Welcome to the Endeavor Editors Current Affairs Choicest Blog series. Get a weekly roundup -on 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.
Current Affairs April 2021 – Week 2
1. Current Affairs – International News & Global Economy
Supply Chain Financing and the unraveling of Greensill Capital.
The sudden demise of Lex Greensill’s eponymous company makes for a riveting story that has mesmerized the financial media. It is filled with numerous plot twists, politicians, and industry moguls and yet amidst all the noise, it is crucial to understand what really underpins this epic debacle. Greensill’s collapse had nothing to do with supply chain finance (SCF) itself, which financiers have practiced for centuries as a type of trade finance product. The failure was rooted mainly in an overall lack of transparency and controls, its divergence into more exotic long-term financing structures, and the way Greensill products were managed, which allowed questionable practices to pass unnoticed. For details visit.
The Rise and Fall of Greensill
US-Russian trio blast off on mission to space station
A Russian-US trio of space travelers launched successfully, heading for the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov blasted off as scheduled aboard the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft from the Russia-leased Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan. They are set to dock at the station after a two-orbit, three-hour journey. During their mission, the crew will work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science, and Earth science. For details visit.
Russia is testing a nuclear torpedo in the Arctic that has the power to trigger radioactive tsunamis off the US coast
Russia is planning to deploy a nuclear-powered missile to the Arctic that’s designed to detonate off the coastlines of enemy countries. Satellite images indicate that Russia is testing weapons in the region and building significant military infrastructure in the Arctic – which is increasingly free of ice because of climate change. Russia would deploy the Poseidon 2M39 missile to its Arctic region next summer. The missile has been referred to in reports as a “doomsday” device because of its devastating power. For details visit.
Russia’s new weapon can unleash ‘Radioactive Tsunamis’
2. Current Affairs – India & World
India back to positive growth but Covid-19 still poses a downside risk, says IMF’s Gita Gopinath
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected an impressive 12.5 percent growth rate for India in 2021, saying there is a normalization of economic activity in the country. The reason for the upward revision was a continued increase in the economic activity, the normalization, the recovery that we were seeing in terms of high-frequency indicators. Apart from this the February Budget also added about .2 percentage to the growth forecast. For details visit.
IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath speaks on India’s growth projection
Need Rs 3,000 Cr to ramp up vaccine production, says Adar Poonawalla
Serum Institute of India (SII) would require around Rs. 3,000 crore to ramp up production capacity for making vaccines for COVID-19, its CEO Adar Poonawalla said. SII has delivered over 100 million doses to India alone and exported around 60 million doses to other countries. Mr. Poonawalla said that Serum Institute is prioritizing the temporary needs of India before others. SII hopes to increase its capacity of Covishield to 110 million doses per month from June onwards. For details visit.
Adar Poonawalla CEO of Serum Institute of India speaks on India’s vaccination drive
Chhattisgarh Naxal Encounter: Abducted CRPF Jawan released
CRPF jawan, Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, who was abducted by the Naxals after a gun battle in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district with security forces has been released. Thirty-one jawans were injured while CoBRA commando Minhas, belonging to its 210th battalion, went missing after the gunfight and was stated to have been taken, hostage. Twenty-two personnel from various security forces were killed in the ambush. For details visit.
22 policemen killed in Chhattisgarh attack: Who are Maoists, their strength & evolution
What the illegal entry of USS John Paul Jones into India’s EEZ could mean
The US said its guided-missile destroyer, the USS John Paul Jones, sailed through India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) without any intimation. The move was in violation of Indian law, but the US asserted that it was consistent with international law. ThePrint’s Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta unpacks the complicated issues of international relations through the laws of the sea. Gupta said the Indian authorities would be wondering, what is the motive behind Americans making a public statement about this. The Indian government spokesperson has said the move looked like a message to China. For details visit.
US Navy conducts freedom of navigation patrol in Indian EEZ without consent
India and China hold 11th round of military talks; focus on further disengagement in eastern Ladakh
India and China held another round of military talks on Friday to take forward the disengagement process in the remaining friction points such as Hot Springs, Gogra, and Depsang in eastern Ladakh, people familiar with the development said. Late last month, Army chief General MM Naravane said the threat to India has only “abated” following the disengagement in the Pangong lake areas, but it has not gone away altogether. For details visit.
