What is it? The number of airlines—Jet Airways and IndiGo—that have said they will not bid for Air India.
Why is it important? The Tata Group, which was considered to be a potential bidder for the national carrier, is reportedly likely to opt out of the race too. This is mainly because of the tough terms set by the government such as the winner cannot merge the airline with existing businesses till the former holds a stake in it. The winner is also required to list Air India and protect employee interests, which may hamper its ability to reduce workforce.
Tell me more: A forum of 10 Air India unions has alleged that potential bidders are using strong-arm tactics to get the government to sell the airline cheap and that they would take up this matter with the prime minister’s office and the civil aviation ministry.
What is it? The stake the world’s biggest oil producer, Saudi Aramco, will pick up in the proposed $44 billion refinery-cum-petrochemicals complex at Ratnagiri in Maharashtra.
Why is it important? This will be one of the biggest foreign investments in India’s hydrocarbon sector and the plant will be one of the largest refining and petrochemical complexes in the world. Aramco wants to tap into the increasing demand in the world’s third-largest oil consumer. For import-dependent India, this would ensure supply security.
Tell me more: The Indian consortium of IOC, HPCL and BPCL will hold 50% in the plant, which will process 1.2 million barrels of crude oil per day and 18 million tonnes per annum of petrochemical products.
What is it? The proposed year in which the first phase of simultaneous Lok Sabha and state assembly elections could be held, according to a draft report by the Law Commission. The second phase is recommended to be held in 2024.
Why is it important? This is a step forward in the idea first suggested by the Election Commission in 1983 and something which this government has been batting for in recent months. The draft report has proposed amending the Constitution and the Representation of People Act, 1951, to increase or decrease the length of terms of state legislative assemblies. It also suggests a no-confidence motion be followed by a confidence motion so that if the opposition is unable to muster the numbers to form government, the current rule is undisturbed.
Tell me more: That states proposed to come under Phase I are those where the state elections are due in 2021, and include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
What is it? The drop in investment by Chinese companies in the US in 2017. The total investment by Chinese companies fell from $46.5 billion in 2016 to $29.7 billion in 2017, though this is still the second-best year.
Why is it important? Although this drop comes in the backdrop of aggressive posturing and retaliatory action by both countries on the trade front, it precedes this current standoff. Last year, China tightened outbound investments over concerns that its biggest conglomerates might be stretching themselves.
Tell me more: Chinese investments in 2017 in US companies include Tesla, Airbnb, Grindr, TPG, Snapchat and Invista.
What is it? The minute in which Real Madrid were awarded a penalty—the third and final minute of stoppage time—in their Champions League match against Juventus late last night.
Why is it important? Ronaldo converted the hotly-contested penalty, and Madrid scraped through this quarter-final tie 4-3 on aggregate. It saved Real Madrid the blushes, who had till then conceded three goals to Juventus, levelling the two-leg tie at 3-3. For a while, it looked as if a Spanish footballing giant would blow a three-goal lead for the second day in succession.
Tell me more: Juventus goalkeeper Gigi Buffon was red carded for remonstrating against the penalty decision. It was Buffon’s 117th match in the Champions League, the most by any Italian player.