Crytocurrencies made headlines yet another week. The share price of Eastman Kodak—the 130-year-old company once synonymous with photos, and whose fortunes fell with the rise of digital cameras and smartphones—trebled during the week, before cooling off. This followed an announcement by Kodak to develop a new blockchain-based digital rights management platform for photographers. The platform, KodakOne, would let photographers publicly register their rights in digital photographs on an immutable blockchain. KodakCoin would be the currency used on that platform. Elsewhere, the price of cryptocurrency Ripple fell 37% in two days and famed investor Warren Buffett said he was near-certain that cryptocurrencies will “come to a bad ending".
2. India’s gender equity in higher education improves in 2016-17
India’s gender parity index (GPI)—the ratio of number of females to number of males (aged 18-23 years) in higher education and a measure of gender equity—increased from 0.92 in 2015-16 to 0.94 in 2016-17, according to the 8th All India Survey on Higher Education. Even in absolute terms, more students are enrolling for higher education. The gross enrolment ratio (GER), which is the number of students enrolled in a specific level of education expressed as a percentage of the total eligible students in the same level, has increased from 17.9 in 2010-11 to 24.5 in 2016-17 for women, and from 20.8 to 26 for men.
3. World Bank ranks India at number 3 in 2018 GDP growth
The World Bank ranked India at number three, out of 132 developing countries, on forecasted GDP growth in fiscal 2018. The bank projected India to grow at 7.3% in 2018, a growth rate next only to two significantly-smaller African nations, Ghana and Ethiopia. Among larger peers, China was ranked 15 (6.4% growth in 2018), Brazil at 117 (2%) and Russia at 123 (1.7%). The Bank projected the world economy to grow at 3.1% in 2018.
4. Reliance Jio first in subscriber additions, Reliance Communications last
November was a contrasting month for the Ambani brothers in their respective telecom businesses. On the one hand, Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd added more net subscribers (6.1 million) than all other operators. On the other hand, brother Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications Ltd, which is now in salvage mode, lost more net subscribers (25.8 million) than all other operators. Other leading operators—Bharti, Idea and Vodafone—also saw net subscriber additions.
5. Boeing records highest-ever plane deliveries in 2017
US commercial aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co. reported that it delivered 763 jets to customers in 2017, beating its previous record of 762 aircraft in 2015. It also booked orders for 912 planes, taking its current order book to 5,864 planes, which is about seven years of production. Of its 2017 deliveries, as many as 529 were for the Boeing 737. Among customers, Southwest Airlines led with 52 deliveries, followed by Ryanair with 50.
6. Barcelona buy Philippe Coutinho in second-highest transfer
After nearly six months of wrangling and three failed bids, Brazilian footballer Philippe Coutinho has completed a transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona. The deal is reportedly worth £142 million, making it the second-most expensive transfer in football, after his Brazilian teammate Neymar’s move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2017. Barcelona also have the third-most expensive signing, in Ousmane Dembele. According to a piece posted on Guardian Football blog, Coutinho, a midfielder, averages 0.88 goals plus assists per 90 minutes. Among footballers from five leading leagues, he is ranked 31 on this metric, which is led by his new teammate Lionel Messi.
7. Rabada is top-ranked Test match bowler
South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada has displaced James Anderson as the number one ranked Test bowler in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Test Bowling Rankings. The 22-year-old took five wickets in the recently-concluded first test against India at Cape Town, while Anderson ended with only one wicket in the final Ashes Test. Rabada is the seventh South Africa bowler to top these rankings, after Aubrey Faulkner, Hugh Tayfield, Peter Pollock, Shaun Pollock, Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander. Philander, man of the match in the Cape Town test, rose from 12 to 6 in the bowler rankings.
8. The Shape of Water leads Bafta nominations
The Shape of Water leads the nominations in this year’s British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) film awards, the British equivalent of the Oscars. Guillermo del Toro's science-fiction romance was in the race for 12 Baftas, followed by Darkest Hour and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, both of which received nine nominations. The award ceremony will take place on 18 February at London's Royal Albert Hall, and will be hosted by Joanna Lumley, who replaces Stephen Fry.
9. New housing launches fell 41% in 2017
The year 2017 was a poor one for the residential housing sector across eight main cities, according to a report released by Knight Frank India. New launches of housing units fell 41% and sales 7%. But since sales exceeded launches, the unsold houses in these eight cities fell by 19%. Launches were even below the demonetisation-affected second half of 2016. At 84%, Hyderabad recorded the largest steepest fall in launches, followed by Pune (58%), Bengaluru (37%) and Chennai (33%). The unsold inventory in these eight cities stood at 528,000 houses and will take 11.2 quarters to sell, according to the research.
10. TCS net profit falls 3.6% on a year-on-year basis
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Ltd, India’s largest software services exporter, posted a year-on-year decline of 3.6% in net profit to Rs6,531 crore in the October-December quarter of 2017-18, though this was up 1.3% on a sequential quarter basis. The dip is mainly due to a decline in spending by BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance) clients. With the exception of BFSI and retail, all verticals grew above 9.5% on an annual basis, and TCS also won a $2.25 billion contract over nine years (the biggest by an Indian firm) from Nielsen. In the latest quarter, TCS saw a gross addition of 12,534 employees, taking its total headcount to 390,880.
Graphics by Prajakta Patil
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