3. Current Affairs – Politics
Mamata Banerjee orders CID probe into Cooch Behar killings
West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee questioned the central forces’ argument of firing on voters in self-defense in Cooch Behar that killed four people. Banerjee said her government will initiate a CID probe into the incident and said there is no video footage or any other proof to substantiate claims of the central forces. She reiterated her demand for the resignation of Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the incident. For details visit.
Himachal MC polls: Congress wins in Palampur, Solan; BJP in Mandi; no clear winner in Dharamshala
In Dharamshala MC, which has 17 wards, no party got a clear majority. The BJP won eight seats, the Congress five, and the independent candidates won four seats. The BJP needs the support of just one more candidate to form a majority here. For details visit.
Kerala would get hung Assembly with BJP winning 35-40 seats: E Sreedharan
A day after Kerala voted in the Assembly elections, BJP leader E Sreedharan claimed that the state will have a hung assembly with his party bagging 35-40 seats. He also expressed confidence in winning from the Palakkad constituency by over 10,000 votes. The eminent engineer, known for helming big-ticket infra projects like Konkan Railway and Delhi Metro, had joined the BJP in Kerala ahead of elections. At 88, he was one of the oldest candidates. For details visit.
EC orders repoll suspends officers over Assam ‘EVM theft’, BJP calls it Congress conspiracy
The Election Commission of India (ECI) ordered repolling in polling booth 149 of Ratabari seat in Assam following the furor over an electronic voting machine (EVM) being transported in the car of Patharkandi BJP candidate Krishnendu Paul. A video of the EVM in Paul’s car had gone viral on social media earlier. The BJP in Assam is alleging that the entire row is a Congress conspiracy. The Congress is demanding that Paul be disqualified from the election. For details visit.
Can India’s EVMs be hacked? The Quint Heads to London to Find Out
A US-based expert claims he can demonstrate that Indian EVMs can be tampered with. The Quint looks at why there are questions about EVMs, and whether any allegations of tampering have been proved.
Follow Covid norms or will ban rallies, Election Commission tells parties
Taking a serious view of the laxity in following Covid-19 protocol during campaigns, the Election Commission warned all political parties that it will not hesitate in banning rallies and meetings if precautions are not adhered to during the remaining phases of elections in West Bengal. In its letter to all recognized state and national political parties, the commission reiterated its guidelines on holding election rallies amid the pandemic. For details visit.
4. Current Affairs – Markets, Banking, and Finance
Staying accommodative: on RBI keeping interest rates unchanged
Armed with a renewed mandate to contain inflation within a 2 percentage point range of the target 4%, and mindful of the pandemic’s latest wave, the RBI’s monetary policy committee has opted to reaffirm its growth-supportive “accommodative stance” and keep interest rates unchanged. The MPC, which met for the first time in the new financial year, also maintained its projection for GDP expansion in the current fiscal at 10.5%, notwithstanding the risks to the forecast from the current upsurge in novel coronavirus cases and associated localized lockdowns. For details visit.
Market Experts share their views on RBI’s monetary policy
5. Current Affairs – Business
Jio inks pact with Airtel to buy some spectrum in 800 MHz band; deal valued at Rs 1,497 crore
Reliance Jio has signed an agreement with Bharti Airtel to acquire a portion of the spectrum in 800 MHz bands for Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, and Mumbai circles at an aggregate value of Rs 1,497 crore—marking the first such deal between the two telecom giants. With this spectrum trading agreement, Airtel will receive a consideration of Rs 1,037.6 crore from Jio for the proposed transfer. In addition, Jio will assume future liabilities of Rs 459 crore relating to the spectrum, Bharti Airtel said in a separate statement. For details visit.
