WPI inflation falls marginally to 13.56 per cent in December

New Delhi [India] (ANI): India’s wholesale price index (WPI) based inflation declined marginally to 13.56 per cent in December 2021 from 14.23 per cent recorded in the previous month, the government data showed on Friday.
A sharp rise in fuel prices has kept WPI inflation in double digits for the nine months in a row. Fuel and power prices rose by 32.30 per cent in December 2021 year-on-year. However, the price rise in fuel and power eased in December as compared with November when it stood at 39.81 per cent.
The rate of inflation based on WPI Food Index increased from 6.70 per cent in November 2021 to 9.24 per cent in December 2021.
Manufactured products inflation eased from 11.92 per cent in November to 10.62 per cent in December. However, primary articles inflation rose to 13.38 per cent in December from 10.34 per cent in the previous month, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The increase in prices is mainly contributed by manufacture of textiles; chemicals and chemical products; fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment; electrical equipment and motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers. Some of the groups that have witnessed decrease in prices are manufacture of basic metals; food products; computer, electronic and optical products; wearing apparel and beverages. But the prices of manufacture of rubber and plastics products remain unchanged in December 2021 as compared to November, 2021.
“The annual rate of inflation is 13.56 per cent (Provisional) for the month of December 2021 (over December 2020) as compared to 1.95 per cent in December 2020,” it said.
The high rate of inflation in December 2021 is primarily due to rise in prices of mineral oils, basic metals, crude petroleum and natural gas, chemicals and chemical products, food products, textile and paper and paper products etc as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year.
The month over month change in WPI for the month of December 2021 stood at (-) 0.35 per cent as compared to November 2021. (Image source: Instagram)

Retail inflation rises to 5.59 per cent in December, highest in 6 months

New Delhi [India] (ANI): India’s retail inflation rose to a six-month high of 5.59 per cent in December 2021 as compared to 4.59 per cent recorded in the same month of 2020, the government data showed on Wednesday.
There has been a consistent rise in the inflationary pressure in the past six months. Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation stood at 4.91 per cent in November 2021. The retail inflation is inching closer to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) upper tolerance limit of 6 per cent.
Rise in retail prices was sharper in urban areas than the rural areas. Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rose 5.83 per cent in urban while it stood at 5.36 per cent for rural during the month of December 2021, according to the data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
Food prices rose sharply. Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) based inflation surged to 4.05 per cent in December 2021, sharply higher from 1.87 per cent recorded in the previous month. CFPI based inflation stood at 3.41 per cent in December 2020.
Urban retail food inflation surged to 5.08 per cent in December 2021 from 3.33 per cent in the previous month.
Rural retail food inflation jumped to 3.46 per cent in December 2021 from 1.09 per cent recorded in November 2021. (Image source: Unsplash)

Ajaz Patel named ICC men’s Player of the Month for December

Dubai [UAE]: The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Monday announced Ajaz Patel as the winner of the ICC Men’s Player of the Month Award for December 2021.
New Zealand’s, Ajaz Patel made history in December, when he picked up 10 wickets in an innings against India at Wankhede, becoming only the third player in Tests to achieve that feat after Jim Laker and Anil Kumble. The left-arm spinner played just one Test in the month, where he picked up 14 wickets at an average of 16.07.
Patel picked up all 10 wickets in the first innings against India and in the second innings, he picked up four wickets, including that of openers Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara. Patel finished with figures of 14/225, which are the best bowling figures in a Test match in 2021.
Commenting on Patel’s performance, ICC Voting Academy member JP Duminy said: “What a historic achievement! Taking 10 wickets in an innings is a feat which needs to be celebrated. There’s no doubt that Ajaz’s performance is a milestone that will be remembered for years to come.” (Image source: Instagram)

