1. Facebook says data compromise may exceed 50 million users
Facebook data of up to 87 million people may have been improperly shared with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer said in a blog post published on Wednesday. This is 37 million more than was previously reported in the media. Of the 87 million accounts, 70.63 million were in the US and 0.56 million were in India. Facebook also admitted a feature that allowed users to search by email or phone numbers could have been misused by entities scraping data to gather information on most of its 2 billion users.
2. Skymet predicts normal monsoon for India this year
In what augurs well for farmers, Skymet Weather, a private weather forecasting agency, has said that India is likely to have a normal monsoon in the June-September period this year. It said the monsoon is likely to remain normal at 100% (with an error margin of plus or minus 5%) of the long-period average of 887 mm during this four-month period. There is a 55% chance of normal rainfall and 20% chance each of above-normal and below-normal rainfall this monsoon. The agency also said there was no possibility of a nationwide drought or deficient rainfall.
3. Petrol at 4-year high, diesel at all-time high
Petrol prices rose to Rs73.95 per litre in Delhi on Saturday, the highest since 1 April 2014, when it was 72.26. Diesel prices also continue to show an upward trend, with prices hitting Rs64.85 per litre in Delhi, the highest ever. In the 293 days since 16 June 2017, when the government allowed oil companies to revise prices daily, petrol prices have increased on 174 days—or three out of every five days. They were unchanged on 39 days and fell on 80 days. During this period, the price of petrol has increased 12.3%.
4. Failure rate of iris scan higher than fingerprint scans
There was a failure rate of 6% in fingerprint scans and 8.5% in iris scans for authenticating Aadhaar, the Unique Identification Authority of India, which is in charge of the Aadhaar ecosystem, told the Supreme Court in a filing. An iris scan is explored as an additional option to authenticate Aadhaar when a fingerprint scan doesn’t work. The significant failure rates underscore the need to have exception-handling mechanisms when Aadhaar is used to give government services or benefits.
5. Star retains media rights for Indian cricket
Star India on Thursday bagged the media rights for Indian cricket from 2018 to 2023 for $944 million. That works out to about $189 million a year, which is a 51.2% jump from the $125 million per year that Star paid for the same rights for the period from 2012 to 2018. Star has a virtual monopoly in the Indian cricket broadcasting space, after having clinched the IPL rights for Rs16,347 crore for the period 2018 to 2022. It also jointly owns the audio-visual broadcast rights with Star Middle East for ICC tournaments for the period 2015 to 2023.
6. IndiGo not to bid for Air India in current form
Domestic aviation leader IndiGo has released a statement saying it would not bid for state-run Air India under the current sale terms. IndiGo said it was primarily interested in Air India’s international operations and would not be able to absorb the entire domestic piece of Air India. IndiGo’s withdrawal is a setback to Air India’s sale, as it was one of the stronger airlines in the race. The day IndiGo made this announcement, its stock price gained 4.4%. The last date for submission of expression of interest for Air India is 14 May and the government hopes to announce the winning bid by 28 May.
7. India highway contract awards and construction at new high
The Indian government spent a record Rs1,16,324 crore ($18 billion) on the construction of highways in 2017-18, according to an official statement. Last fiscal, the government awarded road projects of 17,055 km, an increase of 7% from the previous year. It said it constructed 9,829 km of roads, an annual growth of 20%.
8. IISc Bangalore best higher education institution in India again
The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, topped the ministry of human resources’ annual national ranking of higher education institutes for the third year in a row. Six Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) featured in the top ten, led by the one in Chennai, while Jawaharlal Nehru University, Banaras Hindu University and Anna University occupied the other three slots. Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, was the top management institute; IISc the top university; and Miranda House the top college.
9. PE investments decline 49% in Q1 of 2018
Private equity (PE) firms invested $3.7 billion across 133 deals in the first quarter of calendar 2018, according to Venture Intelligence. This is a drop in both value and volume terms over the corresponding period a year ago: $7.3 billion across 200 deals. Softbank—which dominated the PE space in 2017, with deals in Flipkart, Paytm, Ola and Oyo—did not figure among the top 10 deals in the first quarter of calendar 2018.
10. Manufacturing activity in March at five-month low: survey
The Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, which represents India’s factory activity, slipped to 51 in March from 52.1 in February, the lowest in five months. An index reading above 50 indicates expansion and below 50 indicates contraction. The growth of both output and new orders fell to the lowest since October, which reflects “weaker gains in new businesses" and “a decline in employment for the first time in eight months". Meanwhile, the Nikkei India Services Business Activity Index increased to 50.3 in March, recovering from a six-month low in February (47.8), on the back of improved demand.
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