Researched by: Rachel John
Telangana’s new CM is here!
State party chief Revanth Reddy has been given the gaddi—after two days of pointless suspense. He will be the first Congress CM of the state—which has been ruled by KCR since its inception in 2014. BTW, you can check out the results of the reliable Lokniti-CSDS post poll study on Rajasthan and Telangana. (The Hindu)
Israel-Palestine War: The latest update
For more context on the Israel-Palestine war, check out our Big Stories on: The motive for the Hamas attack; the effect of civilian casualties on Gaza’s post-war fate; and the deal for a four-day truce.
Death toll: According to the health ministry in Gaza, over 16,248 people—including 7,112 children and 4,885 women—have been killed in the region. About 7,600 people remain unaccounted for.
Betting big on war? New research shows a “significant” and “unusual” spike in bets against Israeli companies spiked just days before October 7—suggesting some people knew about the planned attacks. The authors do not know the location of these traders—or their identities. They also caution against linking the activity to Hamas saying it is far too “speculative”—though Haaretz is more confident of the link. The data has not been peer-reviewed as yet. (CNN)
Putin heads for ME: The Russian president will visit Saudi Arabia and the UAE—a trip that is sure to make Washington anxious. He will discuss oil production, Ukraine and, of course, the Gaza war. Putin will also host the Iranian president this week—so Moscow may be looking for a bigger role in the peace efforts. (New York Times)
Indian economy will soon be #3
Global ratings agency S&P predicts that we will become the third largest economy in the world by 2030. Right now, we’re at #5—behind the US, China, Germany and Japan. Our growth rate is expected to hit 7% by FY2027—and will be the fastest growing major economy in the next three years. Here’s the catch:
A paramount test will be whether India can become the next big global manufacturing hub, an immense opportunity. Developing a strong logistics framework will be key in transforming India from a services-dominated economy into a manufacturing-dominant one.
Meanwhile, the other big global agency Moody’s has downgraded its credit rating of China's government from stable to negative—“in the latest sign of mounting global concern over the impact of surging local government debt and a deepening property crisis.” (Economic Times)
The UK’s big visa crackdown
The Rishi Sunak government is doing its best to deliver on its promise to bring down immigration numbers. The extensive plan includes raising the minimum salary requirement for skilled worker visas—from £26,200 to £38,700. The minimum income for family visas has risen to £38,700—up from £18,600. And care workers can no longer bring their immediate family along. This rule has already been introduced for students. Apart from the usual outrage, there are serious concerns that stricter rules for care workers will damage an already understaffed healthcare system. (BBC News)
Universal iPhone ports in India?
The context: In 2022, the European Union forced Apple to discard its proprietary Lightning port—allowing users to plug their devices into a universal USB-C charging port. That’s why the latest iPhone 15 released in September came with a universal port.
What happened now: The Indian government is planning to follow the EU’s lead—demanding universal ports by 2025. But Apple is resisting the demand. It has warned regulators that it will not be able to meet production targets at Indian iPhone factories—if the rule is applied to older iPhone models. Here’s why Apple is pushing back:
Consumers in India's price-conscious market prefer buying older models of iPhones which typically become cheaper with new launches, and India's push for the common charger on older models could hit Apple's targets, said Prabhu Ram, head of the Industry Intelligence Group at CyberMedia Research. "Apple's fortunes in India have primarily been tied to older generation iPhones," he said.
Reuters has the exclusive.
Behold IBM’s quantum computer chip!
The context: Quantum computing uses quantum mechanics to reach computing speeds that are far speedier than the typical silicon-based computer. Scientists have been doing their best to develop these machines, but they keep throwing up errors.
What happened now: IBM unveiled a new quantum computing chip and machine that could solve the problem:
IBM showed what it says is a new way of connecting chips together inside machines and then connecting machines together which, when combined with a new error-correction code, could produce compelling quantum machines by 2033.
So we’re nowhere close to making usable machines. Why this is still a big deal:
Quantum computing… could allow problems in physics, chemistry, engineering and medicine to be solved in minutes that would take today’s supercomputers millions of years to complete — if at all. “The beauty of it,” [IBM’s director of research, Dario Gil] said, “is that not even a million or a billion of those supercomputers connected together could do the calculations of these future machines”.
Dismal stats about marginalised students
Over the past five years, more than 13,500 students from Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes dropped out of university courses. The numbers cover government-funded central universities, IIMs and IITs. There have been numerous cases of Dalit students being harassed and abused on these campuses—some driven to die by suicide. But the government insists these students are merely moving to other courses or institutions of their choice. (The Hindu)
A ‘pacemaker’ for the brain?
When you suffer a severe blow to your head, it can cause “traumatic brain injury”—suffering permanent cognitive, emotional or physical deficits. Until now, there was no real cure for this. But new research shows that electrodes implanted in a patient’s head—to stimulate the thalamus—offer impressive results. After a year of stimulation, cognitive abilities improved between 15% and 52%.
According to scientists, it is “almost like a pacemaker. The device is implanted in the brain and delivers electrical pulses to electrodes that are placed on specific parts of the brain.” The implants have only been tested on five patients. But if larger trials produce the same results, they could become the first effective therapy for chronic brain injuries. (New York Times)
In happy news for Sushi lovers: A Japanese study shows that wasabi is linked to a "really substantial" boost in memory—both long- and short-term. The secret of its success: “The main active component of Japanese wasabi is a biochemical called 6-MSITC, a known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory known to exist in only trace amounts elsewhere throughout the plant kingdom.” CBS News has more on that story.
Two things to see
One: Fans of Grand Theft Auto rejoice! The trailer for one of the most anticipated games of the decade—‘Grand Theft Auto VI’—just dropped. Its launch has been delayed—disappointing gamers and investors. And there is still no release date. But this teaser has already been viewed 96 million times on YouTube. (The Verge)
Two: Aamir Khan had to be rescued during the Chennai floods by authorities—along with Tamil actor Vishnu Vishal and his wife badminton champion Jwala Gutta. Khan has been staying with Vishal to be close to his ailing mum. Everyone looks oddly merry:) (The Hindu)