There are two aspects to the news- knowing the headline and understanding the intricacies of it. We at The Connectere focus on both. While The First Forum edition gives a brief about the headlines, The Weekly Analysis Edition is meant to educate the reader on what do various news mean and what are their intricacies. This initiative is meant to educate the reader on how to understand the important news. In the Seventeenth Edition we are covering the following news:
1. Analysing Putin’s possible extended Presidential term
2. Oil falls due to a surge in coronavirus cases
3. A window of opportunity for Indian apps: Investors
4. Could Hong Kong’s loss become Mumbai’s gain?
5. UP’s illicit gun problem

(Written by Gunika Vij, Shitij Goyal, and Aashika Deb)

Analysing Putin’s possible extended Presidential term

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered amendments that would allow him to remain in power until 2036 to be put into the Russian Constitution after voters approved the changes during a week-long plebiscite. Under the proposed changes Putin would be allowed to run for another two six-year back-to-back terms, which was earlier barred by the constitution after his current term expires in 2024.

The Russians have proposed the following changes besides Putin’s presidential term: a reorganisation of the government, introducing a higher minimum pension and wages, a ban on gay marriage, restricting top officials from holding dual citizenship, enshrining “faith in God” as a core value and emphasising the primacy of the Constitution over international treaties and rulings.

If he stays in power for two more terms, he will be the longest-serving Russian leader since Peter the Great and will have to look forward to a difficult road ahead. It has never been smooth for Putin because he inherited a Russia that was in an economic free fall and strategic retreat in 2000 after the troublesome Boris Yeltsin years. Much of the support Mr. Putin enjoys now derives from his efforts to rebuild the state and economy and now he will have to have daunting foreign policy challenges as well.

What are the possible challenges for Russia? To start with their economic state-according to the IMF, the economy hasn’t expanded in dollar terms for a decade and the GDP is expected to shrink by 6.6% this year. On the foreign policy front, Russia’s relationship with the West remains troublesome, the sanctions imposed on Russia after the annexation of Crimea in 2014 are still in place and Russia faces allegations of interference in the elections of other countries.

Putin, personally, faces a different set of challenges now than he did back in 2000. Domestically, opposition politician Alexei Navalny and his supporters continue to protest against the Kremlin despite state crackdowns. Back then, it was his job to fix a weak state that he had inherited and now that economic, social, and political balance is shifting around the world, he faces a fresh challenge.


oil price shock of 1990

Oil falls due to a surge in coronavirus cases

On July 3, 2020, as a resurgence of coronavirus cases raised concern that fuel demand growth could stall oil fell below $43 a barrel, although crude was still headed for a weekly gain on lower supply and wider signs of economic recovery.

Owing to the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases the U.S. jobs growth, which jumped in June, could suffer a setback. The USA, the world’s largest oil consumer, dimmed the prospects of fuel demand recovery as its fragile economic rebound is at risk of being undone by the latest surge in new infections.

Gasoline demand will be closely watched because the recovery in gasoline demand will plateau until the U.S. economy improves. Brent crude futures were down 37 cents, or 0.9%, at $42.77 a barrel as of 00.42 GMT, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 34 cents, or 0.8%, to $40.31 a barrel. Both benchmarks rose more than 2% on Thursday, buoyed by the surge in U.S. jobs and a fall in U.S. crude inventories. For the week, Brent is up 4.3% and WTI is up 5.6%. Increases in the daily cases of the coronavirus, however, globally and in the United States pressured prices.

Signs of economic recovery and a drop in supply after a record supply cut by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies have helped Brent more than double from a 21-year low below $16 reached in April. Boosting recovery hopes, China’s services sector expanded at the fastest pace in over a decade in June.

technologies for social distancing

A window of opportunity for Indian apps: Investors

As the decision came to ban 59 Chinese apps by the Government of India, this made a positive outlook for the Indian apps and precisely the substitutes for the Chinese apps that were banned. This made investors look at the home-grown social content platforms to invest in. TikTok being the major app that was banned, its alternative MitronTv raised Rs. 2 crores in seed funding this week from venture capital firm 3one4 Capital and LetsVenture, Share-Chat, which competes with the banned Chinese app Helo, is looking to raise $100 million, and is in discussion with the prospective investors.

