Previous123456789...7778Next

Petrol, diesel prices steady as global oil softens


Petrol, diesel prices steady as global oil softens

Oil marketing companies (OMCs) on Monday continued on the pause mode and decided against revising petrol and diesel prices after cutting its retail rates last week on Tuesday.

Accordingly, pump prices of petrol and diesel remained at previous days level of Rs 90.56 and Rs 80.87 a litre respectively in the national capital. This is the sixth consecutive day when fuel prices have remained unchanged.

Petrol and diesel fell by 22 paise and 23 paise per litre respectively last week on Tuesday in the wake global softening of oil prices. OMCs have decided to pause price revision as they want to watch the crude price movement that has now fallen to around $64 a barrel from remaining above this level in much of the last week.

Across the country as well the petrol and diesel prices remain static on Monday but its retail levels varied depending on the level of local levies in respective states.

In Mumbai petrol continues to be priced at Rs 96.98 a litre and diesel at Rs 87.96 a litre. Premium petrol, however, continues to remain over Rs 100 a litre in the city as is the case with several cities across the country.

The OMCs went on price cut for the first time this year on two consecutive days – March 24 and 25 after keeping oil prices steady for past 24 days. It again reduced the price on March 30.

Petrol and diesel prices were last revised upwards on February 27 and ever since the retail prices remained unchanged even though during the period crude jumped to over $70 a barrel only to start falling after touching close to $60 a barrel and is now slightly up at $63.5 a barrel. It was cut for the first time this year on March 24 and 25 before revision being put on hold again.

Sources said that oil companies took time to revise petrol and diesel prices downwards earlier as they were covering up for losses incurred on its sale when crude was high and retail prices remained static. Some indications suggest that there was a loss of Rs 4 and Rs 2 per litre on sale of diesel and petrol respectively earlier that had now been more or less covered.

The current reduction in retail prices has not helped in bringing down fuel prices that have crossed Rs 100 per litre (petrol) mark in several parts of the country and continues to remain above the levels even now.

Since the beginning of February crude has gained more than $7 per barrel that pushed OMCs to increase fuel prices on 14 occasions raising the prices by Rs 4.22 per litre for petrol and by Rs 4.34 a litre for diesel in Delhi.

The petrol and diesel prices have increased 26 times in 2021 with the two auto fuels increasing by Rs 7.46 and Rs 7.60 per litre respectively so far.

Officials in public sector oil companies said that retail price may rise again if crude and product prices pick up but for now it will fall over the next few days.




UK PM to unveil plan for ‘COVID-19 status certification’ as country eases lockdown restrictions


UK PM to unveil plan for ‘COVID-19 status certification’ as country eases lockdown restrictions

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to unveil plans on Monday to develop a “Covid status certification” scheme to enable the safe return of mass gatherings and indoor events as lockdown restrictions eased in England.

Football cup finals, the World Snooker Championship, a comedy club and a cinema will be used to test vaccine passports over the next few weeks, Xinhua news agency quoted a report by the Guardian newspaper.

The evidence from the trials will be used to consider the wider use of vaccine passports, it said.

According to the newspaper, the National Health Service (NHS) will set up a system that will allow people to use an app or a paper certificate to gain access to major events.

The system being piloted will take into consideration whether someone has had a vaccination, a recent negative test, or natural immunity after a positive test in the last six months, said the newspaper.

Johnson will set out more details on Monday at a time when his government announced that more than 5 million people in Britain have received their second dose of the vaccine.

However, British lawmakers will want to study the proposals closely with many deeply suspicious about anything which smacks of a “vaccine passport” for domestic use, the Evening Standard newspaper reported.

More than 40 Conservative lawmakers have publicly declared their opposition to the idea, and Johnson could struggle to get the plan through the British Parliament if they decide to oppose it, said the London-based newspaper.

In developing the scheme, officials will take into account three factors, whether an individual has received the vaccine, has recently tested negative for the virus, or has “natural immunity” having tested positive in the previous six months.

The Prime Minister will also outline the government`s approach for easing restrictions on foreign travel when its global travel task force reports on April 12.

