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A Tax Haven Blacklist

 

European Union has blacklisted certain nations that are considered tax havens and do not comply with its taxation standards. Army has ‘wiped out’ terrorists who had masterminded Amarnath Yatra attack this year. Airlines are expecting a slightly higher profit per passenger next year. Government has provided sops to the small and medium industries to help improve exports. 

 

17

What is it? The number of countries that feature on a European Union (EU) blacklist of nations that are non-compliant with EU standards for tax purposes, including Saint Lucia, South Korea and Barbados.

Why is it important? This EU name-and-shame action comes about a month after the publishing of The Paradise Papers, which made public how the world’s rich and famous used tax havens and contentious tax structures to avoid taxes. However, the onus to act against these 17 countries—a list that, tellingly enough, doesn’t include a single EU member—lies on individual member countries, and it remains to be seen if they will follow through.

Tell me more: The EU also placed another 47 jurisdictions on a newly established ‘grey list’—countries that are also deemed to be non-compliant, but have committed to changing their tax rules. This list includes Switzerland and Hong Kong.

 

5

What is it? The number of months since a militant group attacked a group of pilgrims on the Amarnath Yatra.

Why is it important? On Tuesday, Jammu and Kashmir’s Director General of Police (DGP) tweeted that the gang that carried out the July attack has been “wiped out”. In the attack near Anantnag on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway in South Kashmir, seven pilgrims were killed and 15 injured. This year has seen a series of successful encounters by security forces, where top militants such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Abu Dujana, Hizbul Mujahideen’s Sabzar Ahmad Bhat and Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar’s nephew Tallah Rashid have been killed.

Tell me more: LeT chief Abu Ismail, who was the mastermind behind the Amarnath attack, was killed by the security forces in the outskirts of Srinagar in September.

 

$8.9

What is it? The expected average net profit per departing passenger in the global airline sector in 2018, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Why is it important? If the prediction is met, it would be a slight increase from $8.45 in 2017. This is even as overall net profit is expected to increase to $38.4 billion in 2018, from the projected $34.5 billion in 2017. IATA says the key drivers of profitability would be a likely 6% increase in passenger traffic, an expected 4.5% rise in cargo volumes and lower debt levels. However, costs, too, are expected to increase: oil prices are expected to average $60 per barrel, and labour costs, which are a larger expense item than fuel, will continue to rise.

Tell me more: IATA expects seat occupancy to reach 81.4% next year whereas yields, which is a measure of fares, would improve by 3%. For the 10 months of 2017 till October, the seat occupancy of IndiGo ranged from 81.6-91.1%.

 

Rs 8,450 crore

What is it? The cumulative additional incentives announced by the Indian government for labour-intensive MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) sectors under two schemes, as part of its mid-term policy review released on Tuesday.

Why is it important? This is to boost exports, which fell 1.1% to $23 billion in October, the slowest pace of growth since July 2016 and the first decline after 14 months of positive growth, likely due to the roll-out of the goods and services tax. The President of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations believes these incentives are likely to have a positive impact on export numbers from January, though he expressed disappointment about a number of sectors having been left out.

Tell me more: Some major sectors that would benefit from the incentives include ready-made garments and made-ups in the textile sector, leather and footwear articles, and agriculture and related products. The earlier incentives under the two schemes totaled Rs 25,000 crore.

 

704 days

What is it?  The number of days after which South African star batsman AB de Villiers will return to play test cricket, if he is selected for the Boxing Day test against Zimbabwe.

Why is it important? AB de Villiers has been one of the pivots of South African batting, but a combination of wanting to play less cricket and injuries have meant him not playing tests. His possible return comes at a crucial time for South Africa, as its next two test assignments are stern examinations: against India, the only side ranked above it in the ICC test rankings, and Australia.

Tell me more: Among current South African batsmen, who are a relatively inexperienced lot, only Hashim Amla leads de Villiers in runs scored and tests played.

 

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Just How Bad is The Crime Rate In Delhi?

Last week, the National Crime Records Bureau released crime data for 2016, and that showed Delhi to continue being the crime capital in several categories.

NCRB categorizes crimes under 18 heads, and releases data for each at two geographical levels: by states and by 19 metropolitan cities with a population above 2 million. Delhi had the overall worst crime rate among all states, of 975 crimes per 100,000 people. The next worst was Kerala: 727.

Just how bad is it to be living as a woman or a child in Delhi? The visualization below captures the severity of Delhi’s crime rate in select categories with respect to other states. Seen another way, it shows when people come from another state to Delhi, what are they coming to in terms of crime and safety?

The smallest icons (first row) show states that are just as bad as Delhi in the particular crime metric: for example, the rate of crime against women in Assam is close to Delhi. And the largest icons (last low) show states with low crime rates. Nagaland, for example, had the lowest crime rate against women; in comparison to it, Delhi’s crime rate was 17 times Nagaland.

In terms of bigger states, Delhi’s rate of crime against women was thrice as bad as that of Maharashtra, and twice as bad as Madhya Pradesh.

The stark gap between Delhi and other states is also seen in crimes against children.

 

 

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Lineage Wins Yet Again

 

Congress gave in to lineage once again. It’s sole candidate has filed his nomination and would soon be elected. The telecom watchdog, TRAI has recommended that a telecom firm should first test its network before going all out in the market. In the world, China may become the biggest importer in next five years. And, Madhya Pradesh has unanimously passed a bill to legalize death sentence for those guilty of raping minor girls.

