Demonetization Incidents Across The Globe

Demonetization Incidents Across The Globe

In November 2020, India completed 4 years of demonetization of ₹500 and ₹1000 banknotes. Now let us take a look at some events of demonetization across the globe.

Crux of the Matter

United States of America

  • The demonetization of 1873 is the earliest known act of demonetization in history. It is known as the Coinage Act of 1873.
  • It mandated the removal of silver and adopted gold as a legal tender. However, the Bland-Allison Act of 1878 re-monetized silver as legal tender.
  • Again in 1969, President Richard Nixon demonetized all notes above $100.
  • It was done in an attempt to restrict the use of black money in the country. The exercise was highly successful and marked the beginning of the American banking system.

Britain

  • In 1971, the British government stopped the circulation of a pound and penny currency to bring uniformity.
  • The currencies were replaced by 5 pounds and 10 pounds coins.
  • As the government worked on the change for almost 2 years, the transaction happened without affecting the economy.

Ghana

  • In 1982, the country demonetized its currency 50 cedi.
  • It was done in an attempt to clear excess liquidity and reduce tax evasion.
  • It proved unsuccessful as people turned towards physical assets and foreign currency.

Soviet Union

  • In 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev removed notes of 50 and 100 Ruble.
  • It formed 33% of the total money in circulation.
  • Their aim was to tackle the parallel economy.
  • However, it was unsuccessful and Gorbachev faced a coup a few months later.

Australia

  • In 1996, the Australian government withdrew all paper-based notes and replaced them with polymer-based.
  • It was done in order to improve the security features and constraint black money.
  • The attempt was successful and the polymer-based notes improved its longevity.

European Union

  • In 2002, the 12 nations under European Union demonetized all existing currencies of the nation.
  • About 8 billion notes and 38 billion coins were distributed through 218,000 banks, post offices, and 2.8 million sales outlets.
  • 9 billion national notes and 107 billion national coins were collected.

North Korea

  • In 2010, Kim Jong – II introduced a currency change to curb the black-market and improve the economy.
  • It proved unsuccessful as people resisted the change.
  • This was followed by the assassination of the finance minister.

Zimbabwe

  • The government replaced the Zimbabwe dollar with the American dollar in 2015.
  • The process aimed at stabilizing the economy and curb hyperinflation.
  • The attempt was unsuccessful as it adversely affected the economy
Curiopedia
  • The Lion Capital Series was a series of currency notes issued after India declared its independence from Great Britain and used until the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) introduced the Mahatma Gandhi Series in 1996. The National Emblem based series replaced the George VI banknote series. 
  • A cashless society describes an economic state whereby financial transactions are not conducted with money in the form of physical banknotes or coins, but rather through the transfer of digital information (usually an electronic representation of money) between the transacting parties.
  • Non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) refers to coins that are theoretically legal tender and could circulate but do not because their issue price, and/or their melt value at the time of issue is significantly above the arbitrary legal tender value placed thereon. They are sold to collectors and investors with no intention that they be used as money.

WhatsApp Pay Gets NPCI Nod After 2 Years

WhatsApp Pay Gets NPCI Nod After 2 Years

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) gave nod to WhatsApp Pay after 2 long years. However, it will face competition from Google Pay and Phone Pe. WhatsApp is poised to enter into India’s UPI market – that reached all time high transaction volume and amount in September 2020 – after NPCI announced a 30% cap on market share of any third party UPI app.

Crux of the Matter

What is WhatsApp Pay?
On 6th November 2020, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) announced that WhatsApp can rollout WhatsApp Pay in India. Presently, it can be used by only Indian numbers linked to Indian bank accounts. WhatsApp with international numbers cannot use it.

A full-fledged rollout of WhatsApp Pay was not approved for over two years due to concerns over its data storage policy in India and over-sharing of data with Facebook.

Comparison To WeChat Pay
The payment function of Tencent-owned WeChat was launched in 2014 during Lunar New Year in China. It can be used even if you don’t have a Chinese bank account, by linking debit/credit cards. WeChat was banned by India over privacy concerns.

NPCI Norms
Right after WhatsApp nod, NPCI set a cap of 30% on total volume of UPI transactions processed by Third Party App (TPA) providers like Google Pay, Phone Pe, Paytm, etc. This norm will come into effect by January 2021. The TPAs that have more than a 30% share will have a two year period to comply in a phased manner.

Reportedly, NPCI has done this in an attempt to give equal opportunity to all the UPI payment apps. Presently Google Pay and PhonePe dominate the UPI entities.

