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. 



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.



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.



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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Why Virat Kohli stands alone at 8,000 ODI runs

In the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy, Virat Kohli etched his name on one more batting record in one-day internationals (ODIs): fastest to 8,000 runs. His journey to this milestone is impressive, as shown by a comparison with AB de Villiers (second on the list) and Sachin Tendulkar (fourth). In the climb to 8,000 runs, Kohli has been above de Villiers and Tendulkar all along. To get here, de Villiers took seven more innings than Kohli and Tendulkar 35 more.




Of the three, Kohli was the quickest off the blocks. By match 13, his ODI average had crossed 40 for good. By comparison, de Villiers achieved that in match 95 and Tendulkar—who wandered in the middle order in the first quarter of his ODI career before finding his groove at the top—in match 187.




Another factor going for Kohli is his command of the run chase: 63% of his ODI runs have come chasing, at an average of 66—a cut above de Villiers and Tendulkar. Yet, Kohli has fewer man-of-the-match awards at 8,000 runs (22, against 23 for de Villiers and 33 for Tendulkar), which is not a knock on his ability to win matches but a testimony to his greater consistency.



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The elite 160 club in T20 cricket: A metric to identify the best batters

This piece originally appeared on


Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane gave baseball Moneyball, basing player decisions chiefly on statistics, including those the sport traditionally considered of secondary importance. As cricketing formats go shorter—and splinters from country to cities, and the demand for players surges—teams are warming up to new metrics to gauge player efficiency and effectiveness.

In a recent interview to ESPNCricinfo, Australian cricketer Michael Hussey mentioned a metric to measure the best batters in Twenty20 cricket, one he picked up from New Zealander Scott Styris during their stint with the Chennai Indian Premier League (IPL) team. The metric is the sum of a batsman’s average (a measure of runs scored per outing) and strike rate (speed of scoring). A total score above 160, while racking up a significant amount of runs, defined the batting mainstays, according to this theory.

In a format that is still nascent, only 21 players who have scored more than 700 runs in international Twenty20 have breached the 160 mark. The list is led by Aaron Finch (total score: 189), who Australia benched in the ongoing World Cup. Next comes Virat Kohli (188), who averages 19 more than anyone else. He is followed by Chris Gayle (183), who towers over everyone else in all Twenty20 matches. And AB de Villiers (155) is a notable exclusion.

The data interactive below shows how the records of this 160 club—in both international matches and all matches—break up between strike rate and average. Mouseover or tap a circle to see player details. Click on country name in the legend to isolate its players.



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IPL 8: The performance of top 25 batsmen and bowlers

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The graphic shows how the top 25 run scorers in this year’s IPL fared on four counts: runs scored (shown by size of bubble), the speed at which they scored (Y-axis), how much they averaged per innings (X-axis) and which team they played for (colour of bubble). Chennai has the most number of players in the list (five), but they were, relatively speaking, not prolific in big knocks. Ajinkya Rahane of Rajasthan was the second highest run-getter, but was number 17 in strike rate. Andre Russell did not score too many in this list, but he was a cut above all in speed of scoring. Then, there were David Warner, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle, who balanced all three metrics the best.




The graphic breaks down the performance of the top 25 wicket-takers: on overs bowled (size of bubble), wickets taken (Y axis), runs conceded per over (X axis) and team played for (colour of bubble). Chennai, the table toppers and eventual runner-up, had six players, ranging from the frugal (Ashwin) to the industrious wicket-takers (Nehra and Bravo). Among those who delivered above 40 overs, Mitchell Starc and Sandeep Sharma stood out for their economy. And Malinga was Malinga.





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