India’s merchandise export rises to record USD 37.29 billion in December

New Delhi [India]: India’s merchandise export surged to USD 37.29 billion in December 2021, the highest ever monthly achievement, government data showed on Monday.
The December 2021 export figure is 37 per cent higher than USD 27.22 billion recorded in December 2020. Cumulative export for April-December 2021 period rose to USD 299.74 billion, which is 48.85 per cent higher than USD 201.37 billion recorded in the corresponding period of the previous year, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
India’s merchandise import in December 2021 rose to USD 59.27 billion, an increase of 38.06 per cent over $42.93 billion in December 2020.
During April-December 2021 period the total import rose to USD 443.71 billion, an increase of 69.27 per cent over USD 262.13 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2020.
The trade deficit in December 2021 was $21.99 billion, while it was $143.97 billion during April-December 2021.
Value of non-petroleum exports in December 2021 was $31.67 billion, registering a growth of 27.31 per cent over non-petroleum exports of $24.88 billion in December 2020 and positive growth of 34.92 per cent over non-petroleum exports of $23.48 billion in December 2019.
Value of non-petroleum imports was $43.37 billion in December 2021 with a positive growth of 30.22 per cent over non-petroleum imports of $33.31 billion in December 2020 and a positive growth of 50.20 per cent over non-petroleum imports of $28.88 billion in December 2019.
The cumulative value of non-petroleum exports during April-December 2021 was $257.14 billion, an increase of 39.82 per cent over $183.91 billion in April-December 2020 and an increase of 24.74 per cent over $206.13 billion in April-December 2019.
The cumulative value of non-petroleum imports in April-December 2021 was $325.73 billion, showing an increase of 56.41 per cent compared to non-oil imports of $208.25 billion in April-December 2020 and an increase of 21.78 per cent compared to non-oil imports of $267.47 billion in April-December 2019.
Value of non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports in December 2021 was $28.69 billion, registering a positive growth of 28.64 per cent over non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports of $22.30 billion in December 2020.
Value of non-oil, non-GJ (gold, silver & Precious metals) imports was $35.57 billion in December 2021 with a positive growth of 34.68 per cent over non-oil and non-GJ imports of $26.41 billion in December 2020.

Xi Jinping, Putin to hold talks via video link on Dec 15

Beijing [China]: Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a virtual meeting on December 15, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Monday.
“President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping on December 15 from Beijing will hold a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin via videoconference,” Sputnik quoted Hua as saying. The diplomat did not provide any further details.
Amid escalating tensions with the West, China and Russia are strengthening ties.
On foreign policy, Beijing and Moscow share similar approaches to Iran, Syria and Venezuela, and recently revived a push to lift United Nations sanctions on North Korea.

Over 15 cr Antodaya cardholders to get double ration under UP Govt’s “biggest campaign” set to begin from December 12

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India]: The Uttar Pradesh Government is set to begin its “Maha Abhiyan” of free ration distribution, other than the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY), from December 12, Sunday.
As per a statement issued by the state government, under the campaign, more than 15 crore ration cardholders will be given double ration, free of cost. Terming it as the “biggest ration distribution campaign ever in the country”, the state government said, “Antyodaya and eligible domestic ration cardholders will get the direct benefit of the government scheme.”
“Under the scheme, the double ration is to be distributed to Antyodaya ration cardholders and eligible families. There are about 1,30,07,969 units under Antyodaya Anna Yojana and 13,41,77,983 units of eligible domestic cardholders in the state,” read the release.
MPs and MLAs have been instructed to monitor the campaign, which is a big support to the poor, labourers and farmers in the state.
Notably, on the occasion of ‘Deepotsava’ celebrations in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced that PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) will be extended till Holi.
“Since then 10 kg ration is being given free every month to the eligible cardholders of UP,” the state government said.
“The UP government is also giving free wheat and rice twice a month to the ration cardholders. Pulses, edible oil and salt are also being given free of cost from ration shops,” it added.
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) is a food security welfare scheme that was envisaged by the Prime Minister to provide assistance and help mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19.

Vivo V23 5G might launch in India this month

Dongguan [China]: After its predecessor Vivo V21 5G, it’s time for Vivo to launch a new smartphone series in the market, and reportedly this will be called V23 5G and could be launched in India at some point this month.
As per GSM Arena, the new rumoured series ‘Vivo V23 5G’ could feature an in-display fingerprint sensor and should come with an upgraded SoC and better camera features compared to its predecessor, the V21 5G. Other details have not been revealed yet.
For the unversed, the Vivo V23e 5G launched in Thailand last month, right after the 4G V23e made its debut in Vietnam.
According to GSM Arena, the Indian launch is rumoured to also incorporate a Vivo V23 Pro, while the V23e in either of its iterations may make an appearance in the subcontinent too.

