Air India expected to earn more revenue in 2016-17: Sinha

Mar 9, 2017 0

New Delhi–The central government on Thursday said that national passenger carrier Air India is expected to earn more revenue in financial year 2016-17 as compared to 2015-16.

According to Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha, the airline is expected to report a rise of 9.7 per cent in its total revenue for 2016-17.

“In fact, the company is expecting to have a total revenue of Rs 22,521 crore as compared to the figure of Rs 20,526.11 crore in FY 2015-16, which is an improvement of around 9.7 per cent over the previous year,” Sinha said in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

Jayant Sinha

“The main reason for this increase in revenues is an improvement in capacity utilisation in terms of revenue passenger kilometers (RPKMs) by 6.8 per cent and an increase in passenger carriages by 6.2 per cent when compared to the previous year 2015-16.”

The minister pointed out that even passenger load factor is expected to increase by 1.2 per cent in absolute terms.

On April 12, 2012, the flag carrier got a new lease of life when the government approved a Rs 30,000 crore turnaround (TAP) and financial restructuring plans (FRP) spanning up to the year 2021.

The mega financial package came with stringent riders like maintaining high on-time performance and healthy load factors.

Sinha elaborated that since the implementation of Air India’s Turnaround Plan, there has been a constant improvement in the airline’s operational as well as financial performance.

The minister added that as part of the turnaround strategy, the airline has also initiated a number of steps to cut costs and losses.

Last month, Sinha informed the Rajya Sabha that Air India is also expected to post an “improved” operating profit margin in 2016-17 from Rs 105 crore reported in 2015-16.

The operating profit or earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) is the difference between gross profits and operating expenses before deduction of interest and taxes.

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Mohamad Ali-Led Carbonite Acquires Double-Take Software for $65 Million

Feb 1, 2017 0

BOSTON– Carbonite, Inc., a leading provider of data protection solutions for small and midsize businesses that is led by Mohamad Ali, announced that it has acquired Double-Take Software, an affiliate of Vision Solutions, Inc. and Clearlake Capital.

The acquisition enhances Carbonite’s existing suite of data protection solutions for small and midsize businesses (SMB) with high availability technology that significantly minimizes downtime.

Mohamad Ali (Photo: Linedin)

The aggregate purchase price for Double-Take Software was $65.25 million, comprised of $59.75 million in cash and $5.5 million in Carbonite common stock, representing approximately 332,000 shares. Of the $59.75 million in cash, $20.55 million was funded with cash on hand and $39.2 million was funded through a revolving credit facility at Silicon Valley Bank. The transaction closed on January 31, 2017. Barclays acted as financial advisor to the company.

“Carbonite data protection solutions are designed to meet the real needs of businesses today, from the midsized company with a global footprint to the single small office,” said Ali, President and CEO of Carbonite. “Our current solutions support scenarios ranging from simple file restore to failover, and with the addition of Double-Take HA, we can now extend those scenarios to active recovery in near real-time, significantly minimizing any downtime and the associated loss of productivity and revenue.”

Added Phil Goodwin, Research Director at IDC: “Persistent and emerging IT threats, such as hardware or software failures, cyberattacks and malware, continue to expose businesses to data loss and downtime. We estimate that businesses can lose hundreds of thousands of dollars due to unplanned downtime. IT organizations need the ability to protect and recover data instantly, rather than in hours or days, to avoid irreparable business damages.”

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Global essay campaign on demonetisation

Jan 29, 2017 0

Bengaluru– Seeking to gather opinion and analyses on demonetisation and disruption-related issues from media and communication professionals from across the world, a global essay campaign has been launched by the Public Relations Council of India (PRCI).

The PRCI, the premier organisation of PR, advertising, media and HR professionals and academicians, in association with the Mumbai Press Club, has embarked on the project as a prelude to its 11th Global Communication Conclave to be held at Bengaluru on March 3-5 on the theme of disruption.

