5 Stories to Stay Current this Week!

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Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel are in trouble deep! Cell phone network providers, Vodafone-Idea and Bharti Airtel, are under a lot of pressure to pay the Government of India more than Rs. 90,000 Crores in fees!

Why? The Supreme Court of India has ruled that telecommunications providers need to pay the government taxes on a larger part of their revenues than the telecom companies think they should be paying for, in addition to very high fees and royalties to license the airwaves.

At the same time, the revenues they get per customer for voice calls has reduced drastically as Reliance Jio entered the telecom market in 2016 with very low prices and changed the competitive landscape. 

Vodafone Idea and Airtel have been arguing that the license fees, royalties and taxes should be lower. They have also been asking for some time to pay these fees. The Supreme Court has given them 3 months. It is a very real possibility that with the losses that companies like Vodafone Idea are posting, and with this huge fee demand from the government, they may actually go out of business in India!

What does this mean for us? If this happens, it will again change the competitive landscape and give newer entrants, like Reliance Jio, an advantage. Fewer competitors will mean that us cell phone users could suffer as there will be nothing to stop higher prices for us. 

Impeachment Hearings in the US: Witnesses started testifying before the House Intelligence Committee in the impeachment of US President Donald Trump.

US President Donald Trump is being investigated as it is suspected that he was pressuring the President of the Ukraine, to give him information on Joe Biden, his potential rival in the 2020 US Presidential election. It is suspected that he indicated that he would only give US military aid to the Ukraine if they helped him on this front.

What happens next? If it is proved that he did this, it could be an impeachable offence. These witnesses will finish testifying, or giving their version of what they saw and heard, by the end of November, 2019. The House Intelligence Committee will then present its report in December 2019 and the House will vote on whether or not there is enough evidence to impeach. If they say there is, the matter goes to the Senate and there will be an impeachment trial.

Maharashtra is under President’s rule. None of the political parties got a majority of the votes in the recent State elections, and they have not yet been able to work out deals and alliances. The Governor of Maharashtra has therefore asked for the State to be placed under President’s rule until a coalition (group) of parties can demonstrate a clear majority in the legislature, and announce a leader of the coalition to assume the Chief Ministership. This gives the political parties 6 months to make a deal.

Congratulations to Rohit Sharma! India’s superstar cricketer, Rohit Sharma just made history by becoming the second Indian cricketer to play 100 T20 International matches. Who beat him? India’s Harmanpreet Kaur who has played 100 T20 International matches in Women’s Cricket!

Music Update: Swifties on high alert! Taylor Swift will receive the Artist of the Decade Award at the American Music Awards this year. These will be held in Los Angeles on November 25, 2019.

Get ready for the OnePlus Music Festival in Mumbai this weekend! Katy Perry and Dua Lipa will perform live on November 16. Here’s a clip of what you can look forward to!

 

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