British ministers have made it clear that the ban on foreign travel will remain in place until at least May 17.

When it is finally lifted, it will be replaced by a risk-based “traffic light” system with red, amber and green ratings for countries around the world, local media reported.

This will be based on a range of factors, including the proportion of the population that has been vaccinated, rates of infection, emerging new variants and the country`s access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.

Travellers arriving from countries rated “green” will not be required to isolate, although pre-departure and post-arrival tests will still be needed.

For those classed as “amber” or “red”, the restrictions will remain as they are will arrivals required to isolate or enter quarantine.

More than 31.4 million people have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the official figures.

From April 12, non-essential retail, as well as restaurants and pubs, if serving people outdoors, will be allowed to reopen in England.

On February 22, Johnson had announced his roadmap exiting the lockdown, the third of its kind since the start of the pandemic.

The four-step plan is expected to see all legal restrictions in England being removed by mid-June.

Experts have warned the UK is “still not out of the woods” amid concerns over new variants and the third wave of pandemic in the European continent.




TTP terrorist killed in Pakistan


TTP terrorist killed in Pakistan

Pakistan has conducted a series of military operations against terrorist groups in North Waziristan that borders Afghanistan.

An active Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorist was killed during an intense exchange of fire with security forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, an army statement said.

The security forces conducted an intelligence-based operation in Boya area of North Waziristan on confirmation of the presence of terrorists, the military’s media wing Inter-Services Public Relations said in the statement on Saturday.

It added that the killed militant remained involved in target killing, terrorist activities against security forces, extortion and planting improvised explosive devices, reports Xinhua news agency.

Pakistan has conducted a series of military operations against terrorist groups in North Waziristan that borders Afghanistan.

Although the area has mostly been pacified, remnants of terrorist groups still manage to launch attacks on security forces sporadically.




Joe Biden names Indian American as Washington judge, dumps Trump nominee


Joe Biden names Indian American as Washington judge, dumps Trump nominee

Trump’s nomination of Shankar was not meant to be taken seriously as he had lost the election and was an attempt at asserting himself in the last days in office.

US President Joe Biden has nominated an Indian American to be a judge in the local court system of the nation’s capital after having withdrawn another’s nomination made by his predecessor Donald Trump.

The White House announced on Tuesday that Biden was nominating Rupa Ranga Puttagunta to be a judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, which is a local court for Washington.

Last month, he withdrew the nomination of Vijay Shankar to a higher local court, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, that Trump had made as one of a spate of last-minute appointments in January before his term was to end.

Shankar needed the Senate confirmation for his appointment, which he could not get with the Democrats getting control of it.

Puttagunta is now an administrative judge for the District of Columbia Rental Housing Commission dealing with landlord-tenant issues and rental housing regulations.

She had earlier represented the poor in criminal cases and worked with victims of domestic abuse, according to the White House.

Meanwhile, Biden has appointed a Pakistani American, Zahid N. Quraishi, to be a federal judge.

He would become the nation’s first Muslim federal judge if confirmed by the Senate.

Another Muslim, Abid Qureshi, was nominated by former President Barack Obama in 2016 to be a federal judge but the Senate did not act on his nomination before Trump took office and it lapsed.

The federal judgeship would be an elevation for Quraishi who is now a federal magistrate judge in New Jersey.

Magistrate judges are appointed by the federal judges to assist them on matters like first appearances by the accused in criminal cases and setting bail. Unlike federal judges, they are not nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate and, therefore, do not issue judgments or hear cases.

Quraishi is a former US Army captain who ad served in Iraq and has also worked as an assistant chief counsel in the Department of Homeland Security and as an assistant federal prosecutor.

The South Asian Bar Association welcomed their nominations, tweeting, “We are proud to see Judges Rupa Ranga Puttagunta and Zahid Quraishi on the list” of Biden’s judicial nominees.

The White House said that the nominations announced on Tuesday reflect Biden’s “intent to nominate highly-qualified candidates to federal courts that reflect his deeply-held conviction that the federal bench should reflect the full diversity of the American people — both in background and in professional experience.”