“All communications professionals such as journalists, PR, advertising, HR professionals and academicians connected with mass communication institutes are welcome to join the drive. The essays will be carried in a compendium, powered by Concept PR, and released at the Global Conclave on March 3, 2017,” said PRCI Chairman-emeritus and chief mentor M.B. Jayaram.

PRCI National President and Executive Director of Concept PR B.N. Kumar explained: “The choice of topics for the drive for Indian communication professionals are: Demonetisation: Pain or Gain; Ecological Crisis — It’s forever?; Swachh Bharat — Fad or reality?; Financial inclusion – On right track?”

For international communications professionals, the choices are: Disruption — A global Phenomenon? and India — Expectations from an emerging Global Super Power.

The essays could be in 600 to 1,200 words and the organisers have asked the writers to avoid slander, abusive language and partisan comments. The editorial decision of the jury will be final and binding on all participants.

The deadline for receiving the entries at PRCI is February 10, 2017, and they could be mailed at: mailbnk@gmail.com

PRCI and the Mumbai Press Club hope that the compendium will serve as a good reference material for communications professionals as well as mass communications and management students. (IANS)

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai criticizes Trump’s immigration order

Jan 28, 2017 0

San Francisco–Google’s India-born Chief Executive Sundar Pichai on Saturday critcised US President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending the entry of people from Muslim-majority countries to the United States and stressed its negative influence on US attractiveness for foreign talent.

Pichai suggested that the ban could affect at least 187 Google employees as the Internet search giant ordered its travelling staff to return to the United States.

“We’re upset about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the US,” The Wall Street Journal quoted Pichai as saying in an e-mail to staff.

“It’s painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues,” he added.

On Friday, Trump signed an executive order blocking from entering the United States all Syrian refugees until the adequate changes are made to the Refugee Admission Program (USRAP) and suspending the entry for all nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.

“Our first order of business is to help Googlers who are affected,” he assured his staff, urging them to reach out to Google’s global security team if they were abroad and needed help.

Sundar Pichai

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also expressed his concern over the order. “We need to keep this country safe, but we should do that by focusing on people who actually pose a threat,” he wrote on his Facebook page on Friday.

Immigrants make up much of the workforce in Silicon Valley, including many executive roles, and the tech industry has long advocated for more open immigration laws in the US, saying they need more skilled foreigners to fill technical jobs, the WSJ added.

Earlier on Saturday, thousands of academics, including 11 Nobel Laureates, signed a petition against the immigration ban calling it discriminatory and detrimental to the country’s national interests.

Trump’s order means that thousands of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries may not be allowed to board flights bound for the US — even if they hold “green card” (permanent residents’ permit).

Trump said the measure would “keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the US”. But rights groups said there is no link between Syrian refugees in the US and terrorism.

According to the BBC, there were already reports of travellers from the countries targeted being turned away as they tried to board flights to the US.

Some Republicans welcomed Trump’s announcement, including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, who said it was “time to re-evaluate and strengthen the visa vetting process”.

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Trump’s executive order prompts Google to recall staff from traveling

Jan 28, 2017 0

Washington– Google has recalled its travelling staff members back to the US after an executive order from President Donald Trump restricting entry for nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries, the media reported.

Syrian refugees are banned from entry until further notice. Visas for nationals of six countries, including Iran and Iraq, will not be issued for the next three months.

Google said it is concerned about the order and any measures which could block great talent from the US, reported the BBC on Saturday.

President Donald Trump

Trump’s order means that thousands of citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya may not be allowed to board flights bound for the US – even if they hold “green card” (permanent residents’ permit).

Trump said the measure would “keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the US”. But rights groups said there is no link between Syrian refugees in the US and terrorism, according to the report.

According to the BBC, there were already reports of travellers from the countries targeted being turned away as they tried to board flights to the US.

