What is it? The decline in subscriber base of Reliance Communications in the five-year period between March 2011 and March 2016, according to figures from the telecom regulator.
Why is it important? The Anil Ambani-owned entity was the only one among the main telecom companies to lose subscribers. On Wednesday, Reliance and Aircel, India’s fourth-largest and sixth-largest telecom companies, respectively, by subscribers announced a merger to create the third-largest company by subscribers. Both companies are challenged on many fronts, and there remain questions on the alliance details.
Tell me more: During the same five-year period, Aircel grew its subscriber base by 58%. Similar growth was registered by the market leaders: Bharti (52%), Vodafone (47%) and Idea (95%).
What is it? The development aid India has offered Afghanistan during the two-day visit of Afghan president Ashraf Ghani.
Why is it important? It reflects the changing dynamics between India and Afghanistan. Even last year, Afghanistan was seen as being too close to Pakistan for India’s comfort. This year, it is changing. While the aid is towards Afghanistan’s education, health, agriculture and other sectors, the two countries also agreed to strengthen “security and defence cooperation".
Tell me more: In May, India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a deal to develop a port in Iran that will let the three countries trade directly bypassing Pakistan.
What is it? The amount German drug and chemicals major Bayer will pay to buy American seed company Monsanto.
Why is it important? This is the largest-ever cash acquisition on record. The merged entity would be the largest supplier of seeds and pesticides. Bayer has been gradually increasing its offer to buy Monsanto, in a sector that has been consolidating over the last several years. The resulting industry structure will impact farm and food systems across the world.
Tell me more: The merger is also expected to come under significant regulatory and legal scrutiny, both in the US and Europe.
What is it? The number of stars catalogued in a map released by the European Space Agency (ESA).
Why is it important? This is the most detailed 3D map yet of Milky Way galaxy, and gives the precise positions and brightness of 1.142 billion stars, besides distances and motions of more than 2 million stars. It could “revolutionise our understanding of how stars are distributed and move across our Galaxy", according to Alvaro Giménez, ESA’s Director of Science.
Tell me more: The data is from ESA’s Gaia spacecraft—a space observatory which began its mission in December 2013, and is located about 1 million miles above Earth.
What is it? The number of doubles matches won by Leander Paes of India in Davis Cup, the world team format in men’s tennis.
Why is it important? Paes is one victory short of matching the all-time record of 42 doubles wins in Davis Cup by Nicola Pietrangeli of Italy. It’s, however, unlikely to come this weekend, when India takes on Spain, one of the world’s best all-round teams.
Tell me more: Nicola Pietrangeli’s doubles record was set over 66 Davis Cup ties, and included 12 losses. By comparison, Paes’s doubles compilation has been over 52 ties and includes 11 losses.
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