’s electricity grid, allowing engineers to shut down its last operational reactor in an attempt to avoid a radiation disaster as fighting rages in the area. The six-reactor Zaporizhzhia plant lost its outside source of power a week ago after all its power lines were disconnected as a result of shelling. It was operating in “island mode” for several days, generating electricity for crucial cooling systems from its only remaining operational reactor. The plant, one of the 10 biggest atomic power stations in the world, has been occupied by Russian forces since the early stages of the war. Ukraine and Russia have blamed each other for shelling around the plant that has damaged the power lines connecting it to the grid.

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Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, dies aged 96

Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving monarch in British history, has died aged 96, drawing to a close the country’s second Elizabethan era, and heralding the reign of her son, King Charles III. The monarch, for whom abdication was never an option, died peacefully at Balmoral on Thursday afternoon two days after undertaking her final public constitutional duty, with the appointment of the 15th prime minister of her 70-year reign. Her death means Charles now becomes king and the Duchess of Cornwall the Queen Consort. As Queen of the UK and 14 other realms, and head of the 54-nation Commonwealth, Elizabeth II was easily the world’s most recognizable head of state during an extraordinarily long reign.

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Liz Truss wins contest to Become UK’s next Prime Minister

Liz Truss won the bitter race to succeed Boris Johnson as UK prime minister and will take power with the country facing brutal economic headwinds that threaten to plunge millions of Britons into poverty this winter. The foreign secretary, 47, emerged victorious on Monday after a two-month Conservative Party leadership contest that started with 11 candidates and concluded with a runoff against former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. She defeated him by 81,326 votes to 60,399 in a ballot of party members — a narrower margin than polls had projected, illustrating the challenge she’ll face in trying to unite the party — and will now become Britain’s third female prime minister. Truss inherits a forbidding in-tray, with the UK facing surging inflation, a potential recession, and a record squeeze on living standards spurred by soaring energy prices. Markets have been flashing red through August, with the pound, gilts, and corporate bonds seeing their biggest sell-offs in years.

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Who is UK’s next prime minister Liz Truss? – BBC News

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Oil Prices hit a seven-month low as Recession fears weigh on demand

Oil prices dropped more than 5% on Wednesday, falling to just over $80 per barrel and hitting their lowest point since January as rising fears that a global economic downturn will hurt demand weighed on energy markets. A variety of factors are “keeping a lid on prices,” says Vital Knowledge founder Adam Crisafulli, who points out that Europe is moving aggressively to cut reliance on Russian gas and to find alternative energy suppliers such as Norway. With Russia turning to alternate buyers for oil like India and China, there is a looming threat of price caps, either from the G7 on Russian oil or from the EU on Russian gas, Crisafulli adds. Global energy demand is softening, especially in China, where crude oil imports fell 9.4% last month compared to a year ago, as the country’s zero-Covid policy has led to full or partial lockdowns in more than 70 cities since late August.

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2) India

India to join three of four IPEF ‘pillars’

Signaling its political and strategic commitment to the world’s newest economic architecture in the Indo-Pacific, and in keeping with its national priorities, India is set to join three of the four pillars of the Indo-Pacific Framework (IPEF) at the framework’s first in-person ministerial summit in Los Angeles. India believes that participating in the pillars will help give it a seat at the global rule-making high table as newer economic arrangements are designed and will boost its own engagement with other Indo-Pacific economies. The pillars also align with India’s own national goals of securing supply chains and reducing dependence on China, ensuring a just energy transition while building infrastructure and pursuing development objectives, and being at the cutting-edge of clean and transparent economic arrangements while tackling corruption and opaque practices that give countries such as China an asymmetric and unfair advantage, people familiar with India’s approach said.

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What does the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework mean for India and the world?

IPEF is an economic compact that is oriented around four key pillars. First, the “Connected Economy”, prioritizes trade and looks to set the rules of the road in the digital economy. The second pillar. “Resilient Economy”, focuses on building out secure supply chains. Third, the “Clean Economy” pillar looks to secure key climate goals like decarbonization and clean energy. Finally, the “Fair Economy” segment hopes to push anti-corruption efforts and corporate governance. Part of the IPEF’s motivation is to forge an economic accord that allows like-minded nations to set technical rules and reap the economic benefits of growth in the Indo-Pacific. As the White House Fact Sheet on IPEF states, “with 60 percent of the world’s population, the Indo?Pacific is projected to be the largest contributor to global growth over the next 30 years.” Lower costs and assured supplies of goods are other major factor. The White House argues that the “IPEF will help lower costs by making our supply chains more resilient in the long term” by “protecting us against costly disruptions that lead to higher prices for consumers.” The focus on decarbonization and clean supply chains is also aimed at achieving ambitious emissions reduction goals.

