Bezos, Amazon and Blue Origin

6%

What is it? The new, increased reverse repo rate fixed by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday.

Why is it important? This was a surprise move as the RBI was expected to keep rates unchanged at the review. Even though the key rate of repo (the rate at which the central bank lends to banks against government securities) was not changed, the tinkering of the reverse repo by 25 basis points would still affect liquidity. This would incentivise banks to deposit more with the RBI as they would earn higher interest income from such deposits.

Tell me more: This points to the RBI’ concern of an increase in inflation.

 

$1 billion

What is it? The worth of Amazon.com’s stock that founder Jeff Bezos sells annually to fund his other project — the private space rocket company, Blue Origin.

Why is it important? The funding comes from Bezos’ personal stock-holding in Amazon, which made him the second-richest person in the world late last month. Bezos has a networth of $77.3 billion, largely due to his stock-holding. While in 2015, he held 83.43 million shares of the company, it has reduced through stake sale through the years to 81.91 million in 2016 and at 80.89 million shares in 2017. With the funding, Blue Origin is inching closer to the goal of launching passenger space trips, lasting 11 minutes from 2018.

Tell me more: Blue Origin, like Elon Musk’s SpaceX, is working on reusable rockets for affordable space flights.

 

5.7%

What is it? The growth forecast rate for 2017 of ‘developing Asia’, comprising 45 countries who are members of the Asian Development Bank.

Why is it important? This year and the next would see the slowest growth at 5.7% since 5% growth in 2001. The Asian Development Bank kept its forecast muted as China’s economic indicators  could get revised downwards and uncertainty in global policies take root.

Tell me more: The region had grown at 5.8% in 2016. While China is forecast to clock 6.5% in 2017, less than 6.7% in 2016, India is expected to grow at 7.4% in 2017, higher than 7.1% in 2016.

 

$2 billion

What is it? The value of defence deals signed between India and Israel on Thursday.

Why is it important? This is for the supply of advanced medium range surface-to-air missile systems. The technology was developed by by Israel Aerospace Industries and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation, along with a few other players, signalling the strengthening relationship between India and Israel..

Tell me more: This comes three months ahead of Modi’s visit to Israel. Modi will be the first Indian prime minister to visit the country, and marks a change in India’s diplomatic relationship with the state.

 

$8.4 million

What is it? Grants to four Indian non-profits from Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm.

Why is it important? The grants will help these organisations – Learning Equality, Million Sparks Foundation, Pratham Books StoryWeaver and Pratham Education Foundation – develop technology-based learning solutions. As India struggles to raise the standards of its school education, tech-based solutions could help in the process. Annual Status of Education Reports have painted a dismal picture of education outcomes.

Tell me more: The projects include a technology platform for translating books, hybrid learning programmes, digital content platforms and offline digital content for students.

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News in Numbers, Feb 03, 2017: 2G scam’s half a dozen

6

What is it? Number of those acquitted, including erstwhile telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran and two companies, in two different cases on the Aircel-Maxis 2G deal, by judge, OP Saini, at the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in Delhi on Thursday.

Why is it important? The efforts of the CBI and Enforcement Directorate, probing the wide-ranging offences in India’s 2G scam, took a beating with the exoneration. Maran was mired in the controversial spectrum allocation, favouring Aircel, and brokering a deal in Aircel for Maxis since 2010 onwards. In one of the cases, there was an alleged money-laundering of Rs 742.58 crore in kickbacks, by two companies South Asia FM and Sun Direct TV. The other involved criminal conspiracy of pressurising one of Aircel’s promoters to sell his stake to Malaysian Maxis Group.

Tell me more: The others acquitted include Maran’s brother Kalanithi, Kalanithi’s wife Kavery Kalanithi, South Asia FM (SAFL) Managing Director K Shanmugam and the companies SAFL and Sun Direct TV.

 

5

What is it? Number of states in the US where federal judges have objected, in part, to president Donald Trump’s executive orders for restricting entry to people of seven nationalities and refugees.

Why is it important? Trump’s move is not only inviting widespread protests but also facing legal challenges by federal judges in the country. Most of them are taking up parts of the order as challenged by cases brought to them by affected parties. US District Judge Andre Birotte Jr followed four other instances to limit the order issued last Friday to bring relief to plaintiffs in a case. But he widened the sphere of his ruling by including anyone from the seven countries with a valid immigrant visa to the US, unlike the earlier rulings

Tell me more: Reports claim that immigration/customs officials were ignoring the judges’ earlier orders by refusing access to the detainees who had moved court. At the same time, the Trump administration tweaked their’s to allow green card or valid US permanent residence holders to enter, irrespective of nationality.

 

10

What is it? Number of warheads on China’s recently-tested long-range missile.

Why is it important? A flight-test in January is being seen as China flexing its military muscles, even though its nuclear stockpile might be smaller than United State’s traditional rival, Russia. The missile, DF-5C, is clear evidence of China increasing its nuclear arsenal. Its warhead count has likely gone up from the estimated 250. Not just over trade relations with the US, China has also had recent disagreements over its military activities in the South China Sea.

Tell me more: Chinese state television had broadcast another nuclear missile, DF-41’s deployment and strike path into the US last week.

 

$487 million

What is it? Amazon.com’s international losses in the fourth quarter, ended December 31.

Why is it important? It increased by four times year-on-year. The business arm, which includes Amazon’s India concerns, grew 18% to $ 13,965 million but could not keep losses at bay. Last month, Amazon India’s FY15 losses were found to be Rs 1,724 crore, rising by five times. The perseverance of the US-based e-commerce company goes to show its deep pockets as it is prepared to dig its heels in a promising market by advertising and discounting aggressively.

Tell me more: While its North America and cloud Amazon Web Services arms posted profits, this was its international business’ biggest operating loss. In many of its international markets, Amazon also offered its Prime Videos at no additional cost to its Prime members, streaming original content that it had produced.

 

Rs 1,085

What is it? The listing price of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on rival bourse, the National Stock Exchange, on Friday.

Why is it important? The shares listed at a premium of 34.6% of its IPO issue price of Rs 806. Investor faith in the stock of the world’s 10th-largest and India’s largest bourse gets reiterated by its debut, as it beats the 5-15% premium that analysts expected it to launch at. It reflects the 51.22 times oversubscription of its IPO in January.

Tell me more:  At 10:30 am, it was trading at Rs 1,119.50.

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