Investors believe that though the ban has been imposed on apps, it is uncertain that it’ll be a temporary ban or a permanent one. The space that has been vacated by Tiktok will see a scramble for accessing the market share. Some large sources such as Youtube, Instagram, and Indian startups will see this accrual to themselves. This will bring advertising revenues to them as well in greater amounts which will no doubt raise the valuations. Investors also take into account the challenges around technology, product talent, and capital investments, which are required to scale these social platforms.

In 2018, Indian venture capitals did make investments in Indian social media platforms. Some of them ended up burning their hands in the process. Investors believe social content constantly requires large investments to scale, which domestic investors may be unwilling to do. Also when it comes to products, Indian content apps weren’t so technologically advanced to compete with the Chinese platforms. These apps need to look at serious innovation.

Overall there is a need for govt. to support these main apps and also these apps now have the biggest opportunity to outshine in their domain now as their competitor has been stacked out. The interface and the app quality can be improved by investing some money and this investment is going to turn into gold in the future.

Japanese Economic Miracle

Could Hong Kong’s loss become Mumbai’s gain?

China has crushed the autonomy of Hong Kong and thrown the city’s future at a financial risk. This could give Mumbai the opportunity to emerge as Asia’s next money capital.

Hong Kong’s independence lags behind when Beijing imposed a harsh security law on 30 June that threatens to suspend free speech and punish anyone whose action falls against the Chinese state.  For a long time, there had been signs that it would not honour its commitment to preserving the democratic freedoms of Hong Kong’s residents, a 50-year pledge made in 1997 when it got the territory back from the UK.

Today, critics fear that an honest job done could serve the most painful truths for the Chinese and the great powers, so they might end up behind bars for their efforts. The new law could spell doom for Hong Kong’s status as Asia’s top financial center. The race for replacement has begun, with Singapore, Tokyo, and Dubai as competitors. But if Mumbai gets itself up to speed, it may have more than just a glimmer of a chance.

The last time the idea of Mumbai emerging as a global financial hub was fulfill Indian ambitions was in 2007 when a committee of experts submitted an official report that the city was reckoned to have the requisite talent team, but was found to be short on infrastructure. The emphasis of the report was on globalization, which advocated for radical changes in the financial sector that would allow Mumbai to position itself – at least in regulatory circles – in the same league as London or New York.

Without better telecom communications and data concessions, there does not appear to have been a change in the popularity of Mumbai since 2007. However, recent approaches show that global integration is less demanding as it was back then. Data can be generated everywhere. In the current context of confusion over Hong Kong’s financial services, perhaps a crucial enabler of quality output now is the rule of law, especially freedom of speech. These are the things where Mumbai can seek a border over its rival cities doing business. Mumbai is well versed in diversity. It is also a good time zone between East and West. Both of these are additional assets. Perhaps a few strategic changes to this big city could turn Hong Kong’s loss into Mumbai’s profit.

UP’s illicit gun problem

In recent news 8, UP police personnel were killed in crossfire with wanted felon Vikas Dubey, Dubey has 60 criminal charges against him. The encounter took place when the UP police went to arrest the felon. In other news, two teenage girls were shot outside their home. Before I begin my argument let me present some facts, India has more than 71 million firearms, the second-highest in the world after the US. But only about 10 million of these are licensed and registered. This means that despite having one of the strictest gun control laws in the world, around 86% of civilian firearms in the country are illegal.

Both cases show that access to illegal guns, especially in the UP-Bihar belt, has become a real problem. While Bihar’s Munger region has long been known for the manufacture of illegal guns, over the last few years the trade has slowly shifted to UP’s Meerut area due to sustained police crackdown in Munger. This brings the hub of illegal firearms manufacturing closer to the national capital. In fact, such is the illegal gun problem in the country that is more than 90% of homicides committed using guns, illegal firearms are involved.

The police are to protect you. You sleep at night at peace because the police are there to protect you, but what happens when the police in a bid to bring you justice is caught up in fire because a few miscreants have access to illegal weapons. But look at the other side too, what happens when the same police decide not to present criminals before the court but takes the job in their own hands and ends up beating two men to death.

In such amusing yet dangerous circumstances, my dear reader, where do you go, who do you run to? When the people start fearing the police and start believing that the police is incompetent, the system at its very core is shaken up and starts falling. The availability of illicit arms and weapons increase the crime rate across the country and gives unnecessary power to the criminals. The belief of the people in the system and its power and influence must stay intact.

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