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Govt imposes 20% export duty on non-Basmati rice from Sept 9

The government on Thursday imposed a 20 percent export duty on non-Basmati rice except for parboiled rice to boost domestic supplies amid a fall in area under the paddy crop in the current Kharif season. The area under the paddy crop has been down by 5.62 percent at 383.99 lakh hectares in the ongoing Kharif season so far due to poor rains in some states, as per the latest data released by the agriculture ministry. India, the world’s second-largest rice producer after China, commands a 40 percent share in global trade. The country exported non-Basmati rice to more than 150 countries in 2021-22. Welcoming the export duty, former president of All India Rice Exporters Association Vijay Setia said Indian rice was being exported at a “very low price”. The export duty would lead to a reduction in non-Basmati rice shipments by 2-3 million tonnes, but the realization from the exports would remain the same because of the 20 percent duty.

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India and China troops begin disengagement from Gogra-Hotsprings in Ladakh

Indian and Chinese troops have begun disengaging at Patrolling Pillar (15) in the Gogra-Hotspring region of Eastern Ladakh, the government said Thursday. Forces of the two countries have been locked in a confrontational position in the area since April 2020. The 16th Corps Commander Level talks were held on July 17 this year at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Indian side. With disengagement at PP 15, forces of the two countries have disengaged at all friction points in the region which included the North and South banks of the Pangong Tso, PP 14, PP 15, and PP 17A. However, other contentious issues related to the boundary still remain between the two countries, and Chinese forces have still blocked access to traditional patrolling areas of Indian forces on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Depsang Plains and Charding Nala regions. The last disengagement between the forces of the two countries had been achieved at PP 17 A in August last year following the 12th Corp Commander Level meeting. Since then, no breakthrough could be achieved through the three corps commander-level talks that happened before an agreement was reached during the 16th talks.

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Ladakh standoff to ease? India and China troops begin disengagement from Gogra-Hotsprings

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India and Bangladesh sign seven agreements during PM Modi-Sheikh Hasina talks

India and Bangladesh on Tuesday signed seven agreements for cooperation in areas ranging from sharing of river waters to space and unveiled new connectivity and energy initiatives, as leaders of the two sides held up the bilateral partnership as a role model for the neighborhood. Following talks with his visiting Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said both leaders had stressed on cooperation against terrorism and fundamentalism. The two sides’ seven memorandums of understanding (MoUs) include the withdrawal of water from the cross-border Kushiyara river, cooperation in space technology, collaboration on IT systems used by railways in areas such as movement of freight, science and technology cooperation, training of Bangladesh Railway personnel and Bangladeshi judicial officers in India, and cooperation in broadcasting between Prasar Bharati and Bangladesh Television.

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3) Economy

India to become a powerhouse driving global growth by 2047: Piyush Goyal

Speaking during an interaction with business leaders in California, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal remarked that India was set to become a powerhouse of global growth by 2047. The Minister pointed to the ongoing reform efforts as the engine behind India’s rapid economic growth which has seen the country become the fifth largest economy in the world. “Assessing the impact of the foundational changes and structural transformation that has happened in the last few years, Goyal mentioned that CII estimates India in 2047 to be a $35-45 trillion economy, taking India into the league of developed nations”, a press release stated.

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IMF Chief Kristalina Georgieva speaks on India’s growth, Recession fear, EM Debt & More

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4) Markets, Banking, and Finance

RBI put out an alert list of illegal forex trading apps, websites

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) put out an alert list of entities involved in forex transactions on unauthorized electronic trading platforms this week. RBI noticed that several unauthorized platforms lure people by promising lofty returns. RBI said users of these restricted platforms may be prosecuted from now onwards. Among the long list of illegal apps include OctaFX which is the official trading sponsor of the Indian Premier League (IPL) team Delhi Capitals.

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5) Business

Ernst & Young splits into separate audit and advisory businesses

Bosses at the “big four” accountancy firm Ernst & Young have decided to move ahead with a radical break-up plan to separate its audit and advisory businesses, which will now be put to a vote by its 13,000 partners. Voting at EY, which has offices in more than 150 countries and employs 312,000 people globally, is expected to begin on a country-by-country basis towards the end of this year and conclude early next year. It will be the biggest shake-up of one of the UK’s big four accounting and consultancy firms – EY, KPMG, PwC, and Deloitte – in decades and comes after a series of high-profile corporate collapses, including Carillion and BHS, that raised questions about their audits. The industry has come under pressure for a major overhaul to tackle potential conflicts of interest to avoid future accounting scandals and business failures.

