What is it? The annual cost of various allowances paid to central government employees and pensioners as approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday.
Why is it important? The approved sum is nearly 5% more than the estimates of the 7th Pay Commission in 2016, at Rs29,300 crore for allowances. The total financial impact, including salaries, had been estimated at Rs102,100 crore then.
Tell me more: It was approved after the Committee on Allowances, headed by Ashok Lavasa, submitted its report in April this year.
What is it? The amount of debt on the books of Air India. The Indian government decided on Wednesday to privatize the state-owned national carrier.
Why is it important? The debt ($8 billion) makes its equity valuation zero or negative, and is the biggest hurdle to its sale. Of this, around Rs22,000 crore is a loan to purchase aircrafts. The committee is likely to hive off its assets and divest the profit-making subsidiaries.
Tell me more: Private carriers had a domestic market share of 87% in May 2017, with Air India’s share decreasing over time.
What is it? The number of countries, with a Muslim majority, whose resident must have a close family tie to a US resident or formal ties with a US entity to be eligible for a US visa.
Why is it important? The latest guidance from the US State Department comes after the US Supreme Court on Monday said the controversial travel ban cannot be imposed on anyone who has “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States". The apex court allowed parts of the travel ban, earlier blocked by lower courts, while it reviews the rest of the order by the Donald Trump administration.
Tell me more: The US Supreme Court will review the full order in autumn.
What is it? The age of the iPhone, Apple Inc.’s flagship device, launched on 29 June 2007.
Why is it important? The smartphone, with seven versions so far, has sold more than a billion times since launch. The anniversary brings into focus the future of the gadget as in 2016, Apple saw the volumes of the iPhone take a beating, which slid further in 2017.
Tell me more: In the second quarter of 2017, despite declining volumes, the iPhone brought in more revenue: $53.25 billion from 50.76 million phones compared to the year before sales of 51.19 million phones for $32.86 billion.
What is it? The number of people invited from 57 countries to join the group choosing the annual Oscars, the most popular movie awards.
Why is it important? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which conducts the Oscars says the group of 2017 comprises 39% female and 30% coloured invitees. The Academy had come under fire for leaning heavily on white male membership in its awards panel, reflected in its choice of nominees and awards. The criticism of the lack of racial diversity reached a crescendo in 2016, with the #OscarsSoWhite discussion.
Tell me more: Indian actor Priyanka Chopra, recognised for her lead turn in Quantico, a US TV show, is among the invitees.
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