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US defeats Russia in key UN battle
Also in today’s edition: Amazon goes remote; IMAX jumps into the stream; Footy’s season of injuries; India’s taxmen bay for more
Good morning! How nightmarish is Bengaluru’s traffic? Enough for helicopters to double up as taxis. The Indian Express reports that intra-city air mobility company BLADE India will launch five-seater copter flights between the far-flung Kempegowda International Airport and HAL Airport, which is in city limits. The hours-long journey can be whittled down to 15 minutes if you have ₹3,250 (plus taxes) to spare. Not a bad deal considering the average Uber trip to the airport can go up to ₹2,000 on bad days.
The Market Signal*
Stocks: The UK’s economic woes, the US dollar’s strength, and a deepening energy crisis in Europe as winter approaches are making investors jittery. The Bank of England’s move to buy long-term bonds is said to be to avoid a collapse of some pension funds that collectively have risky positions of ~£1.5 trillion. Them folding could trigger a crisis similar to 2008-09. Here is an excellent thread that explains it.
Early Asia: The SGX Nifty declined (-0.22%) at 7.30 am India time. The Hang Seng Index (-0.12%) and Nikkei 225 (-1.52%) also dragged.
I am going to try to explain why the Bank of England has gone into the market to buy up to £65bn of UK government bonds with maturities of 20 years or more, including £1bn today. It all stems from a dramatic collapse in the price of these government bonds, called gilts, a...
Sep 28, 2022
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Revenue Agents Ridge The Tax Bike
As if the looming spectre of regulation wasn’t enough, the Income Tax department is coming for India’s nascent but fast-growing online gaming sector. Seven portals and 36 players received show-cause notices for evading ₹28,000 crore ($3.4 billion) in taxes, much of which had to do with ambiguity over TDS provisions for gaming.
Crackdowns: Earlier this month, online gaming firm Gameskraft Technology was slapped with a ₹21,000 crore ($2.5 billion) tax notice from the Directorate General of GST Intelligence. Major players such as Nazara Technologies, which operates Sportskeeda and NODWIN Gaming, saw stocks dip after Tamil Nadu passed an ordinance banning online betting games.
Gaming aside: Taxmen are also going after angel investors. About four months ago, market regulator SEBI had directed alternative investment funds to share details about investors and funding sources.
Amazon Goes From Flipping Properties to WFH
Not even the online retail juggernaut is immune to economic ebbs. Bloomberg reports that Amazon may shutter most US call centres and shift customer service reps to remote work. This will help Amazon save on real estate and also retain employees in a high-turnover sector by offering flexibility.
Flashback: In June, we’d told you how Amazon had bought swathes of land to build more fulfilment centres. The idea was to deliver faster to customers during the pandemic-induced ecommerce boom; more importantly, owning brick-and-mortar assets was a leaf out of competitor Walmart’s playbook.
But post-pandemic ecommerce sales have dwindled, meaning Amazon may have saddled itself with excess property. Perhaps being a landlord is an option?
PS: Amazon is raising hourly pay and offering perks to staff in the run-up to holiday season.
Football Injuries Are Painful And Costly
Why are football managers complaining about cramped schedules? As per a recent study, injuries in Europe's top five leagues increased by 20% last season and cost the clubs more than £500 million. And for the deep dive, we discuss Google's strategy for luring Gen Z with endless scrolling. On September 28, Google unveiled a slew of new features in an effort to reinvent itself, ranging from visual searches to interactive maps.
The Battle Over The Future Of The Internet
There’s a good chance you haven’t heard of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). It’s not Unesco or Unicef, but a United Nations body nonetheless—one that attracted extraordinary attention in the run-up to electing its Secretary-General in Bucharest, Romania. A Russian and an American were locked in the race to succeed its current Chinese secretary-general, Houlin Zhao.
Who won?: The American. Doreen Bogdan-Martin, a career telecom specialist and an ITU veteran for the last 28 years, routed Russia’s former digital minister Rashid Ismailov 139-25 on Thursday. Bogdan-Martin is also one of ITU’s three directors.
Also: Bogdan-Martin is now the first female Secretary-General of the ITU, a big deal given that the organisation predates the formation of the UN. It was set up in 1865 as the International Telegraph Union.
The ITU is where information and communication technology (ICT) standards are discussed, debated, and set. This massive scope includes the internet and technologies such as 5G.
The election was considered consequential not least because of the geopolitical backdrop it was contested against, but also since the future of the open and interoperable internet was at stake. Russia has not merely been advocating, but leaning towards a form of the “splinternet”, much like the Chinese internet today. Throughout his two terms, outgoing Secretary-General Houlin Zhao was believed to have increased China’s hold in the organisation.
IMAX Wants To Get Into Your Home
The big-screen company wants to join the streaming party. Mostly as a spectator. IMAX has acquired SSIMWAVE, a Canadian tech startup that uses AI to offer high-fidelity video across devices.
Why tho?: IMAX’s clients include Disney, Paramount, and Warner Bros. Discovery, which rely on the platform for upgrading on-demand and live visual imagery. IMAX is going all out: the streaming tech can work its magic across film, television, gaming, VI, and the metaverse. It wants to improve the viewing experience across platforms.
Outcome: This revenue stream comes on the back of its previous cross-platform expansion, such as IMAX Enhanced and Imax AI, which also work with video. Everyone's watching.
This development also means prospective clients could land up for a one-time broadcast.
Football's Growing Pains
The next time you see a manager whine about fixture congestion, spare a thought. There’s proof that football players are getting injured more frequently across Europe’s top five leagues.
Research by insurance broker Howden revealed that the number of injuries to footballers across Europe’s top divisions increased by 20% last season compared with a year prior. These injuries have cost clubs a total of $547 million. Premier League clubs suffered the most injuries (1,231), led by Chelsea (97).
European clubs dealt with a lot of fixture congestion over the last couple of seasons due to postponements caused by the pandemic. It’s not likely to get any better this season, with the World Cup moved to November-December.
Meanwhile: Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin’s majority owner Lars Windhorst reportedly used corporate spies to oust former president Werner Gegenbauer.
Bought: IT major HCL has acquired a majority stake in GUVI—the edtech platform that teaches coding in vernacular languages—for an undisclosed sum.
It’s official: Refinitiv data reveals that 2022 has been the worst year for global tech IPOs since the 2008 financial crisis.
Landmark judgement: The Supreme Court ruled that all Indian women, married or not, are entitled to legal abortions until 24 weeks of pregnancy; it also expanded the definition of ‘rape’ to marital rape for the purpose of abortion.
Coming soon: The Personal Data Protection Bill will be presented before the winter session of Parliament.
Delayed: India has deferred the mandatory six-airbags rule for cars by a year owing to supply chain issues and the “macroeconomic scenario”.
Master switch: Electric planes are now a reality. Alice, the first EV passenger carrier, took to the skies for eight minutes in its maiden flight. The aircraft can accommodate nine passengers and fly for about one to two hours. Alice will be ready for commercial service by 2027. Will this change the way we fly?
Replica: Looks like Google's so unsettled about being uncrowned as a popular search engine that it's doing a copypasta with videos et all. It intends to show videos straight from TikTok (and YouTube Shorts). Ah well, if you can't beat them...
New craze: Basketball star LeBron James loves pickleball; so much so that he’s buying a team in Major League Pickleball. Draymond Green and Kevin Love also joined the bandwagon. Thanks to interest from star investors, the league is growing at a fast pace and expanding from 12 to 16 teams.
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