Presently, WhatsApp has been given permission by the NPCI to go ahead with its rollout in only a phased manner. It will be allowed to roll out in several phases with a maximum of 20 million registered UPI users. The bottomline is that WhatsApp Pay comes at a time when UPI transactions (volume and amount both) hit an all-time high in India.

You can have a look at this interactive chart to know more about UPI payments’ volume and amount in India.

Curiopedia
  • Square, Inc. is an American financial services, merchant services aggregator, and mobile payment company. The company was founded in 2009 by Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey and launched its first app and service in 2010. It has been traded as a public company on the New York Stock Exchange since November 2015 with the ticker symbol SQ.
  • Brian Acton is an American computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur. He was formerly employed at Yahoo!, and co-founded WhatsApp. He has a net worth of $2.5 Billion.
  • Whatsapp became the world’s most popular messaging application by 2015, and has over 2 billion users worldwide as of February 2020. It has become the primary means of electronic communication in multiple countries and locations, including Latin America, the Indian subcontinent, and large parts of Europe and Africa.

Vienna Attacked By IS

Vienna Attacked By IS

Recently, Austria faced an Islamist terrorist attack, in which 4 people lost their lives. This incident comes after a teacher in France was killed allegedly for showing a cartoon of Prophet Mohammed in class. Let’s understand what happened in Vienna and take a look at other such incidents.

Crux of the Matter

What Happened?
On Monday, 2nd November 2020, several people were fatally wounded in attacks near the synagogue in Seitenstettengasse. Six crime scenes reported in Central Vienna known as The Bermuda Triangle: Seitenstettengasse and nearby Morzinplatz, Salzgries, Fleischmarkt, Bauernmarkt, and Graben. 4 people were fatally shot and 23 wounded.

Who Was the Suspect?
The suspect was 20 years old and had Austrian and Macedonian citizenship. He was shot dead near St Rupert’s Church. Authorities said that the killer was armed with an automatic weapon, a pistol, and a machete as well as a fake explosive belt. Fourteen people have been detained in Austria who were linked to the gunman. The interior minister said they were aged 16 to 28, with a migrant background.

Terrorist group Islamic State (IS) claimed on its propaganda outlet Amaq that it was behind the attack.

Response On The Attacks
Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer attributed the attacks on “Islamist terrorist” and commented that they have not experienced such an attack in decades.

“…Austria for more than 75 years has been a strong democracy, a mature democracy, a country whose identity is marked by values and basic rights, with freedom of expression, rule of law, but also tolerance in human coexistence. Yesterday’s attack is an attack on just these values.”

Interior Minister Karl Nehammer

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has responded to the Vienna attack by urging the European Union to “focus much more strongly on the problem of political Islam in the future”.

Recent Attacks in France
In recent weeks, extremist Islamist violence has become a key issue in France.

On 29th October, a knifeman attacked inside the Notre-Dame basilica in Nice. Three people were killed in the attack. According to reports, the suspect is a Tunisian national born in 1999. President Emmanuel Macron called it an “Islamist terrorist attack”.

Another attack took place outside the French consulate in the Saudi city of Jeddah on Thursday. Earlier this month, a teacher was beheaded by an 18-year-old for showing a cartoon of Prophet Mohammed in class.

Read more about it here: What’s Going On In France: Free Speech, Murder & International Reactions

Curiopedia
  • ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is also known as ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) or their Arabic acronym, Daesh. It was founded by Iraqi terrorist, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
  • Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar was listed as a designated global terrorist by the UN Security Council 1267 Committee in May 2019. These sanctions would result in travel ban, assets freeze and an arms embargo. 
  • Hezbollah, or “Party of God,” is an extremist group based in Lebanon. It targets Israel and its supporters, including the United States are responsible for the bombing of a Marine base in Lebanon in 1983 that killed more than 250 Americans. 
  • The Indian Mujahideen is a terrorist group led by Abdul Subhan Qureshi who is now under Delhi Police custody. It was declared a terrorist organisation on 4 June 2010 and banned by the Government of India.

James Bond Actor Sean Connery No More

James Bond Actor Sean Connery No More

Sean Connery who played the famous James Bond role died at the age of 90 on 31st October 2020. Let’s have a look at the iconic career of Sean and how his James Bond role left an impact on the silver screen.

Crux of the Matter

Who Was Sean Connery?
Sir Thomas Sean Connery, a Scottish actor, served in the Royal Navy of UK (1946-1949) and received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II at Holyrood Palace in 2000.
He won an Oscar in 1988 for his role in the movie, The Untouchables.

