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Another week went by and here we are with the top headlines from the past week.
New Telecommunication Bill to replace age old laws governing the industry
Both houses of the Parliament passed the proposed Telecommunication Bill, which will replace the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1933 and the Telegraph Wire Act of 1950. The bill proposes to simplify the licensing mechanism and ease the creation of telecom infrastructure. It also allows the government to take temporary control of telecom services in times of need like a national emergency or matters of national security.
The bill includes a mechanism to exercise the Right of Way to build infra in public and private properties. There is also a provision to provide user privacy like prior approval for certain messages, a DO NOT DISTURB register, etc. The spectrum allocation will continue to be through auctions, except in 19 cases (including satellite broadband services like Starlink, Oneweb, etc) where it will be allocated through administrative process.
Despite the provisions to ease a lot of processes, the Bill received criticism from different sections owing to the totalitarian control of government over all forms of communication. The authorization scheme requires services including social media to adhere to government guidelines to operate in India. The increased government overreach can affect user freedom and privacy, according to critics.
Houthi rebel attacks in Red Sea disrupt the Suez Canal trade
Suez Canal is a 193 km long artificial waterway that comes under the Egyptian territory connecting the Mediterranean and Red Sea. The canal divides the Asian and African continents and is the shortest maritime route between Asia and Europe. Before the construction of the canal, ships used to travel around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa, which is a much longer route.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels, backed by Iran have launched attacks using drones and missiles on commercial ships at the southern end of Red Sea. The rebels' assault is a demonstration of solidarity with the Palestinian militant group, Hamas. This has forced shipping companies to suspend the Suez Canal route and many companies are routing the fleet through Cape of Good Hope, which makes the journey 10 days longer. Around 8% of crude oil transits through the canal route and the disturbance in the route is expected to raise fuel prices due to higher transit cost.
Parliament disruption and MPs suspension
141 Opposition MPs (95 from Lok Sabha and 46 from Rajya Sabha) were suspended for disrupting the proceedings of both Houses. The Opposition had demanded a debate on the recent security breach in Lok Sabha where 2 individuals jumped into the chamber of Lok Sabha and opened gas canisters. PM Modi had assured an investigation on the matter, but the Opposition wanted a debate on the subject.
The suspension comes at a time when the Government plans to introduce important Bills before the end of the Parliament winter session. The Opposition MPs allege the orchestrated suspension as an easy route to pass the Bills without proper debate.
More news from the week ...
Earthquake of magnitude 6.2 rocks China’s Gansu province: The earthquake that occured in the border region of Gansu and Qinghai provinces killed 134 and left more than a thousand people injured. Roads, power and water lines were disrupted. The sub-zero temperature in the remote mountainous territory is posing threats to rescue operations.
Adobe and Figma to part ways: Adobe decided to abandon the $20 billion merger with the cloud-based designer platform Figma amid mounting concerns from EU and UK regulators to approve the deal. Regulators mentioned the deal will make Adobe a near monopoly in the software design market and hamper free innovation in Figma (a more popular software when compared to Adobe’s XD application).
Concerns over the latest COVID variant JN.1: Covid cases caused by JN.1 variant is rising in the country and the states of Kerala, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, and Karnataka are worst hit. The symptoms of the infection are fever, runny nose, sore throat, fatigue, etc. Doctors have advised the usage of masks in crowded areas and to stay home given the symptoms show up.
IPL Auctions: Mitchell Starc breaks record as Most Expensive Player at 24.75 Crore at the recent IPL auction. 72 cricketers were picked by teams by cumulatively spending ₹230.45 crore.
More content from the team
Sport betting in India: Is it legal?
Check out this 👇reel to understand the betting landscape in India
Visual of the week
On Tuesday morning, Jeff Bezos-backed rocket startup Blue Origin's suborbital New Shepard rocket, intended for brief voyages to the edge of space, completed a successful launch. Taking off at 11:43 AM from Texas, the New Shepard rocket carried various research payloads. The flight, spanning slightly over 10 minutes, represents Blue Origin's inaugural and possibly sole flight for the year. While New Shepard caters to both tourists and payloads, details about the next manned flight have not been disclosed yet.
Test you knowledge 💡
Can you identify the Indian origin private space company from the list below?
[C] Skyroot Aerospace
Founded by Pawan Kumar Chandana and Naga Bharath Daka, Skyroot Aerospace stands as the sole private sector entity in India that has achieved the successful manufacturing and launch of a rocket. The company was founded in 2018 and offers on-demand cost-effective space launch services to the small and medium-sized satellite market.