U.S. Started It. Europe Is Now Responding.



10 pages

What is it? The number of pages in a list of items released by the European Union on Friday of potential items on which it could slap retaliatory duties on shipments from the US.

Why is it important? The move comes about 10 days after the Donald Trump administration slapped new duties on steel and aluminium coming into the US from all countries except Canada and Mexico, while allowing for case-by-case exemptions. It triggered fears of retaliatory action by other countries against the US move and the eruption of trade wars, something which is likely to come up in an informal meeting of WTO countries in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Tell me more: In calendar 2017, Germany accounted for 4% of US steel imports and was ranked number eight among countries.



What is it? The likely inflation in airfares in April and May due to the interim reduction in fleets of IndiGo and GoAir, according to Sharat Dhall, chief operating office of travel website Yatra.com.

Why is it important? The aircraft in question is A320Neo, with a certain configuration of Pratt & Whitney engines. On Sunday, IndiGo “proactively” withdrew another A320Neo aircraft citing engine issues, despite it not being among those listed by the aviation regulator for grounding.

Tell me more: IndiGo and GoAir have cancelled flights on 41 routes. On most affected trunk routes, the reduction in capacity is below 10%. But on smaller routes, the capacity impact is more pronounced.


$450 million

What is it? The amount that Match Group, which owns the dating app Tinder, reportedly previously offered to buy Bumble, a rival dating app that lets only women make the first move.

Why is it important? On Friday, Tinder’s parent company sued Bumble, alleging patent infringement and stealing secrets. The two companies have always had a fractitious relationship. Bumble was set up in 2014 by Whitney Wolfe Herd, who left Tinder after alleging sexual harassment and discrimination, a case that was eventually settled out of court for $1 million.

Tell me more: Bumble has about 22 million registered users, against Tinder’s 46 million, but is growing faster.



What is it? The number of British diplomats expelled by Russia on Saturday, in a tit-for-tat move.

Why is it important? On March 14, the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats after blaming the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy and her daughter by a nerve agent on Russia. This is reportedly the first time a nerve agent was used since World War-II, a move that was condemned by prominent world leaders, who issued a statement backing the British government.

Tell me more: On Sunday, Russian president Vladimir Putin was elected for his fourth term. His next term runs till 2024, which will make him the first Kremlin leader since Josef Stalin to serve two decades in power.



What is it? The number of balls taken by Dinesh Karthik to score 29 runs in the final of the Nidahas T20 series against Bangladesh in Colombo yesterday.

Why is it important? Karthik’s blitzkrieg helped India past the line. When he walked into bat, India needed 34 runs of 12 balls. They needed 5 off the last ball, which Karthik smashed for a six to bring up the 20th last-ball finish in T20 internationals and India’s second.

Tell me more: Sri Lanka have the maximum last-ball wins in T20 internationals: four.


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News in Numbers, June 30, 2016: Terror attacks in India foiled, Grofers lays off 10% of staff…


What is it? The number of men who were arrested on suspicion of plotting a series of attacks across the country on behalf of the ISIS on Wednesday.

Why is it important? The team had reportedly planned bomb blasts in areas such as Charminar, an important government building and markets and malls. This is the third such action on ISIS collaborators since last year; in the first two instances, a total of 43 were arrested. One of the most dangerous terrorist organisations in the world, the ISIS had threatened to send fighters to conduct guerilla attacks in India a couple of months ago.

Tell me more: In the raids, the National Investigation Agency and the local police seized weapons, nitrate-based explosives, 40 mobile phones, a laptop, a pen drive, 32 sim cards and Rs 15 lakh in cash.

Rs 1.02 trillion

What is it? The amount that would be given as pay and pension increases to 10 million central government employees and pensioners after the Cabinet approved the Seventh Pay Commission on Wednesday.

Why is it important? This, along with the implementation of the One Rank One Pension scheme for ex-servicemen, is likely to boost savings and stimulate urban spending, especially in sectors such as automobiles, consumer durables and fast-moving consumer goods. The cumulative impact is estimated to be 0.63% of the GDP, according to Fitch’s India Ratings and Research chief economist. However, this may have an upward impact on inflation – retail inflation hit a 21-month high in May driven by food prices.

