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What is it? The pace at which the earth is warming compared to the transition during the ice ages, according to a study by Nature Climate Change.

Why is it important? It indicates that human beings are responsible for global warming. Increased carbon emissions have caused the earth’s temperature to increase by 1 degree Celsius in the last 150 years, which is rapidly destabilising the climate. Experts fear that this pace may prove to be too fast for many species to adapt to, which may lead to widespread extinction.

Tell me more: The ice ages began about 2.4 million years ago and the earth’s temperature kept changing from very cold (glacial periods when glaciers covered large parts of the world) to very warm (inter-glacial periods when glaciers melted). The transition from glacial to inter-glacial periods and vice-versa brought up earth’s sharpest climate changes in the last half a million years. The earth came out of its last ice age about 12,000 years ago and during that transition, it warmed by 4 degree Celsius over 10,000 years.

30

What is it? The number of top wilful defaulters banks should make public, according to a recommendation by a Standing Committee on Finance in a report presented to Parliament.

Why is it important? The name and shame strategy is expected to act as a deterrent. Wilful defaulters owe 64,335 crore to public sector banks, which account for over a fifth of their bad loans. The committee said the banks and the regulator had “evidently failed" to notice the early signs of stress and called for better credit appraisal systems.

Tell me more: The total stressed assets (sum of bad and restructured loans) of banks were 6.8 trillion at the end of September 2015 and such high levels have eroded their profitability, making it difficult for them to raise capital.

1,852

What is it? The number of bulletproof helmets with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), according to a written reply by the minister of state for home affairs Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Why is it important? This is a fraction of 122,485 bulletproof helmets needed by the force. Chaudhary said the reason for the shortage is the non-availability of bulletproof helmets “with desired protection level against 7.62 mm bullet" in the market. The CRPF also faces shortage of other equipment, including 27,412 bulletproof jackets and 4,600 night vision binoculars.

Tell me more: Some of the duties of the world’s largest paramilitary force include riot control, countering militancy and dealing with extremism. The Indian government had allocated around 14,089 crore in last year’s Budget session, 9.5% up from the previous year.

751

What is it? The number of communal incidents recorded in India in 2015, according to a government statement in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

Why is it important? This is an increase of 16.6% from those recorded in 2014. The previous year also saw a marginal increase in the number of deaths due to communal unrest (from 95 in 2014 to 97 in 2015) and the number of injured rose by 17.9% to 2,264 in 2015. Communal violence under different governments has been a subject of intense debate in the country.

Tell me more: The top five states which recorded the maximum number of communal incidents in 2015 are Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. These accounted for 70% of the total communal incidents reported last year.

568

What is it? The number of billionaires in China in 2015, according to Shanghai-based Hurun’s annual ranking of the rich.

Why is it important? China has now overtaken the US (535) in terms of the number of billionaires despite its economic growth recording the slowest pace last year in 25 years and its stocks slipping into the bear market territory (fall of over 20% from recent highs) last month. The wealth calculations were done on 15 January, which means these factors were taken into account for the rankings.

Tell me more: The report attributes the increase in China’s billionaires to “new listings" and says the growth in the rest of the world was affected by economic slowdown and fall in oil prices. India ranks third with 111 billionaires whose combined wealth was $308 billion.

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