1. Lok Sabha clears bill making instant triple talaq a criminal offence
The Lok Sabha passed The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017, which criminalizes instant triple talaq—a practice by which a Muslim man can divorce his wife by uttering the word ‘talaq’ thrice in succession. It also makes such a pronouncement punishable with a fine and imprisonment of up to three years. The bill still has to be cleared by the Rajya Sabha for it to become a law. Among the six religious communities in India by which Census 2011 breaks down divorce data, the difference in divorce rates between men and women is the highest among Muslims, followed by Buddhists.
2. Delhi Metro commissions another stretch
It’s been 15 years since the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) opened its first line and changed the face of public transport in the Delhi National Capital Region. Since then, its network in NCR has crossed 200 km. On Christmas Day 2017, it added to that narrative by opening a short stretch of 12.6 km that is part of the ongoing third phase that, when completed, will take its total network in NCR to 350 km and 251 stations. DMRC has projected it will complete the third phase in a staggered manner during 2018.
3. Interest rates on small savings schemes cut 0.2 percentage points
The government on Wednesday cut interest rates on most small savings schemes—including Public Provident Fund, National Savings Certificate and Kisan Vikas Patra—by 0.2 percentage points for the January-March quarter of 2018. The two schemes that were spared the interest rate cut are savings deposits (4%) and 5-year Senior Citizen Savings scheme (8.3%). Since February 2016, the government has been notifying interest rates on a quarterly basis. There is no change in the respective compounding frequency of the various schemes.
4. At 40, Reliance Industries aims for 20
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is 40 years old. At an event held in Mumbai last weekend to mark this milestone, RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani stated the company’s ambition was to be among the top 20 companies in the world. With an annual turnover of $47 billion, Reliance was ranked 203 in the Fortune Global 500 List 2017. The turnover of EXOR Group, ranked 20 in the list, was $154 billion. In the last 20 years, the Reliance stock has outperformed the market in a big way: Rs100 invested in the Reliance stock has grown to Rs3,680, against Rs959 for the BSE Sensex.
5. Manchester City has best record across big European leagues
The Manchester City juggernaut keeps rolling on. Mid-week, it beat Newcastle 1-0 to notch up its 18th consecutive win—the most ever by any side in the English Premier League. It’s been a sterling season so far for City, which spent a bomb in the summer to fortify its defence. Result: it has the best record among leaders from the five main European leagues, averaging 2.9 points per game out of a maximum 3. The next best is Barcelona in Spain, which is averaging 2.65. Manchester City also has the best goal difference (goals scored minus goals conceded) of 49; the next best is Paris Saint-Germain of France, with 43.
6. Alastair Cook rises to number 6 in test runs
En route to scoring his first hundred in the ongoing Ashes test series against Australia, and the 32nd of his career, English batsman Alastair Cook leapfrogged Mahela Jayawardene of Sri Lanka, and West Indians Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Brian Lara, to sixth in runs scored in test cricket. Cook batted through day three of the Melbourne test, progressing from 104 to 244 not out. In the list of top 10 run-getters, Cook has the lowest batting average, of 46.5 runs per completed innings.
7. Canara Bank to raise up to Rs3,500 crore via QIP
The board of Canara Bank has approved raising up to Rs3,500 crore in capital through the qualified institutional placement (QIP) route. In the past two-and-a-half years, gross non-performing assets (NPAs) of Canara Bank have shot up, and stood at 10.5% of gross advances as of September 2017. Battling an uncomfortably large portfolio of bad loans, as well as in an attempt to lend more, several banks are expected to make share sales in the coming months. Earlier this month, HDFC Bank announced plans to raise up to Rs24,000 crore in January.
8. Tiger Zinda Hai scores at the box office
Tiger Zinda Hai—the sequel to the 2012 Indo-Pak spy caper Ek Tha Tiger, starring once again Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif—earned Rs115 crore at the box office during its opening-weekend (Friday to Sunday). This makes it the second-highest grossing Hindi film of all-time during the opening weekend, after Bahubaali-The Conclusion, which was released in four languages. It further cements Salman Khan’s reputation for box-office success: he features in as many as four films in this list.
9. Global sales of battery-powered cars crosses 3 million
Driven by government incentives, new models and cheaper batteries, the number of battery-powered cars—fully electric and plug-in hybrids—sold across the world so far crossed the 3 million mark in November. EV-Volumes, a Sweden-based group that tracks the global electric car market, is projecting that 1.2 million battery-powered cars will be sold in 2017, an increase of 54% over 2016. This also means that battery-powered cars will have share of above 1% of all cars sold for the first time. Among geographies, China leads, followed by Europe and the US.
10. Sasikala’s nephew wins bypoll, adds to Tamil Nadu intrigue
T.T.V. Dhinakaran, nephew of jailed politician V.K. Sasikala, won the prestigious RK Nagar assembly seat in Tamil Nadu that had fallen empty following the demise of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo J. Jayalalithaa in December 2016. Her death unravelled a churn in Tamil Nadu politics that has seen, among other things, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) showing greater interest in the state, infighting in the AIADMK, the ouster and jailing of Sasikala (the closest aide of Jayalalithaa), and iconic actors plotting political entries. This upset by Dhinakaran—who contested as an independent and beat candidates from established parties AIADMK and DMK—only adds to the political intrigue.
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