Tell me more: A report by the State Bank of India says this may impact the country’s fiscal deficit target in 2017-18. The employees and the pensioners would receive the hikes along with their August salaries and be paid with effect from January 1, 2016. The government will pay Rs 12,133 crore in arrears in the current financial year itself.



What is it? The share of monthly personal budget for consumer durables that’s spent on vehicles in India for domestic (as against enterprise) use, according to the latest government data.

Why is it important? Underlines the importance of automobiles and car ownership for urban and rural consumers, and therefore for the car companies, in India. Vehicles command the highest share even for enterprise use in both the urban and rural areas, accounting for an average of 80% of the monthly per capita expenditure.

Tell me more: The second highest expenditure was on jewellery across rural and urban India. Other items that Indians like to spend on are mobile phones, laptops, tablets, air-conditioners, geysers and coolers. In terms of services (excludes health and education), Indians spend the most on eating out followed by travelling.


150 – 200

What is it? The number of employees grocery-delivery startup Grofers has laid off. It’s about 10% of its total employees.

Why is it important? With this, Grofers joins a list of other hyperlocal startups such as Peppertap, Localbanya, Townrush, which have either downsized or shut down their operations earlier. Unicorns such as Flipkart and Paytm had tried their hand in this segment but pulled back, indicating that the business model for such hyperlocal startups has been tough to establish and sustain.

Tell me more: Grofers, which has raised about $165 million so far from investors such as Softbank, Tiger Global and Sequoia Capital, also revoked offers given to 67 students who were to join the startup in July. In January, Grofers had announced shutting down operations in nine cities and only four months before that, had expanded to 27 cities.


Rs 4,251

What is it? The average airfare to travel from Delhi to Chennai between June 29 and July 4 when booked on June 28, according to an analysis by Yatra.com for ET. Last year, the average airfare for the same route in the corresponding period was Rs 6,218.

Why is it important? Last minute booking is proving to be cheaper by up to 52% on various routes this year when compared to 2015. A 20% year-on-year decline in oil prices and an increase of 7-8% in passenger capacity are being attributed for the drop in fares, according to Yatra.com. The discounting could also be to achieve high passenger load factors.

Tell me more: In recent times, airlines, especially budget carriers, were seen decreasing air ticket prices but hiked cancellation charges by 50-100%.

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News in Numbers, May 23, 2016: Distressed asset sale deals, ISRO’s latest milestone…


What is it? The number of 10 million-people-plus megacities in 2015 compared with 14 in 1995.

Why is it important? Four out of five of them are in developing countries (Asia, Africa and Latin America), indicating that these regions would contribute increasingly to the global economy and attract global businesses. However, this also highlights the challenges these countries would face in tackling urban migration, pressure on infrastructure and the availability of resources.

Tell me more: As many as 49 metropolitan clusters are likely to account for 77% of incremental GDP from 2010 and 2015 in India. The country, which is implementing an ambitious programme to create 100 smart cities by 2022, has just 0.23 urban planners per 100,000 population and the municipal expenditure as a percentage of GDP is just 1.1% (compares very poorly with the other BRICS nations, and OECD countries).



What is it? The average percentage of tickets Jet Airways sold in the highest fare bucket across the 20 busiest domestic routes in April, according to Directorate-General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) first monthly report aimed at checking soaring airfare prices.

Why is it important? Its competitors – Indigo, Spicejet and GoAir – did not sell a single ticket in the highest fare bucket in many of the 20 domestic routes. Some Parliamentarians had raised the issue of high airfares despite low fuel prices, and also the surge in prices during certain events (such as the Jat agitation in Haryana) and natural calamities. The first set of data do not support the lawmakers’ concerns on this issue, though it would be monitored every month to see if it justifies to impose a cap on airfares.

Tell me more: The DGCA will hold consultation talks with the airlines to discuss a cap on airfares. The Ministry of Civil Aviation has proposed the levying of a 2% fee on all domestic and international commercial flights in order to cross-subsidise air tickets on non-metro routes and bring it down to around Rs 2,500 per flying hour.



What is it? The number of asset sale deals announced by the top 10 most indebted business houses (as profiled by Credit Suisse last year) since April 2015.