Swiggy gets $800 million to fund growth and help seed new businesses
Indian food delivery app Swiggy is closing an $800 million funding round from investors including Falcon Edge Capital LP and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Sriharsha Majety said in a note to employees. The fundraising was heavily subscribed and existing investors including Accel and Naspers Ltd. participated, Majety wrote in the note viewed by Bloomberg. The new capital will speed up growth in its existing businesses and help seed new ones, he said, as the convenience delivery segment grows to half-a-billion users in the next decade. For details visit.
Swamibhaman Bharat: Replication of Swiggy’s business model in various countries- Vivek Sunder
Swiggy COO Vivek Sunder explains how India will be able to lead the nations into taking different business models from the country and applying it in their country
Sixth Unicorn in a week: Gupshup, ShareChat now valued at over a billion-dollar after fundraise
Gupshup and Sharechat, messaging platforms, have joined the list of ten Indian startups to become billion-dollar valued companies or unicorns in the first four months of 2021, in what is a historic moment for the Indian ecosystem. Of this, six turned unicorns this week on consecutive days. Gupshup, a messaging platform with operations in Mumbai and the US, has raised USD 100 Mn from Tiger Global at a valuation of USD 1.4 bn and is eyeing a public listing soon. Founded in 2004, the company’s last funding round was in 2011. It reported an annual revenue run rate of USD 150 mn in 2020. For details visit.
Aakash joins Byju’s universe in a deal worth nearly $1 billion
Edtech company Byju’s confirmed the acquisition of education institution Aakash Educational Services Ltd (AESL), as it looks to boost its presence in the test preparation segment and add omnichannel capabilities to both entities. The cash-and-stock deal was closed at almost $1 billion, making it one of the most expensive deals in India’s burgeoning edtech space. For details visit.
Tiny Institute to Billion-Dollar Company: A Brief History of Aakash Educational Services | The Quint
A look at how Aakash Educational Services saw success over the years.
Samsung TV Plus “100% free” OTT streaming service launched in India
Samsung TV Plus, Samsung’s free over-the-top video streaming service for its smart TVs is now available in India. With the India launch, Samsung TV Plus is now available in 14 countries including the US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Korea, Australia, Brazil, and Mexico. In India, Samsung is kicking off the proceedings with 27 global and local channels. “More partners will be on-boarded soon to make the service more robust,” the company said. Globally, the service offers live and on-demand TV from over 800 channels. For details visit.
Relief for OYO subsidiary in ‘bankruptcy’ case as NCLAT stays insolvency proceeding
A day after Oravel Stays filed against the NCLT order, which had sought to initiate insolvency proceedings against the company’s subsidiary OYO Hotels and Homes Private Limited (OHHPL) in a payment default case, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has now admitted OYO’s plea and ordered a stay against the formation of a committee of creditors (COC). A news report had earlier claimed that OYO has filed for bankruptcy even as the company founder and CEO Ritesh Agarwal had refuted the same in a tweet. For details visit.
Will Covid19 impact Oyo?
Aditya Ghosh, board member of Oyo Hotels and Home commented on the impact of Coronavirus on the company’s business. Ghosh said that fundamentally India is a strong story and that affordable products see bigger growth during crises. He added that companies need to prepare emergency response processes.
6. Current Affairs – Policy
Govt notifies Copyright (Amendment) Rules, 2021
The compliance requirements for registration of software works have been reduced and the applicant can file the first 10 and last 10 pages of source code, or the entire source code if less than 20 pages, with no blocked out or redacted portions. “The amendments have been introduced with the objective of bringing the existing rules in parity with other relevant legislation,” the commerce and industry ministry said in a statement. The amendments have harmonized the Copyright Rules with the provisions of Finance Act, 2017 whereby the Copyright Board has been merged with the Appellate Board. For details visit.
7. Current Affairs – Sports
IPL 2021: 10 new rules that teams and players have to follow in IPL 2021
The last IPL was the first one held under the shadow of the raging COVID-19 pandemic and saw some very unusual rules and regulations. From the artificial crowd noise to strict protocols bio-bubble protocols, IPL 2020 was very different from the previous editions. However, the 2021 edition is also going to be unique as the league returns to India where the impact of the pandemic is still strong. The new seasons will see more strict protocols being introduced as well as a few tweaks in the existing rules to make the tournament more conducive to present times. For details visit.