Biden, who has said that he would nominate an African America woman to the Supreme Court, named Ketanji Brown Jackson to be a judge on the Federal Appeals Circuit Court in Washington, which is considered the most important after the Supreme Court.

If she is confirmed, it would put her on a fast track to become the nation’s first African American woman on the Supreme Court if a vacancy occurs during Biden’s term.

Brown Jackson replaces Merrick Garland, who was Obama’s unsuccessful nominee for the Supreme Court and is now the attorney-general in the Biden administration.

Trump’s nomination of Shankar was not meant to be taken seriously as he had lost the election and was an attempt at asserting himself in the last days in office.




South Africa’s IFWG picks Mercury-Ripple’s ODL solutions to shorten money transfer window


South Africa’s IFWG picks Mercury-Ripple’s ODL solutions to shorten money transfer window

Mercury, being a Ripple partner, will leverage XRP for more efficient cross-border payments into the region.

Mercury on Tuesday announced that it has been accepted into the first cohort of South Africa’s Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG) Regulatory Sandbox for its work in partnership with Ripple and cryptocurrency exchange VALR. This is a big step toward bringing fintech innovation to the region.

The aim is to shorten the money transfer window by using RippleNet’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) service and the digital asset XRP. The process can be put to greater use especially in a vast continent like Africa.

“The IFWG exists to facilitate the role of fintech and innovation in the South African financial market. More than 50 companies applied to be part of this inaugural Regulatory Sandbox, with Mercury being one of the final six chose,” Mercury said.

Mercury, being a Ripple partner, will leverage XRP for more efficient cross-border payments into the region.

This announcement made clear Mercury’s belief in the future of blockchain-based money transfer and its goals for dramatically cutting the time and cost of sending money into and out of South Africa using RippleNet and on-demand liquidity (ODL).

Ripple as Mercury’s partner said it is honored to be part of this transformation of remittances and international payments within Africa in partnership with innovative partners like Mercury. “We are committed to supporting similarly important efforts around the world and working closely with regulators to ensure their success,” it said.




Joe Biden names Indian American as Washington judge, dumps Trump nominee


Joe Biden names Indian American as Washington judge, dumps Trump nominee

Trump’s nomination of Shankar was not meant to be taken seriously as he had lost the election and was an attempt at asserting himself in the last days in office.

US President Joe Biden has nominated an Indian American to be a judge in the local court system of the nation’s capital after having withdrawn another’s nomination made by his predecessor Donald Trump.

The White House announced on Tuesday that Biden was nominating Rupa Ranga Puttagunta to be a judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, which is a local court for Washington.

Last month, he withdrew the nomination of Vijay Shankar to a higher local court, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, that Trump had made as one of a spate of last-minute appointments in January before his term was to end.

Shankar needed the Senate confirmation for his appointment, which he could not get with the Democrats getting control of it.

Puttagunta is now an administrative judge for the District of Columbia Rental Housing Commission dealing with landlord-tenant issues and rental housing regulations.

She had earlier represented the poor in criminal cases and worked with victims of domestic abuse, according to the White House.

Meanwhile, Biden has appointed a Pakistani American, Zahid N. Quraishi, to be a federal judge.

He would become the nation’s first Muslim federal judge if confirmed by the Senate.

Another Muslim, Abid Qureshi, was nominated by former President Barack Obama in 2016 to be a federal judge but the Senate did not act on his nomination before Trump took office and it lapsed.

The federal judgeship would be an elevation for Quraishi who is now a federal magistrate judge in New Jersey.

Magistrate judges are appointed by the federal judges to assist them on matters like first appearances by the accused in criminal cases and setting bail. Unlike federal judges, they are not nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate and, therefore, do not issue judgments or hear cases.

Quraishi is a former US Army captain who ad served in Iraq and has also worked as an assistant chief counsel in the Department of Homeland Security and as an assistant federal prosecutor.

The South Asian Bar Association welcomed their nominations, tweeting, “We are proud to see Judges Rupa Ranga Puttagunta and Zahid Quraishi on the list” of Biden’s judicial nominees.