IMD predicts above-normal rainfall for Dec-Feb in 6 states

New Delhi [India]: India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Wednesday predicted above-normal rainfall for December to February for coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema, south interior Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, inner Puducherry, and Kerala.
“Our prediction for above-normal rainfall for December to February is for coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema, south interior Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, inner Puducherry, and Kerala,” said the Indian Meteorological Department. “Below normal rainfall probability is predicted for North-West India, thus their average temp is expected to stay above normal,” it added.
“Punjab, Haryana, and west Rajasthan are expected to experience a normal average temperature,” it added.
“It is difficult to tell the temperature as above or below normal of east and west Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, east Rajasthan, and Gujarat, but the maximum temperature is expected to stay below normal,” it said.
Eight people have died in rain-related incidents in Tamil Nadu in November, While, torrential rains claimed 27 lives in Kerala in October.
While unprecedented rainfall claimed the lives of 44 people in Andhra Pradesh.

Kolkata Municipal Corporation polls on Dec 19

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India]: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) elections will be held on December 19, a notification issued by the State Election Commission (SEC) on Thursday said.
The last date of filing the nominations is December 1. The scrutiny of nomination forms will be done the next day. Candidates can withdraw their names from the fray till December 4.
Voting will be held on December 19 from 7 am to 5 pm.
The counting of votes will be held on December 21.
This will be the first major electoral battle in West Bengal after the May 2021 assembly polls, which the Trinamool Congress won comprehensively.
The Mamata Banerjee-led TMC registered a landslide victory in polls winning 213 seats in the 294-member West Bengal assembly. The BJP lost the polls but emerged as the second-largest party with 77 seats.

Sonia, Rahul Gandhi to address Congress’ Mehangai Hatao Rally

New Delhi [India]: Taking its protest further against price rise and inflation, Congress will hold a massive public meeting “Mehangai Hatao Rally” on December 12 at the national capital.
The rally will be addressed by Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and party MP Rahul Gandhi and Congress leaders from across the country. Congress said it shall continue to raise these issues both inside and outside the Parliament to challenge the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre.
“The real issues affecting people of India are the backbreaking prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas, which have had a spiralling effect on the prices of all foods and other consumable items. Every home is affected by the merciless rise in prices of cooking oil, pulses and other food items. Perhaps for the first time, the price of tomato has surpassed the price of petrol and diesel in India. Construction material like cement, iron and steel has seen a rise of nearly 40 per cent to 50 per cent. Everything is gradually going out of the reach of the common man,” read the Congress statement.
The party said that the central government either remains indifferent to the woes and agony of common people or mocks it on other occasions.
Earlier in November, in a significant decision, the Centre reduced excise duty on petrol and diesel to bring down the prices of the two petroleum products which had been seeing an upward trend.
The relief to consumers came on the eve of Diwali. The Finance Ministry said that excise duty on petrol will come down by Rs 5 and that on diesel by Rs 10.
It urged the states “to commensurately reduce” VAT on petrol and diesel to give relief to consumers. Following the Centre’s suit, many other states have also announced a reduction in Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel.

‘Sri Jagannatha Daasaru’ To Release In December

Sri Jagannatha Daasaru’, a Kannada film by Dr Madhusudhan Havaldar on the famous Haridasa scholar, had its premiere in a San Francisco Bay Area theater recently. However, the film is yet to see a theatrical release in India.

Part of the Bhakti movement, Sri Jagannatha Daasaru is counted among the most famous quartet of Haridasas (servants of God), including Sri Purandara Daasaru, Sri Vijayadasaru, and Sri Gopala Daasaru. Sri Jaganatha Daasaru was made under the banner, Mathambuja Movies, and co-produced by Mytri Heritage, VV Joshi, and Srinath Rao and under the guidance of Trivikram Joshi. The film has debutant Sharath Joshi playing the role of Sri Jagannatha Daasaru, Trivikram Joshi as Sri Vijayadasaru, and Prabhanjan Deshpande as Sri Gopala Daasaru.

The historical devotional drama has been shot in several parts of Karnataka, including Hampi, Anegondi, Gangawati, and the surrounding forests and the hills. The film will be released across Karnataka in the second week of December.