Some Republicans welcomed Trump’s announcement, including the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, who said it was “time to re-evaluate and strengthen the visa vetting process”. (IANS)

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How to make your tweet credible

Jan 28, 2017 0

New York–An India-origin researcher has put together a system that would help analyse whether your tweet is credible or not, a report said.

A team led by Georgia Tech Ph.D. candidate Tanushree Mitra scanned 66 million tweets linked to nearly 1,400 real-world events to build a language model that identified words and phrases that lead to strong or weak perceived levels of credibility on Twitter.

“There have been many studies about social media credibility in recent years but very little is known about what types of words or phrases create credibility perceptions during rapidly unfolding events,” Mitra said in a statement.

The team looked at tweets surrounding events in 2014 and 2015, including the emergence of Ebola in West Africa, the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris and the death of Eric Garner in New York City.

The team asked people to judge the posts on their credibility — from “certainly accurate” to “certainly inaccurate” — and then fed the words into a model that split them into 15 different linguistic categories.

The Georgia Tech computer then examined the words to judge if the tweets were credible or not.

It matched the humans’ opinions about 68 per cent of the time. That’s significantly higher than the random baseline of 25 per cent, the research said.

“Tweets with booster words, such as ‘undeniable,’ and positive emotion terms, such as ‘eager’ and ‘terrific,’ were viewed as highly credible,” Mitra said.

“Words indicating positive sentiment but mocking the impracticality of the event, such as ‘ha,’ ‘grins’ or ‘joking,’ were seen as less credible. So were hedge words, including ‘certain level’ and ‘suspects,'” she added.

Higher numbers of retweets also correlated with lower credibility scores. Replies and retweets with longer message lengths were thought to be more credible.

“It could be that longer message lengths provide more information or reasoning, so they’re viewed as more trustworthy,” she said.

“On the other hand, a higher number of retweets, which was scored lower on credibility, might represent an attempt to elicit collective reasoning during times of crisis or uncertainty,” she added.

The system, when deployed, could eventually become an app that displays the perceived trustworthiness of an event as it unfolds on social media. (IANS)

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Gold prices drop for the first time in 2017

Jan 27, 2017 0

New Delhi–Gold prices in Indian markets fell for the first time this year on Friday.

The price of the yellow metal of 24 carat purity was hovering around Rs 29,000 per 10 grams on Friday as against the previous Rs 29,400.

“Actually the price started falling in the global markets yesterday (Thursday) but Indian markets were closed (due to the Republic Day holiday). On Friday the price dropped for the first time in this year,” Bachhraj Bamalwa, Director, emichand Bamalwa & Sons told IANS.

He said the prices went up by 6-7 per cent in January as investors started buying the yellow metal speculating equity markets would drop following US President Donald Trump’s inauguration speech.

“But it was all speculative buying. There was nothing significant in the speech which could jeopardise the equity market. The equity markets all over the world reacted positively following his speech,” Bamalwa said.

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Delegates from 51 countries to attend Partnership Summit in Vizag

Jan 25, 2017 0

Visakhapatnam–Over 2,000 delegates from 51 countries will attend business chamber CII’s Partnership Summit, beginning here on Friday.

Senior officials from both the Central and state governments as well as a galaxy of leading industrialists will attend the two-day event with the theme ‘Partnerships for shared new realities’.

The summit is the annual flagship event of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and is organised in association with the Union Commerce and Industry Ministry and the Andhra Pradesh government.

The Partnership Summit 2017 is a unique platform that would enable close examination of the partnerships and synergies that will spark the next phase of global growth and develop strong multi-country linkages and networks to assist the transformation of the global economy, CII said in a statement.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu will address the inaugural session.

India’s sunrise state Andhra Pradesh will be using the platform to attract investment as the state government is expected to sign MoUs with various companies.

Andhra Pradesh is a gateway to growing markets and promising opportunities. It is endowed with rich natural resources and mineral wealth and boasts of the second longest coastline in the country, said CII.

