Think of a meaningful sentence you could make with these words ― Pablo Escobar. Hippopotamus. India.
Now, if you’re wondering why we’re throwing in such random disconnected words, we don’t blame you. You’ve probably missed out on the rumours of Pablo’s hippos travelling to India.
Yes, we know that Escobar, the Columbian cocaine drug lord has been dead for a while now. But his legacy survives. And no, we’re not talking about his lavish mansions or vintage cars. We’re talking about his ‘cocaine hippos’, as they’re dubbed.
Apparently, Escobar smuggled 4 hippos from a US zoo in 1981 and housed them at his private ranch in Columbia. He also had flamingoes, giraffes and zebras. But they found new homes after Pablo’s death while the hippos stayed back. The hippos multiplied and they now threaten neighbouring ecosystems.
It seems hippos encourage bacterial and toxic algal blooms in the lakes they inhabit. This could hurt water quality and cause fish deaths. Meaning, a direct attack on fishers’ livelihoods. Besides, they could also have dangerous encounters with humans and other animals.
So, Columbia’s having none of it. They want to part with about 70 of over 100 hippos and send them over to Mexico and India.
But hippos are native to Africa. Then why not move them back there?
You see, translocating these invasive creatures back to their original habitat may not be feasible now because sub-Saharan African countries may not be able to receive and look after them since they already host the largest hippo populations. Besides, these animals could spread new pathogens or viruses to other animals if not housed properly.
But countries suitable for the hippos’ survival could volunteer to look after them. Also, we don’t have hippos in the wild in India since we lost them to hunting and destruction of wetlands nearly 9000 years ago.
So having a few hippos here would be great no?
Here’s a soundtrack to put you in the mood 🎵
Cold Cold Night by Raghav Meattle
Ready with your favourite beverage? Let’s roll.
What caught our eye this week 👀
Can India get the Kohinoor back?
King Charles III has been in the headlines ever since the demise of his mother, the late Queen. But in the last few days, the chatter is all about his coronation which is due to take place in May. And this event has sparked another conversation that interests Indians ― the Kohinoor.
Yes, we’re talking about that long-lost precious diamond that’s close to India’s heart.
See, usually coronations mean new crowns for the King and Queen. But just so that the spending doesn’t seem far-fetched amidst an ongoing economic crisis in the UK, Queen Consort Camilla was asked to choose from one of the vintage crowns of her predecessors.
And guess which one she chose?
Queen Mary’s (the King’s maternal great-grandmother’s). The one adorned with the beloved Kohinoor.
A fortnight ago though, the Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen Consort will wear an altered version of the crown without the Kohinoor. And while that may have been a conscious choice to avoid diplomatic clashes with India, the pressing question remains ― Can India ever get the Kohinoor back?
Look, a version of Kohinoor’s history tells that it was mined between the 12th and 14th century from the Kollur Mine which is now in modern-day Andhra Pradesh. Then, it was a majestic 793-carat uncut diamond.
Invasions in the 16th century led to the diamond changing hands from the Mughals to the Persians and then the Afghans. It was the Sikh Maharajah, Ranjit Singh who took it from the Afghan leader Shah Shujah Durrani and brought it back to India.
But in the late 1840s, the last Sikh ruler Duleep Singh (Ranjit Singh’s youngest son) surrendered all his possessions including land and the Kohinoor to the East India Company after losing the Anglo-Sikh war with the British. He was barely 11 years old at the time.
Now interestingly, in 2016 when the Supreme Court was hearing a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) by a human rights group to retrieve the diamond, India’s Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar informed the Court that the Kohinoor was neither stolen nor forcibly taken away. Rather, it was given as a gift.
And according to the Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972, the issue of retrieval of antiquities can only come up if they’ve been illegally exported out of the country. Besides, since 1947, Pakistan and Afghanistan have also laid their claims on the gem.
And our past attempts to retrieve the diamond have only gone in vain with the former UK Prime Minister David Cameron once saying “If you say yes to one you suddenly find the British Museum would be empty.”
So sadly, the Kohinoor may never return to Indian soil. Or will it? You tell us.
This didn’t make the cut ✂️
The pump-and-dump paradox?
On Saturday, we wrote about how certain unscrupulous folks used YouTube videos to manipulate people into a pump-and-dump scheme. In short, they’d simply feed viewers with fake information about a stock. The people would buy it and the price would rise. And the people behind the scam would dump the stock and pocket their ill-gotten gains.
Now here’s the thing. Not all of the investors would’ve been gullible souls who got duped. Nope. Because there seems to be a certain section of people who actually revel in these shady practices. You see, researchers from Chicago Booth, Harvard, and a couple of German universities teamed up to dig into 421 pump and dump operations between 2002 and 2015 in Germany. And they found 110,000 investors who participated in these schemes.
Now the interesting thing was that typically, once you burn your fingers in these schemes, you tend to stay away. But around 35% of these investors exhibited risky behaviour even on a regular day. They were prone to day trading a lot. They bought and sold stocks very quickly. And they also had more penny stocks (extremely low-priced stocks) in their portfolios compared to the others.
These were people — the typical profile being an older, married male person who lived in a smaller town — who knew what they were doing. They probably knew the risk of loss. They’d experienced it before. But seeking out these pump-and-dump kinds of stocks and trying to get in and out before it all collapsed seemed to give them a rush. An adrenaline boost. They weren’t gullible or naive after all.
Not to say that that’s what Indian investors were doing with the latest fiasco. But there is some evidence to suggest that a certain group of people actively seek out such shady companies.
Money tips 💰
Are you paying too much tax?
Nobody likes to pay taxes. And if you felt like you paid way too much in taxes this year, you should definitely consider buying a health insurance policy. You can save some money this way while protecting yourself and your family. Here’s how.
Under section 80D, you can save up to 1 lakh in taxes depending on your age.
Let’s say you’re under 60 and paying premiums for yourself and your family (spouse & children). In this case, you can avail up to ₹25,000 in tax deductions. Now add your parents to this and you can save even more. How much, you ask?
If they’re under 60, you save ₹50,000.
Over 60, and you save ₹75,000.
In case both you and your parents are 60+, you can save ₹1 lakh.
And hey, if you’re looking to buy health insurance today (before 31st March comes knocking), talk to our advisors for free today. You’ll have some of the best advisors at your fingertips. Link here.
Readers Recommend 🗒️
The Smoking Tire | A Podcast by Matt Farah & Zack Klapman
This week we have a podcast recommendation from our reader Arshad Ahamed. The Smoking Tire is a show covering the car industry, racing projects, behind-the-scenes experiences of the hosts and them traveling the world testing cars.
Thanks for sending in this interesting suggestion Arshad.
Finshots Weekly Quiz
We’re excited to release the first Weekly Finshots Quiz — where you get an opportunity to win some exclusive Finshots merch!
Every week, we will ask you 5 questions — one from each daily story — and if you answer all 5 correctly, you get a chance to win amazing prizes (including our cool Finshots hoodie!)
Ready? Get your thinking caps on!
Click here to access the Google form and take the quiz.
Remember to answer all questions correctly to win the prize. Good luck, and we can’t wait to see who our lucky winner will be this week!
And with this, it’s wrap-up time. We’ll see you next Sunday.
And don’t forget to tell us what you thought of today’s newsletter. And send us your book, music, business movies, documentaries or podcast recommendations. We’ll feature them in the newsletter! Just hit reply to this email (or if you’re reading this on the web, drop us a message: email@example.com).