Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 07 December 2022

India's first real-time Gold ATM

GS Paper - 3 (Economy)

Unlike usual ATMs that dispense money, the Goldsikka ATM dispenses Gold coins. In what is India's first gold ATM, people can insert their debit or credit cards into the Goldsikka and buy gold coins. The ATM has a capacity of storing 5kgs of gold. There are 8 available options for the quantity of gold starting from 0.5 grams to 100 grams.

What is Goldsikka?

  1. Goldsikka Pvt Ltd launched its first Gold ATM with Technology support from M/s OpenCube Technologies Pvt Ltd, a Hyderabad-based startup company on 3 December 2022. This is India's first and the world's first real-time Gold ATM.
  2. Each ATM has a capacity of holding upto 5kgs of gold which is worth around Rs.2-3 crores. The ATM machine dispenses coins ranging from 0.5 grams to 100 grams.
  3. There are 8 available options, including 0.5 grams, 1 gram, 2 grams, 5 grams, 10 grams, 20 grams, 50 grams and 100 grams.
  4. These coins are 24-carat gold and 999 certified. The customers will get their investment returns at a live price without any wastage.
  5. The important feature of the ATM is prices are updated live. The prices there are updated and displayed on the screen and so are the taxes.


Orion capsule makes its closest approach to moon

GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

The uncrewed Orion capsule of NASA’s Artemis I mission sailed within 80 miles (130 km) of the lunar surface on 5 December 2022, achieving the closest approach to the moon for a spacecraft built to carry humans since Apollo 17 flew half a century ago.


  1. The capsule’s lunar flyby, on the return leg of its debut voyage, came a week after Orion reached its farthest point in space, nearly 270,000 miles from Earth while midway through its 25-day mission.
  2. Orion passed about 79 miles above the lunar surface on 5 December 2022 as the spacecraft fired its thrusters for a “powered flyby burn,” designed to change the vehicle’s velocity and set it on course for its flight back to Earth.
  3. NASA said the 3-1/2-minute burn would mark the last major spaceflight maneuver for Orion before it was due to parachute into the sea and splash down on 11 Dec. 2022.
  4. The last time a spacecraft designed for human travel came as close to the moon as Orion was the final mission of the Apollo program, Apollo 17, which carried Gene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt to the lunar surface 50 years ago this month.
  5. They were the last of 12 NASA astronauts who walked on the moon during a total of six Apollo missions from 1969 to 1972.
  6. Although Orion has no astronauts aboard – just a simulated crew of three mannequins – it flew farther than any previous “crew-class” spacecraft on the 13th day of its mission.
  7. It reached a point 268,563 miles from Earth, nearly 20,000 miles beyond the record distance set by the crew of Apollo 13 in 1970, which aborted its lunar landing and returned to Earth after a nearly catastrophic mechanical failure.
  8. Orion was carried to space atop NASA’s towering, next-generation Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which blasted off on 16 Nov. 2022 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral, Florida.
  9. The mission marked the first flight of the combined SLS rocket and the Orion capsule, built by Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp, respectively, under contract with NASA.
  10. The chief objective of Orion’s inaugural flight is to test the durability of its heat shield as it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere at 24,500 miles per hour, much faster than spacecraft returning from the International Space Station.


G7’s oil price cap and its impact on Russia

GS Paper -2 (International Relations)

Oil prices surged after the Group of Seven (G7), European Union and Australian proposal imposing a price cap on Russian seaborne oil came into effect. The global oil benchmarks – Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude rose 60-70 cents a barrel.


How is the price cap intended to work?

  1. The plan to impose the price cap on Russian crude oil shipments, pegged at $60 to a barrel for now.
  2. It aimed at preventing firms in signatory nations from extending shipping, insurance, brokering and other services to Russian crude oil shipments that are sold at any value above the designated per-barrel price, i.e. $60 for now.


What are the problems with this price cap?

  1. To cut Russia’s oil and gas earnings without simultaneously crimping the global supply of oil, this could stoke runaway inflation.
  2. If Russian oil does not make its way into the global oil market, then crude prices could potentially spike, impacting consumers in the EU and the US, alongside those in the rest of the world.


Impact on Russia:

  1. Russia’s export revenues have dipped, due to an easing of global oil prices and lower gas sales due to Russia’s decision to cut flows into Europe through the sabotaged Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
  2. Moscow’s current account surplus this year is projected to be above $250 billion, second only to China’s. And the price cap at $60 does not really impact its earnings.

India’s position:

  1. Despite the United States-led sanctions on Russia post its invasion of Ukraine, India has decided to not just continue with, but also double its trade with Moscow in the “near foreseeable future”.
  2. The increase in trade volumes between the two countries have mainly come on the back of sharply higher import of discounted Russian crude by India.
  3. India, which imported less than 1 per cent of its total crude from Russia before the Russia-Ukraine war, now imports over 20 per cent of its total requirement from it.


  1. The Group of Seven (G7) is an intergovernmental political forum consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States; additionally, the European Union (EU) is a "non-enumerated member.
  2. It brings together the world's advanced economies to influence global trends and tackle pervasive and crosscutting issues, as well as emergent global crises.


Wave Energy Generator

GS Paper -3 (Technology and Renewable Energy)

Researchers at IIT Madras have developed and deployed a system that could generate electricity using energy from sea waves.The system, dubbed Sindhuja-I, was deployed about six kilometres from the coast of Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, where the sea has a depth of about 20 metres.


More about the news

  1. Wave energy generation devices use a technology called “point absorber wave energy converter”, it is only one of the many such technologies being developed by companies around the world.
  2. It can currently produce 100 watts of energy. It will be scaled up to produce one megawatt of energy in the next three years.
  3. The research team plans to deploy a remote water desalination system and a surveillance camera at the location by December 2023.
  4. It also plans to conduct further testing to help understand how to deal with power generation fluctuations caused by weather events.


About the device functionality

  1. The system consists of a floating buoy, a spar and an electrical module. The buoy moves up and down as the waves oscillate up and down.
  2. There is a hole at the centre of this buoy that will allow the spar to pass through it. The spar is fixed to the seafloor to ensure that the waves don’t move it.
  3. When the buoy moves and the spar don’t, the waves produce a relative motion between both. This relative motion is used by an electric generator to produce power.



  1. For remote applications like on island and offshore locations, the cost of transporting power over the sea could be higher than generating electricity from waves at the location.

Significance of the technology


  1. This wave energy system comes at a time when there is increased global attention for the potential of using waves to generate electricity.
  2. In January this year, the US Department of Energy announced a $25 million grant to companies demonstrating technologies that can harness waves to generate electricity.
  3. The European Union also hopes to generate 10 per cent of the region’s power demand through ocean energy by the year 2025.

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