Hong Kong Protesters Call on America for Protection

Protesters gathered at central Hong Kong on Monday, asking American lawmakers to process legislation that supports the territory’s democratic freedom and punishes those who try to stop it.

Crux of the Matter
  • This demonstration was the first approved by the authorities after ban on masks.
  • Instead of discussing demands, government retaliated with more police and imposed more restrictions.
  • More than 2,500 people have been arrested.
  • “Our citizens do not have any kind of power to fight against the government,” said Crystal Yeung, 23, a protester. “We are relying on the U.S. to punish those who are trying to breach the Hong Kong law.”
  • The protesters are hoping for Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act to be discussed thoroughly.

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 is a bicameral and bipartisan American legislation that reintroduced the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act in light of the 2019 Hong Kong extradition bill proposal and the ensuing protests against it. The act “directs various departments to assess whether political developments in Hong Kong justify changing Hong Kong’s unique treatment under U.S. law.” Read More

Former Bolivian President Takes Political Asylum in Mexico

Former Bolivian President Evo Morales had resigned after his government collapsed on 10th November due to ongoing political unrest in the nation. He has accepted the political asylum granted by Mexico on a humanitarian basis on account of the political crisis in Bolivia.

Crux of the Matter
  • Bolivian government collapsed after ruling party allies quit and the army urged Evo Morales to step down amidst a disputed election in which the country has been hit by weeks of protests.
  • Organization of American States‘ announced in its audit of the election that it had found “clear manipulation” and called for the election result to be annulled.
  • Morales had agreed to hold fresh elections but his main rival, Carlos Mesa was against Morales again contesting the elections.
  • This situation has led to chaos and uncertainty in Bolivia. Looting and vandalism are being carried out by both his supporters and opponents.
  • US President Donald Trump described it as “a significant moment for democracy in the Western Hemisphere”.
  • The Russian foreign ministry said a “wave of violence unleashed by the opposition” had not allowed the “presidential mandate of Evo Morales to be completed”.

Juan Evo Morales Ayma born October 26 1959, is a Bolivian politician and former cocalero activist who served as the 80thPresident of Bolivia from 2006 to 2019. Widely regarded as the country’s first president to come from the indigenous population, his administration focused on the implementation of leftist policies, poverty reduction, and combating the influence of the United States and multinational corporations in Bolivia. More Info

US-China Trade War: India’s Export Pie Bigger by $755mn

US-China trade war, in the first half of 2019, has benefitted India of $755 million in exports as China’s share of exports to the US is dissipating between European Union, Mexico, Canada, Korea, India, and others. The UN trade and investment body had concerns regarding the global economy on account of such lose-lose trade wars.

Crux of the Matter
  • China’s Exports to the USA worth $35 bn, 25% of total exports, has been hit due to US-China Trade War. Communication Equipment and Office Machinery exports fared the worst, fell by 55%, among reduced Chinese exports.
  • Of the total export loss of China, around $21 bn worth exports have been routed to other countries, whereas of $14 bn some has been soaked by US manufacturers and some lost.
  • In exports to the US, India gained $243 mn in Chemicals, $181 mn in Metals and Ore, $83 mn in Electricity Machinery, $68 mn in Misc. Machinery, and in Textiles, Office Machinery, Precision Instruments, Agri-Food, Transport Equipment as well.
  • “We hope a potential trade agreement between the US and China can de-escalate trade tensions. …it [trade war] also compromises the stability of the global economy and future growth” said UNCTAD.

The China–United States trade war is an ongoing economic conflict between the world’s two largest national economies, China and the United States. Analysis conducted by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that China imposed uniform tariffs averaging 8% on all its importers in January 2018, before the trade war began. The analysis also found that average American tariffs on Chinese goods increased from 3.1% in 2017 to 24.3% by August 2019. Read More

4 Day Week Experiment Shows 40% Increase in Productivity

In an experiment run by Microsoft Japan, productivity shot up by 40% when employees were given a 4 day work week instead of the standard 5 days.

Crux of the Matter
  • This was part of Microsoft’s “Work Life Choice Challenge 2019”.
  • Multiple studies have shown that a 4 day week works better than a 5 or 6 day week.
  • The company also spent less time on meetings and focused more on core objectives.

A four-day week is an arrangement where a workplace or school has its employees or students work or attend school over the course of four days per week rather than the more customary five. This arrangement can be a part of flexible working hours, and is sometimes used to cut costs, as seen in the example of the so-called “4/10 work week,” where employees work a normal 40 hours across four days, i.e. a “four-ten” week. Read More

Moody’s Downgrades India’s Outlook to Negative

Moody’s, the global rating agency, has downgraded India’s outlook to negative as India hunts for a way out of the slowdown, hinting at a persisting negative shift. Ratings for foreign currency and local currency long-term issuer are still at Baa2, Ministry of Finance announced.

Crux of the Matter
  • Moody’s has downgraded India’s outlook to negative from the stable of Baa2.
  • Moody’s showed concerned regarding India’s tapering fiscal deficit, distressed rural demand, unemployment, and NBFC crisis.
  • ‘India continues to offer strong prospects of growth in near and medium term.’ responded Ministry of Finance citing the trust of IMF, which expects India to grow at 6.1% in 2019, and at 7% in 2020, the robust measures taken to cope with the slowdown, and tenacious low bond yields.
  • S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings have kept unchanged India’s outlook to stable.

Credit rating – A sovereign credit rating is the credit rating of a sovereign entity, such as a national government. The sovereign credit rating indicates the risk level of the investing environment of a country and is used by investors when looking to invest in particular jurisdictions, and also takes into account political risk. Results focus foremost on economics, specifically sovereign default risk or payment default risk for exporters. Read More