The White House said that the nominations announced on Tuesday reflect Biden’s “intent to nominate highly-qualified candidates to federal courts that reflect his deeply-held conviction that the federal bench should reflect the full diversity of the American people — both in background and in professional experience.”

Biden, who has said that he would nominate an African America woman to the Supreme Court, named Ketanji Brown Jackson to be a judge on the Federal Appeals Circuit Court in Washington, which is considered the most important after the Supreme Court.

If she is confirmed, it would put her on a fast track to become the nation’s first African American woman on the Supreme Court if a vacancy occurs during Biden’s term.

Brown Jackson replaces Merrick Garland, who was Obama’s unsuccessful nominee for the Supreme Court and is now the attorney-general in the Biden administration.

Trump’s nomination of Shankar was not meant to be taken seriously as he had lost the election and was an attempt at asserting himself in the last days in office.




Mutations could render Covid vax ineffective in a year: Experts


Mutations could render Covid vax ineffective in a year: Experts

The results published on Tuesday deliver a stark warning of the risk the world is taking by failing to ensure all countries have sufficient vaccines to protect people from Covid-19.

Mutations could render current Covid-19 vaccines ineffective in a year or less, according to two-thirds of 77 epidemiologists, virologists and infectious disease specialists from 28 countries surveyed by People’s Vaccine Alliance.

The results published on Tuesday deliver a stark warning of the risk the world is taking by failing to ensure all countries have sufficient vaccines to protect people from Covid-19.

Of those surveyed, almost a third gave a timeframe of nine months or less.

Fewer than one in eight said they believed that mutations would never render the current vaccines ineffective.

The overwhelming majority – 88 per cent — said that persistent low vaccine coverage in many countries would make it more likely for vaccine resistant mutations to appear.

The People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of over 50 organisations including African Alliance, Oxfam and UNAIDS, warned that at the current rate it was likely that only 10 per cent of people in the majority of poor countries will be vaccinated in the next year.

Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed – who included epidemiologists, virologists and infectious disease specialists from institutions including Johns Hopkins, Yale, Imperial College, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Cambridge University, the University of Edinburgh and The University of Cape Town — said that open sharing of technology and intellectual property could increase global vaccine coverage.

“The more the virus circulates, the more likely it is that mutations and variants will emerge, which could make our current vaccines ineffective. At the same time, poor countries are being left behind without vaccines and basic medical supplies like oxygen,” Devi Sridhar, Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh in Britain, said in a statement.

“As we’ve learned, viruses don’t care about borders. We have to vaccinate as many people as possible, everywhere in the world, as quickly as possible. Why wait and watch instead of getting ahead of this?”

While he didn’t specify a timeframe, Gregg Gonsalves, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Yale University, echoed the urgency to vaccinate globally.

“With millions of people around the world infected with this virus, new mutations arise every day. Sometimes they find a niche that makes them more fit than their predecessors,” Gonsalves said.

“These lucky variants could transmit more efficiently and potentially evade immune responses to previous strains. Unless we vaccinate the world, we leave the playing field open to more and more mutations, which could churn out variants that could evade our current vaccines and require booster shots to deal with them.”

The survey shows that it is imperative for the safety of all citizens in all countries that people in developing countries are vaccinated as soon as possible. Failure to tackle global vaccine inequality heightens the risk of further mutations.

Despite this imperative, rich country defence of the monopolies of pharmaceutical giants mean that global supplies are being artificially rationed, with a handful of companies deciding who lives and who dies.

Earlier this month, rich countries blocked a proposal to waive intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines.

The People’s Vaccine Alliance is urging them to reconsider when talks resume at the World Trade Organisation in April.

The alliance is also calling for all pharmaceutical corporations working on Covid-19 vaccines to openly share their technology and intellectual property through the World Health Organization Covid-19 Technology Access Pool, in order to speed up and ramp up the production and rollout of vaccines to all countries.




France reopens Embassy in Libya after 7 yrs


France reopens Embassy in Libya after 7 yrs

The oil-rich country has become a proxy battleground for rival forces and foreign powers.

France has reopened its embassy in Libya after seven years, with the diplomatic representation tweeting “back to work”.