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Goyal launches SETU in the US; aims to connect Indian startups to US investors

Union minister Piyush Goyal launched the program SETU, or Supporting Entrepreneurs in Transformation and Upskilling, in the Bay Area of San Francisco. The initiative would connect startups in India to US-based investors and startup ecosystem leaders with mentorship and assistance in various areas including funding, market access, and commercialization. It is estimated that about 90% of the start-ups and more than half of the well-funded startups fail in their early days. Lack of experience in handling the business is a key issue, and founders require the right guidance for taking a decision and moral support. As India heads towards becoming a supreme startup destination, the right guidance at the right time is paramount. The Indian government invites stalwarts, seasoned experts, and industry leaders to give back to the nation by adding value to a startup’s journey.

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ONGC signs six contracts for three offshore fields each in the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has signed six contracts for Discovered Small Fields (DSF) offshore, with three each for fields in the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal, the company said in a statement on September 10. The contracts were obtained under the DSF-III bid round. These also include four contract areas as a sole bidder and 2 contract areas in partnership with Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), it added. In these six DSF-III blocks awarded to ONGC, an investment of $1,894.5 million is planned for the development of the blocks, the oil refinery said. Furthermore, ONGC also signed two contracts for fields under special CBM bid round -2021 blocks in Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh. For the two CBM blocks awarded to ONGC, the total investment commitment is to the tune of $5.94 million, it added.

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RIL arm to buy the polyester business of Shubhalakshmi Polyesters for Rs 1,522 cr

Reliance Petroleum Retail Limited (under name change to ‘Reliance Polyester Limited’), a wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), on Saturday executed definitive documents to acquire the polyester business of Shubhalakshmi Polyesters Limited for cash consideration of Rs 1,522 crore. The RIL arm will also buy the polyester business of Shubhlaxmi Polytex Limited for Rs 70 crore. The aggregate value of the two acquisitions is Rs 1,592 crore by way of slump sale on a going concern basis, RIL said in a regulatory filing to the stock exchanges. The acquisitions are part of the Company’s strategy to expand its downstream polyester business. The above transactions do not fall within the related party transactions and none of the Company’s promoter/promoter group/group companies have any interest in the above entities, RIL said in the statement.

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Flipkart launches hotel-booking service, sees travel industry gaining

E-commerce firm Flipkart said on Tuesday it is launching a new hotel-booking service to strengthen itself in the travel sector, providing “superior service” as it partners with its travel website Cleartrip. Flipkart Hotels will provide room bookings at 3 lakh domestic and international hotels. It will offer customers services like flexible travel and booking-related policies, and easy EMI options. Walmart-owned Flipkart acquired Cleartrip last year to help the e-commerce firm strengthen its digital commerce offerings for customers. The move enabled Flipkart to tap the travel and tourism market and compete with companies such as MakeMyTrip, Yatra, Booking.com, and EaseMyTrip. Flipkart expected booming tourism as the economy recovers from the pandemic.

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6) Technology

No news

7) Politics

Amit Shah announces Suresh Prabhu-led panel for drafting National Cooperation Policy

Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday announced the constitution of a national-level committee for drafting the National Cooperation Policy document to realize the vision of ‘Sahakar Se Samriddhi ‘ under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The new National Cooperation Policy document is being formulated with a view to fulfilling the mandate given to the new Ministry of Cooperation, which inter alia, includes realizing the vision of ‘Sahakar se Samriddhi’; strengthening the cooperative movement in the country, and deepening its reach up to the grassroots; promoting cooperative-based economic development model; creating an appropriate policy, legal and institutional framework to help cooperatives realize their potential The new policy will go a long way in strengthening the co-operative movement in the country.

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New party in 10 days: Announces Ghulam Nabi Azad at Jammu and Kashmir rally, weeks after quitting Congress

Ghulam Nabi Azad, who quit the Congress last month, on Sunday said that he will be announcing a new party within 10 days. The veteran politician was addressing a public meeting in the Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir. Addressing his maiden rally in Jammu and Kashmir after his acrimonious exit from the Congress months after raising issues about the internal functioning of the grand old party several times, the 73-year-old leader said that his new party would bring together the people of the two provinces of the Union Territory, with its topmost agenda being the restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir.

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8) Sports

Pakistan vs Sri Lanka, Asia Cup 2022 Final Highlights: SL win their 6th title, beat PAK by 23 runs in Dubai

Sri Lanka beat Pakistan in a final that ebbed and flowed until the death overs of the latter’s innings. Sri Lanka made it difficult for Pakistan to score throughout their 172-run chase and turned the screws in the last four overs. Wanindu Hasaranga, who had earlier scored a 21-ball 36 to bring the Sri Lankan innings back on track with Bhanuka Rajapaksa, took three wickets in the 17th over alone to all but finish off the Pakistani challenge. Earlier, Rajapaksa’s unbeaten 45-ball 71, completely turned the tables on Pakistan. Sri Lanka ended up scoring 170/6 despite being 67/5 after the first 10 overs.