He was famously known for the role of British Secret agent, James Bond 007. He starred in the first seven Bond movies from 1962 to 1983 and was considered the 20th-century icon of the silver screen. He celebrated his 90th birthday in August and died on 31st October 2020.

James Bond Novels
Ian Fleming is the creator of the character, James Bond. He wrote the initial 12 novels and 2 short story collections. The first novel to be published was Casino Royale in 1953. After Fleming’s death in 1964, several authors like, John Pearson, Christopher Wood, John Gardner, etc. continued the story till 1996. Thereafter, Raymond Benson carried it forward till 2002, and many more authors have continued to write since.

The latest novel published was Forever and a Day by Anthony Horowitz in May 2018.
There are currently 40 officially licensed James Bond books authored by six writers.

James Bond Movies in 2020
Bond movies are considered timeless due to his dynamic character. Spectre was the last movie released in 2015. No Time To Die was scheduled to be released in April 2020, but due to Covid-19, the date was postponed.

Now, it is set to release in April 2021. Daniel Craig will be reprising the role of Bond and the movie will also feature a titular song by Billie Eilish.

Here are some iconic and timeless dialogues of Bond:

Criticism On Bond
Despite his charm, the character of Bond has been deemed toxic and misogynistic by many critics.

The sadism of a schoolboy bully, the mechanical two-dimensional sex-longings of a frustrated adolescent, and the crude, snob-cravings of a suburban adult.

The New Statesmen while reviewing Dr. No in 1958

A sexist, misogynist dinosaur, a relic of the Cold War, whose boorish charm [is] wasted on me.

Judi Dench, who played the role of M (1995-2015) describing Bond

Curiopedia
  • James Bond Books became widely popular after John F. Kennedy named ‘From Russia with Love’ on his list of favourite books in 1961. This was also the last movie he saw before he was assassinated.
  • Daniel Craig, who plays the current James Bond in the franchise, has the right to take any Aston Martin from the manufacturer which is a lifetime privilege from the company. Goldfinger was the first Bond film to feature Bond driving an Aston Martin.
  • The gun made popular by James Bond, the Walther PPK, is the same model that Hitler used to kill himself.
  • The existence of MI6, the agency with which James Bond works for in the movies, wasn’t officially acknowledged by the British government until 1994.

DOJ’s Concerns Over Google-Apple Collusion

DOJ's Concerns Over Google Apple Collusion

Google has been alleged with one of the biggest antitrust allegations so far by the Department Of Justice (DOJ), US. Let’s take a look into it and understand the collusion between Google and Apple.

Crux of the Matter

Google’s Bargain
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has claimed that Google has been paying $8 billion to $12 billion since 2017 to be the default search engine for iPhone and its services like Siri. The DOJ further alleged that Google and Apple work on the agreement as “one company”.

Mobile Safari is a web browser designed by Apple for iPhones. According to the 2014 court documents, Google paid $1 billion to secure the default position on the browser in the US. Due to the arrangement, the iPhone plays a major role in generating revenue for Google’s mobile advertisement business, which gives Google an edge over the competition.

Allegations Against Google
Regulators have shown concern over Google’s pay for US placement, as it was 50% higher than what was paid six years ago. This increment may be done to curb the competition. Other browsers like, Microsoft’s Bing and DuckDuckGo, may not be able to pay a similar amount for prime placement, which gives an unfair advantage to Google.

Google’s Response
The senior vice president of Global Affairs, Google, Kent Walker responded against the allegations and called the case deeply flawed.

Walker further argued that their agreement is similar to other traditional company agreements.

Read More: Can Apple Remove 450,000 Cars From Road From This Year?

Curiopedia
  • An oligopoly is a market form wherein a market or industry is dominated by a small group of large sellers. Many business and tech gurus believe that this group of major tech giants is an oligopoly, coming to dominate the online market through anti-competitive practices, ever-increasing financial power, and intellectual property law.
  • BATX stands for Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, Xiaomi, the acronym for the four biggest tech firms in China, counter-standing by GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple) in the United States. BATX are few of the first tech companies started in the 2000s, in the rise of Chinese tech revolution and became widely used among Chinese netizens.
  • In 2002, Yahoo had the chance to buy Google for $1 billion, but executives dragged their feet; by the time they decided to pursue the offer, Google’s price had soared to $3 billion. In the late ’90s, search was only generating six percent of Yahoo’s income stream, and the company believed it was not worth improving.