Monday’s reopening comes a week after President Emmanuel Macron announced the plan, reports dpa news agency.

In 2014, France had moved its diplomatic mission to Tunisia.

The year before, its embassy in Libya’s capital Tripoli had been attacked.

The country wants to signal its support for the newly elected transitional government in Libya.

The leadership under Prime Minister Abdul-Hamid Mohammed Dbeibeh was sworn in a fortnight ago.

It replaces the internationally recognized government based in Tripoli and the rival government based in the east of the country, and is to lead Libya to nationwide elections on December 24.

Libya has been in turmoil since long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.

The oil-rich country has become a proxy battleground for rival forces and foreign powers.

The new transitional government has ignited hopes of a gradual end to the conflict.

The foreign ministers of France, Germany and Italy recently backed the new leadership with a visit to Libya.




Disclose cryptocurrency dealings: MCA To Cos


Disclose cryptocurrency dealings: MCA To Cos

The MCA’s move comes at a time when the government and Reserve Bank of India are putting efforts to tighten the framework for regulating cryptocurrencies.

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has made it mandatory for all companies to disclose their dealings in cryptocurrencies.

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has amended various rules under the companies law pertaining to an audit, auditors and accounts. Besides, by making changes to Schedule III of the Companies Act, 2013, there are increased disclosure requirements, including details about their dealings in cryptocurrencies, if any.

The changes mentioned in the notification will come into effect from April 1.

The MCA’s move comes at a time when the government and Reserve Bank of India are putting efforts to tighten the framework for regulating cryptocurrencies and looking at even introducing a sovereign digital currency bill banning the virtual currencies.

As per a PTI report that cited a senior official, if companies are indulging in trading cryptocurrencies, then there should be transparency about the magnitude and how much money is being made through such trading activities.

He said there have been complaints in the past about some companies luring investors with a promise of high returns by investing in cryptocurrencies and there were also instances of people losing money.

The official also said the latest changes in rules are complementary ones to CARO — Companies (Auditor’s Report) Order. CARO will be applicable from the next financial year. These are also aimed at enhancing transparency, he added.

Schedule III pertains to general instructions for the preparation of balance sheet and statement of profit and loss of a company.

Prateek Agarwal, Partner at Nangia & Co LLP, said amendments to Schedule III will give more insights to various stakeholders/ users of financial statements about specific items and will also make the financial information/ benchmarks comparable between different companies.

“Further, some of the requirements are more detailed mandatory disclosures in the financial statements of the existing financial statement captions,” he said.

In another change, companies that use accounting software for maintaining their books must use software that allows them to record the audit trail of each and every transaction and also ensure that the audit trail cannot be disabled. This will be applicable from the financial year starting April 1.

Agarwal further said that the accounting software “requirement is a welcome step towards transparency although it might have a significant impact for some smaller businesses in case the existing accounting software does not support the needs.”

Global Cryptocurrency Exchange Bitex Founder and CEO Monark Modi said in light of the recent speculation around banning, allowing cryptocurrencies to be a part of accounting practices will definitely put investors at ease as they no longer have to be worried regarding taxation.

Bringing regulation that provides safety to investors, factors taxation and fosters cryptocurrency as an alternate investment class will be the right step ahead, he added.




UAE finance minister and deputy Dubai ruler Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum dead


UAE finance minister and deputy Dubai ruler Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum dead

He underwent surgery abroad last year, though further details were not disclosed.

United Arab Emirates’ Finance Minister and deputy ruler of Dubai, Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has died on Wednesday, the Dubai media office said.

He was the brother of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Prime Minister and ruler of the emirate of Dubai. Hamdan, who was 75 years old, had been finance minister since 1971, when the country was founded.

UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed ordered that flags be flown at half-mast across the country until Saturday to mark three days of mourning, according to a statement by the official news agency WAM, DPA news reported.

Meanwhile, Dubai announced a 10-day mourning period.

Funeral prayers will be restricted to family members due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Dubai media office added.

Hamdan had been unwell, his brother Mohammed wrote on Twitter earlier this month, wishing him well.

He underwent surgery abroad last year, though further details were not disclosed.




Previous123456789...7778Next
Top