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Iga Swiatek beats Ons Jabeur to clinch US Open Crown

World number one Iga Swiatek defeated Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur to win her second Grand Slam title of the year with a straight sets victory in the US Open final on Saturday. Polish star Swiatek overcame a spirited second-set fightback from fifth seed Jabeur to win 6-2, 7-6 (7/5) in 1 hour and 52 minutes at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The victory followed Swiatek’s win at the French Open in June, making the 21-year-old the first woman since 2016 to win two Grand Slams in a single season. Swiatek’s 10th career title also extended her remarkable record in tournament finals. She has now won her last 10 finals, without dropping a set.

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HS Prannoy becomes World No. 1 in BWF World Tour Rankings

Ace Indian shuttler HS Prannoy is now the World’s Number one player in the men’s singles category in the BWF World Tour Rankings. In the rankings updated on September 6, Prannoy emerged as the number one shuttler in tour rankings. The 2022 BWF World Tour started on January 11 and will end on December 18. It is the fifth season of the BWF Badminton World Tour. The tour consists of 22 tournaments which will lead to the final of the tour in December. These 22 tournaments are divided into five levels, Level 1 is the World Tour finals, followed by Level 2 is called Super 1000, Level 3 is called Super 750, Level 4 is called Super 500, and Level 5 is called Super 300. Different prize money and ranking points are offered at each of these tournaments.

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9) Opinion

Implications for IAF as Biden Admin clears $450M Pakistani F-16 upgrade Donald Trump had blocked

As the Biden administration in the US clears Pakistan’s F-16 upgrade, in episode 1071 of #CutTheClutter, Shekhar Gupta looks at the history of the F-16s, whether should India be alarmed and how F-16 denotes Pakistan-US ties over the past 40 years.

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India’s GDP has turned around but structural problems remain

Despite all attempts including halved corporation taxes and low–negative if adjusted for inflation–interest rates to put the Indian economy on a double-digit growth trajectory, the actual numbers are often lower than expectations and forecasts. The latest GDP growth numbers are no exception. Against the RBI’s forecast of 16.2 percent, India’s GDP could grow only 13.5 percent in the April-June quarter. India is far away from achieving the aspirational double-digit growth rates, notwithstanding the hype and chest-thumping about being one of the fastest-growing large economies. But what is hampering India’s growth prospects — cyclical or temporary glitches, or structural factors? And what does this mean for policy-making, going forward.

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A nuclear fusion reactor reaches 100 Million C for 30 secs. Here’s what it means for the future

The Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) — a nuclear fusion reactor developed by researchers at the Seoul National University (SNU) in South Korea — has attained temperatures over 100 million degrees Celsius in a reaction that lasted for about 30 seconds. This development not only sets a new world record but also brings the world closer to the realization and use of nuclear fusion energy. The findings are striking because although scientists have managed to reach temperature levels before, this is the longest they have been able to sustain it. This suggests the possibility of unlimited clean energy. Na, the author of the study, says that low density and that fast-ion-regulated enhancement (FIRE) — meaning more energetic ions at the core of the plasma — were vital in keeping it intact. But the team admits that they still do not have a clear picture of all the mechanisms involved. The reaction was stopped after 30 seconds only because of limitations with hardware, and longer periods should be possible in the future, the New Scientist says.

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10) Weekly special

Exclusive interview with KC Reddy, founder, and chief architect, Rubix

Rubix, an NFT platform is heading towards setting up a benchmark for the crypto market through its Proof-of-Pledge Blockchain technology. Here is an exclusive interview with KC Reddy, Founder, and Chief Architect, of Rubix.

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11) Did you know?

Where does the Doomsday Glacier get its name?

Thwaites Glacier, nicknamed the Doomsday Glacier, is an unusually broad and vast Antarctic glacier flowing into Pine Island Bay, part of the Amundsen Sea, east of Mount Murphy, on the Walgreen Coast of Marie Byrd Land. The glacier gets its ominous nickname because of the “spine-chilling” implications of its total liquidation, which could raise global sea levels between 3 and 10 feet (0.9 and 3 meters). It is in the news because it is teetering even closer to disaster than scientists thought. Due to climate change, the enormous frozen mass is retreating twice as fast as it was 30 years ago and is losing around 50 billion tons (45 billion metric tons) of ice annually, according to the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration. In the new study, an international team of researchers used an underwater robot to map out one of the Thwaites’ past grounding points: a protruding seafloor ridge is known as “the bump,” which is around 2,133 feet (650 m) below the surface. The resulting map revealed that at some point during the last two centuries when the bump was propping up Thwaites Glacier, the glacier’s ice mass retreated more than twice as fast as it does now.

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