With visionary political leadership, strong government mandate and proactive administration, the state has mapped its 2029 vision blueprint with a global outlook and a target to be amongst the best three states in India by 2022, the business chamber said, adding that the state’sgrowth trajectory has been on the rise, making it the fastest-growing state in India with 10.99 per cent GSDP growth in 2015-16.

Some of the overseas dignitaries addressing the Summit include Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Nepal’s Commerce Minister Romi Gauchan Thakali, Ukraine’s First Vice Prime Minister Stepan Kubiv, United Arab Emirates’ Minister of Economy Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Zambia’s Commerce Minister Margaret Mhango Mwanakatwe, Zimbabwe’s Deputy Minister for Industry and Commerce C.I. Mabuwa and Sudan’s Minister of Trade Salah Mohamed El Hassan Mohamed Saeed. (IANS)

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US stocks end at record highs at above 20,000 milestone

Jan 25, 2017 0

New York– US stocks extend gains with the Dow closing above the 20,000 milestone for the first time ever, as investors digested a batch of generally positive corporate earnings reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday rose 155.80 points, or 0.78 per cent, to 20,068.51, Xinhua news agency reported.

The S&P 500 added 18.30 points, or 0.80 per cent, to 2,298.37. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 55.38 points, or 0.99 per cent, to 5,656.34.

Before Wednesday’s opening bell, the Boeing Company announced fourth-quarter revenue of $23.3 billion, with GAAP earnings per share of $2.59 and core earnings per share (non-GAAP) of $2.47 dollars, reflecting overall solid execution on production programs and services.

Shares of the aircraft maker surged 4.24 per cent to $167.36 apiece on Wednesday following the release of the company’s strong quarterly results.

United Technologies, another Dow component, also posted quarterly profit and revenue on Wednesday that roughly in line with Wall Street expectations. Its shares fell 0.58 per cent to $110.96 apiece.

The latest data from Thomson Reuters showed that the S&P 500 companies’ blended earnings in the fourth quarter of 2016 are expected to rise 6.8 per cent year on year, while the revenues are forecast to increase 4.1 per cent.

Some analysts believed that US President Donald Trump’s new executive orders also boosted bullish sentiment on the Wall Street.

US stocks posted solid gains after Trump won the presidency election as investors bet that he would pursue massive corporate tax cuts, deregulation, and infrastructure spending.

Dow closed above 19,000 for the first time ever on November 22 and has increased about 9 per cent since the November 8 Election Day. (IANS)

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Don’t think Trump can change US economy much

Jan 21, 2017 0

By Vikas Datta

Jaipur–New US President Donald Trump is certain to move the American economy towards protectionism but it is a moot point how much he will be able to reshape it given existing international commitments and institutional constraints, says leading South Korean development economist Ha-Joon Chang.

“He (Trump) will push the US economy to some form of protectionism. But I really wonder how much he can change.”

“There is more rhetoric than substance to Trump’s words… The US, under Trump, cannot break its existing obligations. He is authoritarian but he is not someone like (South Korean dictator) Gen Park and there are institutional constraints in the US,” Chang, a reader in the Political Economy of Development at Cambridge, told IANS on the sidelines of the Jaipur Literature Festival here on Saturday.

South Korean economist Ha-Joon Chang at the Jaipur Literature Festival

“The US is a member of the World Trade Organisation, has free trade agreements with Mexico, Canada, South Korea and Australia and cannot renege on or break its obligations

“Even renegotiating the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Area) will take two to three years at least. And what if he is only a one term President. Even if he is re-elected, it will be difficult to do all he has said,” he said.

“If he raises tariffs, the American corporations will be up in arms. 35 per cent tariffs will mean that Nike shoes and I-phones will be costlier by 35 per cent. He can’t do it,” said Chang.

He noted that Trump has some plans to reshape the US Constitution but said this will also take time and the way it is framed, there will be obstacles at every point, though Trump also enjoys a Congressional majority which makes him the strongest President since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Trump’s “barks are louder than his bites,” quipped Chang. (IANS)

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