Nikhil Kumaraswamy’s ‘Rider’ To Release In December

This Christmas is going to be extra special for all the Nikhil Kumaraswamy fans as the actor’s much-awaited ‘Rider’ gets a release date. The action drama is all set for grand theatrical release on the 24th of December (2021) – Nikhil, the film’s lead, made the announcement a short while ago via social media.

‘Rider’ has been directed by Vijay Kumar Konda who has predominantly worked in the Telugu Film Industry so far on films like ‘Gunde Jaari Gallanthayyinde’ (starring Nithin and Nithya Menen) and ‘Power Play’. Chandru Manoharan and Sunil Gowda produce the film which also stars Kashmira Pardeshi as the female lead and actors Dattanna, Chikkanna, Shobraj, Rajesh Nataranga, Shivaraj K.R. Pete, Achyuth Kumar, and others playing important parts in the film.

Arjun Janya has composed the music with ‘James’ director Chethan Kumar penning the lyrics of the first released track Davva Davva. The second song from the album, titled Mellane, has been sung by Sanjith Hegde (lyrics by Kaviraj).

This will be Nikhil Kumaraswamy’s fourth outing as an actor after making his debut with ‘Jaguar’ in 2016.

However, ‘Rider’ will not be the only release on December 24th as Dhananjaya’s maiden production venture ‘Badava Rascal’ too hits the big screen on the very same day. It would be interesting to see how the films fare at the box office during the holiday season.

‘Drishya 2’ To Release In December

Kannada movie Drishya 2 is set to release in December in theatres, rather than on OTT platforms. The film is directed by P Vasu, who had helmed the Kannada version of the first instalment of Drishya, which did exceedingly well at the box office. The film, which has Ravichandran, Anant Nag, Navya Nair, Aarohi Narayan, Pramod Shetty, Asha Sharath and Prabhu in lead roles, was shot in three months.

Actress Lasya Nagaraj, who will be seen in a pivotal role in the movie, said, “There are two shades in my character which are completely different from what I have done in my previous films. My expressions are very subtle and this is what makes this role special for me.”

The film is an official remake of Malayalam film Drishyam 2 which got an awesome response from viewers across the country after an OTT release.

Meanwhile, Ravichandran has also wrapped up shooting for the periodic drama, Kannadiga, directed by Giriraj. Kannadiga is also ready to hit the screens.

Sunburn Festival Goa 2021 To Be Held In December

Organisers for the upcoming 15th edition of Sunburn Festival Goa have announced on Sunday that it will be held in December, this year, with access being granted to only those audience members who have been fully vaccinated.

As per Percept Live, the founding organisation behind the electronic dance music festival, Sunburn will be adhering to health and safety measures and “all applicable COVID-19 government guidelines”. “Only attendees who have been fully/doubly vaccinated will be permitted to attend the festival. The festival will also be a limited capacity event and new entry and exit protocols will be put into place to ensure safe passage of attendees in and around the venue,” the statement read.

With vaccinations happening in full swing across the country, Karan Singh, COO, Percept Live said there is a “renewed optimism” for the live event industry.

“While COVID-19 put a pause on life over the past 18 months, we are social beings and it’s finally time to ‘Live, Love, And Dance Again’. Sunburn Goa 2021 will be a limited capacity event following global live event best practices and all applicable guidelines.

“The strict measures put in place will ensure safety for all our fans without taking away from the lively open-air experience of Asia’s biggest music festival. We cannot wait to welcome the Sunburn fans back to Goa,” Singh added.

The festival ticket purchase e-Gateway has a rigorous COVID-19 security protocol in place with attendees to compulsorily submit their postal address, e-mail ID and contact number to receive a booking confirmation and unique booking ID.

Entry wristbands and a festival information guide will be sent along with a COVID safety kit to the attendee’s postal address provided online. All patrons must be double vaccinated to enter the festival, and their vaccination certificates will need to be uploaded prior and will also be scanned at the festival gates along with their original government ID proof.

The entry gates will have ample entry lanes and will follow norms of social distancing. Additionally, various time slots to enter the festival premise will be allocated to attendees prior, to avoid over-crowding. VVIP tables placed at key points across the venue will ensure prompt service to guests; thereby restricting the attendees need to walk around the festival premise for F&B and other necessities.

