Supreme Court crèche: whose children, how many of them
Last week, the Supreme Court opened a 2,000 sq ft crèche, a huge improvement from a two-room childcare centre earlier functioning from outside the complex. Although it is primarily aimed at women who work in the Supreme Court, it is also open for men who bring their children to work.
Tip for Reading List
Do face masks really block PM2.5?
Residents of polluted cities frequently wear face masks but a recent study has cast doubt over their effectiveness. In a study conducted in Beijing as part of a larger project funded by the Research Councils UK, and published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, an international team of researchers found significant variations in the quality of the masks depending on where they were purchased. They found there were few controls on masks marketed to consumers and little information on which product will offer the best protection. Using a filtration test on nine masks that claimed to protect against PM2.5, researchers found that the average particle and carbon penetration ranged from 0.26% to 29%. When worn by volunteers exposed to diesel exhaust in a lab, the average leakage ranged from as low as 3% to up to 68% during sedentary tasks; this ranged from 7% to 66% in active movements. (Source: Heriot Watt University press release)
This Word Means
US Indo-Pacific Command
Why does a US Congressional panel think the Pacific Command should be named ‘Indo-Pacific Command’?
The House Armed Services Committee of the US Congress on Friday proposed that the US Pacific Command (PACOM) be renamed as ‘Indo-Pacific Command’. The proposal was part of Chairman Mac Thornberry’s ‘mark’ — the starting point of legislation that is then taken up for debate and amendments by the Committee — for the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2019. The ‘mark’ also proposed to rename the Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative — a Defence Department-funded security assistance programme for US allies in Southeast Asia — as the Indo-Pacific Maritime Security Initiative, and to add India as a covered country. NDAA 2019 needs to be passed by the Armed Services Committees of the US House and Senate, and thereafter by the House and Senate, before it is signed into law by the President.
PACOM is the oldest and largest of the unified combatant commands of the US military, and its commander has responsibility for operations in over half the area of the Earth’s surface, stretching from the west coast of the US to the west coast of India; from the Arctic to the Antarctic. This region has traditionally been called ‘Asia Pacific’, but in recent years has been increasingly referred to as ‘Indo-Pacific’. Asia Pacific has a trade zone connotation; Indo-Pacific is more about geostrategy. The US sees its longterm security as well as economic prosperity as being linked to this region, which is the theatre of China’s increasing muscle-flexing and the challenge from North Korea — as well as the stage where it could explore deeper strategic alliances, including with India. (Express News Service)
An Expert Explains
Will Karnataka polls impact market?
In spite of rising US interest rates, and oil prices, economic indicators suggest a strong growth across various sectors.
The Karnataka Assembly Elections will be considered a precursor to the 2019 general elections by the market. However, a year is too long a period in politics, so the impact may be transitional if the events unfolding after the polls indicate a contrary trend.
The Indian market is facing deteriorating macros with higher oil prices and rising US interest rates amid global trade wars. Rising crude prices can impact India’s twin deficits — trade and fiscal — adversely.
India’s IIP numbers for the last four months are above 7%. GST collection has crossed Rs 1 lakh crore, and tourist arrivals have crossed the 1 crore mark. Cement and steel factories are running at higher utilisations. Post demonetisation, domestic investors are showing preference for financial assets. FDI is also increasing at a record pace. The JAM (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) trinity has ensured a fair distribution of subsides. The economy is gaining momentum despite macro concerns about oil and trade wars. At this crucial junction, the market wants the comfort of political stability. However, there is no sure way to predict election results. If the market is pricing in stable government, may be it is worth taking some profit out. (Nilesh Shah – MD, Kotak Mahindra Fund)