Why is it important? Of these, only six deals have been completed. Of these six, the total value of four deals (for which information is available) is Rs 2,546 crore,  a mere 3% of the total value (Rs 82,343 crore) of the 33 deals. Indicates that companies are struggling to find buyers for their assets. Some may not be willing to mark down the value of their assets to reflect the actual market value, betting that the market may improve, prompting them to either delay the sale of assets or not sell at all.

Tell me more: As many as 14 deals are pending, nine of which account for Rs 48,910 crore. Another 12 are in the proposal stage, of which seven are worth Rs 28,810 crore and one has been withdrawn.



What is it? The number of months the poor families in drought-hit Bundelkhand region will get free rice, wheat and coarse grain starting June 1.

Why is it important? Last week, Uttar Pradesh declared eight districts (seven of them in Bundelkhand) drought-hit – a much-delayed move, according to ruling Samajwadi Party’s political rivals. The region has seen at least 3,000 farmer suicides over the last five years. It also suffered continuous drought between 2003 and 2010, floods in 2011, late and deficit rainfall in 2012 and 2013 and drought in 2014.

Tell me more: The Uttar Pradesh government has sanctioned Rs 145 crore for rejuvenating 100 extinct ponds in the region. The farmers are being encouraged to cultivate oilseeds, especially sesame, and the government has increased subsidy on these crops.


70 km

What is it? The distance India’s indigenous version of a space shuttle travelled today, after which it descended into the Bay of Bengal.

Why is it important? This is the country’s first reusable space shuttle and its first step towards creating a full–fledged reusable rocket, which might take another 10-15 years. The use of a reusable launch vehicle would reduce the cost of space exploration and utilisation, besides providing on-demand space access.

Tell me more: The Indian Space Research Organisation declared the mission a success. It took about 10 minutes from lift-off to splash-down. The 6.5-metre long ‘aeroplane’-like structure weighs 1.75 tonnes and is almost six times smaller than the final version.

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How a potential SpiceJet grounding might affect the routes you fly

This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com


The size of the circle slice shows the approximate number of SpiceJet flights to and from that city. Click on the slice associated with a city to see its flights. Connections between two cities (the green lines) represent routes. Place your cursor at any point on a green line to see SpiceJet’s seat-capacity share, as well as the weekly seat capacity of all airlines on that route.



Source for data: Winter schedules approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation as on 26 October 2014. Seat capacity for all airlines has been computed based on the flight plans outlined by them in the winter schedule and the aircraft in their fleet.

Chart 1: In its last full-flying plan, SpiceJet intended to service 241 routes between 39 cities. In about 80% of the routes, SpiceJet’s share of seat capacity was above 20%. The impact of any closure of this beleaguered airline on seat availability and airfares will be felt less on trunk routes and more on regional routes, some of which are serviced only by SpiceJet.

Chart 2: On as many as 21 routes, mostly to or from smaller cities and towns in the South, only SpiceJet was offering a direct flight.

Chart 3: SpiceJet’s weekly seat-capacity share was above 25% on 74 direct flights that it expressed an intention to fly in its last full schedule (dated 26 October). On as many as 39 of these 74 routes, the player with the largest or second-largest capacity, SpiceJet included, was IndiGo. And, on 14 of these 39 routes, IndiGo was the only other airline. Jet Airways (India) Ltd is the next biggest likely gainer, after IndiGo, on account of SpiceJet’s ongoing troubles.

According to Kapil Kaul, CEO, South Asia, Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, the challenges for other airlines to fill voids left by SpiceJet are of an operational nature and not regulatory ones. “It’s very difficult to increase capacity at short notice given challenges in finding the right aircraft with matching specifications to their existing fleet,” he says. “More importantly, except IndiGo, all other airlines are struggling and I see no merit in their expansion.”

Since the busy period of the winter holidays is behind us now, the impact of any SpiceJet curtailment or collapse will be relatively less pronounced. Broadly, the impact on airfares can be broken into two buckets: metros and regional routes. “It would be felt more acutely in tier II and tier III sectors. How soon others can cope up, nobody knows,” says a senior industry official of a South-based airline who was previously with SpiceJet, requesting anonymity. “There are a lot of players who are coming in with smaller aircraft, but none of them have been cleared to fly. There are about 14 airlines with NoCs (no-objection certificates). For them to get aircraft and obtain permits, that is not going to happen overnight.”









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