 

1

What is it? Number of candidates who filed a nomination to contest elections for the post of the president of the Indian National Congress. The sole candidate, Rahul Gandhi, filed his nomination on Monday.

Why is it important? If elected, as is expected, Rahul Gandhi will become the sixth member of the Nehru-Gandhi family to become president of the Indian National Congress. It will further the hereditary nature of Indian politics, where political parties speak of party democracy in letter, but submit to supreme leadership in spirit.

Tell me more: From his immediate family, Rahul Gandhi, 47, will be the third member to become party president, following his father (Rajiv Gandhi, 1985-1991) and mother (Sonia Gandhi, current president since 1998). Before them, there were Indira Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Motilal Nehru.

 

90

What is it? The maximum number of days a telecom firm should get to conduct network testing and enroll only a small number of users before commercially launching its services, according to recommendations by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) sent to the department of telecommunications.

Why is it important? If accepted, this suggestion could help new operators that are planning to launch their services in a telecom circle, given that under the current rules, a telecom service provider has to get its network testing done before launch of operations and also meet certain quality criteria. Incumbents had accused Reliance Jio, which made its entry last September, of running full-fledged services in the guise of trial launch/networking testing, though it has denied any wrongdoing.

Tell me more: TRAI also said that if a telecom operator was unable to carry out networking testing in the above mentioned time frame, it could be extended provided it had valid reasons to do so.

 

5

What is it? The number of years within which China is likely to become the largest importer in the world, leapfrogging the US, according to a research note by CICC.

Why is it important? This would help China in becoming a bigger economic power as it turns from being a major exporter to one that starts importing more consumer-led products. The Asian country recently reduced import tariffs on 187 consumer goods to an average of 7.7% from 17.3% in a bid to move towards a consumption-driven economy. The research note says this would help the global economy that has struggled with lower demand since the 2008 financial crisis.

Tell me more: In 2016, US imported goods and services worth $2.25 trillion while China’s imports were $1.59 trillion.

 

14

What is it? The minimum number of years of rigorous imprisonment for raping girls aged 12 or below, according to a bill passed unanimously by the Madhya Pradesh assembly on Monday. In addition, the bill proposes death sentence or life imprisonment for the same crime.

Why is it important? This is the first time a state in India has legalised death penalty for rape of minor girls. It now requires the assent of the President to become a law. According to the National Crime Records Bureau report for 2016, Madhya Pradesh reported the highest number of rape cases in India. However, some legal experts say this could have an adverse effect by resulting in under-reporting of such cases and may also put the lives of children in danger as they may be killed by their perpetrators.

Tell me more: The bill also proposes jail term and penalty for harassment, stalking, assault with intention to disrobe or use of force among others.

 

39

What is it? Number of years since Prithvi Theatre has had a permanent home in Juhu, Mumbai. It was set up by actor Shashi Kapoor, who died yesterday, and his late wife Jennifer Kendal.

Why is it important? Prithvi is a firmament on the theatre scene in Mumbai and India, promoting the art form in a holistic sense that includes staging performances, conducting workshops and promoting stage artists and others involved in theatre. It’s also a rare instance of a mainstream actor making theatre a bedrock of his or her life’s work.

Tell me more: Shashi Kapoor’s father Prithviraj Kapoor began Prithvi Theatres in 1944 as a moving theatre company, travelling across India and staging plays in Hindustani. He leased 2 plots of land in Juhu to build a permanent space, but could not see it through because of ill-health.

 

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Virat Kohli Is Up Against History In Matching Sachin Tendulkar’s 100 Hundreds

The way he is batting these days, Virat Kohli makes hundreds for breakfast. On November 20, he became only the eighth batsman in the history of the sport to reach 50 international hundreds. The next two innings he played in the ongoing test series against Sri Lanka, he added two more—that too double hundreds.

He is in imperious form. He is hungry to write and rewrite history. He has the focus. He has the fitness.

Still, the summit of hundreds, on whose perch Sachin Tendulkar sits alone by a long, long way is a long and arduous journey away. And, in order to reach there, Kohli will have to do things that most others who have tried to make that journey have failed to.

It comes down to a tale of two halves. These top centurions were more productive in the first half of their career than their second. All barring one, and we will come to this exception.

The graph below shows the age at which the top three centurions (Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Kumar Sangakkara) and two current players (Kohli and Hashim Amla) have scored their centuries.

Look at Tendulkar’s line (colored blue). It starts before everyone else’s: he debuted the youngest. It extends beyond everyone else: he played the longest. It rises the highest: he has the most hundreds. It is always above everyone else’s: at every age, Tendulkar had more hundreds.

Virat Kohli is 29 today. At that age, Tendulkar had 65 hundreds, 15 more than Kohli. Tendulkar played for nine more years, during which he amassed another 35 hundreds—a lower rate of accumulation. Similarly, Ricky Ponting, who finished with 71 hundreds, added 36 hundreds between the age of 29 and 37, when he retired.

The one exception to this was Kumar Sangakkara. He was a rare top batsman who became more prolific with age and went out in considerable style. Sangakkara played till the age of 37. And between 29 years and 37 years, he racked up 43 hundreds.

For Kohli to overhaul Tendulkar’s record of 100 hundreds, he will need to play as long as Tendulkar and do so with the accumulation prowess of a Sangakkara.

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