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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News in Numbers, Jan 19, 2017: Regional routes take flight

45

 

What is it? Number of initial proposals for operating flights with fares capped at Rs 2,500 for an hour under the Airports Authority of India’s Regional Connectivity Scheme (named UDAN)

Why is it important? The bidders propose to operate from 65 airports, out of which 52 are not served by any airlines, boosting regional air connectivity. But operating on the 200 regional routeswould also mean low pre-mandated airfares, for example, a fare of Rs 2,500 for an hour’s journey of 500-km. Central and state governments will then help operators with viability gap funding, partly funded bythe Rs 8,500-levy on each departing flight on major routes.

Tell me more: The initial quotes are subject to counter quotes, with the lowest requirement for VGF winning the bid. Groundwork by the Ministry of Civil Aviation with AAI, State Governments, DGCA and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security have begun.

 

Rs 9.2 trillion

 

What is it? The value of new currency notes injected by the Reserve Bank of India to replace old banned notes.
Why is it important? Despite RBI pumping in nearly 60% of the amount removed (Rs 15.44 trillion) from circulation following demonetisation, there is no sight of the end to cash-withdrawal restrictions. RBI governor, Urjit Patel, facing a parliamentary panel on finance, did not elaborate on either the easing of the cash crunch or the amount of banned notes deposited.

Tell me more: Patel assured the panel that RBI would provide details of deposits of banned notes on a later date.

 

47.8%

 

What is it? The percentage of rural school students in class 5 who are able to read a book prescribed for class 2 learning.

Why is it important? The learning level in schools in rural India remains dismal as less than half of class 5 students can read books meant for three standards lower (class 2). The proportion has deteriorated from 2014’s 48% and 2010’s 53.7% of students, despite 97% enrollment in schools.

Tell me more: Class 5 students in private rural schools fared better with 62.9% of them above to read class 2 books, while only 41.6% from government schools made the cut in 2016. The findings are from the 11th Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), conducted in 589 districts, and previously published in 2014.

 

0.94 degree-Celsius

 

What is it? The above-normal deviation in average land and ocean temperature in the whole of 2016.

Why is it important? It establishes 2016 as the hottest year so far, a dire reminder of climate change that is plaguing the planet. Temperatures spiked to new national highs in India, Kuwait and Iran and Arctic ice melted faster than ever as a result of the global warming.

Tell me more: The year broke the record for the hottest ever, third year in a row since records were kept from 1880.

 

7.05 million

 

What is it? Netflix’s net subscriber addition in the fourth quarter of 2016 (ended December 31).

Why is it important? The robust growth in subscribers signal Netflix’s ambitious global expansion is bearing fruit, as Internet TV catches on. Nearly 73% (5.12 million) of the additions came from markets outside the US. Netflix which made a big-bang launch in 130 countries simultaneously in January, 2016, saw its shares rise up by 8 per cent after its results.

Tell me more: Competition is snapping at Netflix’s heels as Amazon.com unveils its Amazon Prime Video service worldwide.

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