8. Current Affairs – Opinion
Who are the Uighurs and why is China being accused of genocide?
China is facing mounting criticism from around the world over its treatment of the mostly Muslim Uighur population in the north-western region of Xinjiang. Human rights groups believe China has detained more than a million Uighurs over the past few years in what the state defines as “re-education camps”. There is evidence of Uighurs being used as forced labor and of women being forcibly sterilized. The US is among several countries to have accused China of committing genocide and crimes against humanity through its repression of the Uighurs. China denies such allegations, saying it has been combatting separatism and Islamist militancy in the region. For details visit.
China responsible for ‘ongoing genocide’ of Uyghurs
Nike and H&M face China backlash after warning of Uighur forced labor in cotton industry – BBC News
India’s billion-dollar pitch to chip-makers
India has entered the race for tech supremacy. New Delhi has a ‘$1 billion’ pitch for global chip-makers to consider. What is the proposal?
Real-Money Gaming: Will VC-fuelled fantasy sports apps find a firm footing in India?
The fantasy sports industry has evolved to capture more than 100 Mn users of India’s 360 Mn (approx.) mobile gaming market. Even as regulators and the government are scrambling to address segment-specific issues, fantasy gaming continues to operate in a regulatory grey area. Despite regulatory issues, venture capital and private funds are knee-deep into this budding market in India, hoping to change public perception. Read an in-depth report on what lays ahead for the future of fantasy gaming in India. For details visit.
Top 20 Facts You Must Know About Fantasy Sports | The Quint
The founder of fantasy sports platform Dream11 talks to Moneycontrol about setting up a business in a nascent industry
Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about self-driving cars and retirement
Apple CEO Tim Cook said that augmented reality and artificial intelligence are key to the iPhone maker’s future. Cook discussed the cutting-edge technologies as well as his next career move in a podcast interview with the New York Times. For details visit.
Will Apple be the next Nokia?
Apple is one of the world’s richest companies. But, is the tech giant making the same mistakes once committed by Nokia? On Gravitas Plus, Palki Sharma tells you how slowing sales, controversies, and an innovation problem might push Apple towards a decline.
Behind The Corporate Bond Market’s $10.5 Trillion Debt ‘Bubble’
U.S. companies now face the highest levels of debt on record — more than $10.5 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve and the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, or SIFMA. The corporate debt market is where companies go to borrow cash. And for over a decade, super-low interest rates leftover from the 2008 financial crisis have made borrowing easier and easier. Since then, U.S. companies have regularly offered up bonds for sale, taking advantage of the cheap access to cash. Between rising interest rates and inflation concerns, Wall Street is watching the bond market closely and checking the pulse of the U.S. economy. Here’s how the corporate bond market got to these “bubble” levels and just how risky this massive amount of debt may be to the U.S. economy.
Public Debt: how much is too much? | The Economist
The covid-19 pandemic is set to increase public debt to levels last seen after the second world war. But is rising public debt a cause for concern? New economic thinking suggests perhaps not, at least for now.
With that, we come to an end for our Weekly Current Affairs April 2021 -week 1. Hope you have liked it. Write in your feedback in the comments below and let us know if anything else you would like us to cover.
9. Current Affairs – Others
Scientists predict second Covid wave to peak from April 15-20; decline by end of May
Scientists are now working on a mathematical model to examine the Covid-19 spread and have predicted that the current second wave will peak somewhere between April 15-20 and then see a decline. During the first wave of Covid-19 infections across India, the mathematical approach, named ‘SUTRA’, predicted that the initial surge of infections in August would peak by September and lower in February 2021. Scientists, including Prof Manindra Agrawal from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, applied the model to predict the trajectory of the current surge in infections and found that the number of daily new infections was likely to peak in mid-April for this ongoing pandemic wave. For details visit.
With that, we come to an end for our Weekly Current Affairs April 2021 -week 2. Hope you have liked it. Write in your feedback in the comments below and let us know if anything else you would like us to cover.
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