The cost of Trump’s temper tantrums

We all knew that Donald Trump would react badly to defeat. But his refusal to concede, the destructiveness of his temper tantrum and the willingness of almost the entire Republican Party to indulge him have surpassed even pessimists’ expectations.Even so, it’s very unlikely that Trump will manage to overturn the election results. But he’s doing all he can to wreck America on his way out, in ways large and small. Among other things, his officials are already trying to sabotage the economy, setting the stage for a possible financial crisis on Joe Biden’s watch.To the uninitiated, the sudden announcement by Steven…

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The heavy price for expensive vaccines

The world is unequal enough and the Covid-19 pandemic threatens to make things more unequal still. Poorer countries have had to take on debt they will struggle to pay back. Their more fragile healthcare systems and crowded cities forced them into stricter and more economically harmful lockdowns, and poverty rates have risen dramatically. Now, they rightly fear a staggered recovery from the pandemic will further disadvantage them, given how expensive vaccine rollouts look to be.It should not be surprising then that several developing countries, led by India and South Africa, argued last week at the World Trade Organization’s intellectual property rights…

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Apollo Global enters race for BPCL stake

Mumbai | New Delhi: Apollo Global Management has submitted an expression of interest (EoI) for the government’s 53 per cent stake in Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL), said people with knowledge of the matter. The move underscores the growing appetite of the Wall Street buyout group founded by Leon Black for big-ticket deals in India after having recently dissolved its joint venture platform Aion Capital with ICICI Venture. Apollo will compete with Anil Agarwal’s Vedanta that has also confirmed its participation at this stage. It’s likely to partner with a global energy major ahead of its final offer, said the people…

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India may not need Pfizer’s vaccine, says Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi: India may not need Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine, health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has said. In an exclusive chat with ET, the health minister said, “United States has not even given licence to Pfizer. So it does not make sense for other countries like India to consider it. We are in touch with everyone but we I feel that we may not need Pfizer vaccine.” The health minister’s statement came on a day Oxford University and pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca announced that Covid-19 vaccine being developed jointly by them showed 70% efficiency and the efficacy could be 90% under one dosing…

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SII to focus on supplying vaccine to India first

The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines by volume, will first focus on supplying AstraZeneca Plc’s COVID-19 vaccine to Indians before distributing it to other countries, Serum’s Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla said on Monday.”It’s very important we take care of our country first, then go on to COVAX after that and then other bilateral deals with countries. So I’ve kept it in that priority,” said Poonawalla, referencing the global COVAX facility, which has been set up to provide COVID-19 vaccines to poorer countries.The company remains in discussion with the Indian government about inking a purchase agreement for…

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How banks are growing mortgage book

MUMBAI: The tables have turned. Indian banks are gaining at the expense of mid-size and small non-bank lenders as far as fresh home loan mortgages are concerned.While most large banks like State Bank of India, ICICI Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank relied on home loans to post strong retail growth in the September quarter, non-bank lenders such as PNB Housing Finance, L&T Finance and LIC Housing Finance saw mortgage loan growth contract over last year. Mortgage market leader Housing Development Finance Corp, however, continued to post growth.Industry watchers said despite the presence of more first-time homebuyers in the market than a…

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Solar tariffs plunge by 15%, set record low at Rs 2.00 per unit

BENGALURU: Solar tariffs fell to a new low of Rs 2.00 per unit, about 15% lower than the previous record as foreign and Indian companies bid aggressively in Monday’s auction by the Solar Energy Corp of India.In the 1,070 MW solar auction, Singapore based Sembcorp Energy and Saudi Arabia based Aljomaih Energy and Water Company won 400MW and 200MW respectively at a tariff of Rs 2.00 per unit. The remaining 470MW was bagged by NTPC at a tariff of Rs 2.01 per unit.The Solar Energy Corporation of India is the nodal agency through which the renewable energy ministry holds wind and…

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Bharti Infratel-Indus Towers merger offers limited synergy savings: Analysts

New Delhi: The merger of tower company Bharti Infratel with Indus Towers will offer limited synergies in operating expenditure due to limited overlap in operations, brokerage analysts say.”Given the limited overlap in the operations of Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers, synergies from the merger are likely to be limited to savings on administrative overheads,” Jeffries said in a report.CLSA said only 4 out of 22 circles pan-India overlap in operations, but, even a 10% or so reduction in employee and other costs could lead to about 3% higher earnings.The brokerage also estimates an extraordinary dividend of Rs 4,800 crore, about 8%…

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SpiceHealth launches RT-PCR test for Rs 499

In a move that is set to make Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests affordable, SpiceHealth today announced that it will conduct the test, known as the most decisive and crucial for Covid-19 testing, starting at Rs 499 per test. A RT-PCR test, currently, costs Rs 2,400 in Delhi and is the most commonly used and the most accurate COVID test worldwide.SpiceHealth, which is a subsidiary of SpiceJet, also said that the report would be available within just 6 hours from the time of sample collection.SpiceHealth’s first mobile testing laboratory at ICMR, AIIMS, was inaugurated by Home Minister Amit Shah, in…

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IOC buys most crude since Covid outbreak

SINGAPORE/NEW DELHI: Indian Oil Corp, the country’s largest state refiner, has bought nearly 20 million barrels of spot crude from West Africa and the Middle East for delivery in early 2021, three trade sources said on Monday.The purchase is the largest by the refiner since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the world’s third largest crude oil importer in second quarter.IOC’s chairman said this month that the refinery has been operating at 100% capacity since early November as local fuel demand has recovered.IOC purchased the cargoes over three rounds of tenders this month for deliveries in January and February, the sources…

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