Fans will be advised to wear face masks when in crowded areas and provisions will be made for regular thermal scanning, hand wash and sanitisers across the festival premise. The organizers have declared a zero-tolerance policy towards any attendee who violates these protocols.

After a hiatus of 2 years, this year, the festival, themed ‘#LifeIsCalling’, will be a three-day showcase from December 28-30 at Vagator, Goa. Last year, the festival was conducted digitally with no fan presence on the ground.

Featuring over 60 international and local artists across 3 stages, the festival will also entail exclusive limited guest list after-parties at various venues across Goa.

The promoters will be partnering with several popular clubs across India for ‘Sunburn Echo’, the livestream that will recreate the on-ground festival experience across the country. Further, ‘Sunburn Home’ will also give fans the opportunity to watch the live stream of the on-ground festival from the comfort and safety of their homes.

The Sunburn Festival Goa 2021 is co-presented by Magic Moments Music Studio and Kingfisher, and co-powered by audio partner boAt.

Biden signs legislation to fund US govt through December 3

Washington [US]: US President Joe Biden on Thursday (local time) signed a short-term spending bill swiftly passed by Congress, which has averted a government shutdown.
“The President signed into law the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act,” the White House said in a statement. It “includes a short-term continuing resolution that provides the fiscal year 2022 appropriations to federal agencies through December 3, 2021, for continuing projects and activities of the Federal Government; includes supplemental appropriations for disaster relief; includes supplemental appropriations for Afghanistan evacuees; and extends several expiring authorisations,” the statement added.
Stressing that the act meets the critical and urgent needs of the nation, Biden in the statement said that it helps “disaster relief for both red and blue states hit hard by Hurricane Ida and other devastating natural disasters, and funding to help us resettle Afghan allies in the US following the end of the 20-year war in Afghanistan”.
He added that that the funding will also keep up “our fight against COVID-19 and–on this International Recovery Day–it will continue our battle against the opioid crisis”.
Congressional Democrats and the Biden administration have been attempting to juggle a time-sensitive legislative agenda that includes funding the government to prevent a shutdown, raising the debt ceiling, and passing a major infrastructure deal, reported Sputnik.
US federal funding was set to expire tonight at midnight. The bill measure includes $28.6 billion in emergency disaster assistance and $6.3 billion to assist Afghan refugees resettle in the US.

The Game Awards to take place in December

Washington [US]: The 2021 edition of The Game Awards, which is the annual Oscars-like award show for video games, has been announced to take place on December 9.
According to The Verge, the show will take place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, and unlike last year, there will be an in-person audience, though it will be an invite-only event. Details about specific health and safety protocols for the in-person event will be shared “in the coming weeks,” according to a press release.
The awards, which will be hosted by creator and executive producer Geoff Keighley, will also be live-streamed on more than 40 different platforms, so people will be able to watch from home if they want.
The show organisers have also promised that there will be “free playable game content” available as part of an “immersive digital experience. Like in previous years, The Game Awards will also feature “first-look world premieres and new game announcements.”
There was some big news in 2020, including the announcements of Master Chief in ‘Fortnite’ and Sephiroth in ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’, and Microsoft also brought a huge surprise to the 2019 show with its reveal of the Xbox Series X.
As per The Verge, there aren’t any details about what announcements to expect this year, but if past years are any indication, there could be some fun surprises in store.

Anshuman Jha’s Film ‘Lakadbaggha’ To Go On Floors In December

Actor Anshuman Jha is currently undergoing a planned training phase in martial arts for his role in the upcoming action movie ‘Lakadbaggha’.

Written by Alok Sharma and directed by Victor Mukherjee, the film is a quintessential ‘Good vs Evil’ story with a unique contemporary touch of the illegal animal trade industry serving as an undercurrent to the narrative.

“I love animals and have always loved action movies – ‘Lakadbaggha’ merges both my passions. I am thrilled to be a part of an out and out Action film for the first time. The training is intense but I’m loving every bit of it and grateful for the opportunity. The storyline deals with a relevant issue that plagues our society and I will only do this once – therefore have put the other projects on hold so that I can give this my all. The action choreography is something I am looking forward to and I hope the audience will enjoy this balls to the walls kind of action,” Anshuman said.

Set in East Kolkata, Chinatown, ‘Lakadbaggha’ will go on floors in December 2021.

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