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US dollar rises amid falling sterling

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New York, Oct 23 : The US dollar appreciated in late trading amid declining sterling on the backdrop of renewed Brexit fears.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday was defeated in a vote on his Brexit timetable, Xinhua news agency reported.

Just minutes before the vote on the timetable motion, the government’s Brexit bill was backed by a vote of 329 to 299 in the second reading in parliament, clearing its first hurdle. However, the timetable motion was rejected.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Prime Minister told a parliament debate that he will pull the Brexit bill and push for an election if it is voted down by lawmakers.

He had vowed to take his country out of the European Union on October 31 with or without a deal.

The pound and the euro lost some strength amid lingering uncertainty concerning Brexit, experts noted.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major peers, was up 0.20 per cent at 97.5249 in late trading.

In late New York trading, the euro decreased to 1.1123 US dollars from 1.1146 dollars in the previous session, and the British pound decreased to 1.2882 dollars from 1.2966 dollars in the previous session. The Australian dollar was down to 0.6853 dollar from 0.6864 dollar.

The US dollar bought 108.46 Japanese yen, lower than 108.59 Japanese yen of the previous session. The US dollar rose to 0.9890 Swiss franc from 0.9855 Swiss franc, and it rose to 1.3097 Canadian dollars from 1.3084 Canadian dollars.

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BSNL employees plan hunger strike on Monday

Due to the delay in the 4G spectrum allotment and non-availability of funds, BSNL was unlikely to launch 4G services by the end of 2020, it said and added it was quite grim situation for employees.

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New Delhi, Feb 22 : The All Unions and Associations of BSNL (AUAB) has decided to organise a country-wide hunger strike on February 24 for early implementation of the cabinet decisions on the Bharat Sanchar Nigam’s revival.

The strike is also aimed at putting pressure for the expeditious settlement of employees’ grievances, according to an AUAB statement here on Saturday.

Last year the cabinet approved a Rs 69,000 crore revival package for both BSNL and MTNL. The salient features of the package included allotment of 4G spectrum, issuing sovereign guarantee for raising Rs 15,000 crore (Rs 8,500 for BSNL and Rs 6,500 for MTNL) funds via long-term bonds, monetisation of assets and implementation of voluntary retirement scheme.

Of these, only the VRS has been implemented and 78,569 BSNL employees have been sent home. The BSNL has not been allotted 4G spectrum. Similarly, the sovereign guarantee is awaited. The process of monetisation of BSNL’s assets is also moving slowly, according to the statement.

The Supreme Court’s recent judgement on the AGR calculation had created uncertainties in the telecom sector, due to which banks were unwilling to extend loans to BSNL, the AUAB said.

Due to the delay in the 4G spectrum allotment and non-availability of funds, BSNL was unlikely to launch 4G services by the end of 2020, it said and added it was quite grim situation for employees.

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OYO announces bug bounty programme to strengthen security

OYO has accordingly developed an improved responsible disclosure policy to encourage honest and responsible reporting of any potential risks.

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New Delhi, Feb 22 : Hospitality unicorn OYO has said that it will introduce a bug bounty programme towards ensuring that there is a credible and continuous flow of positive feedback from independent security groups and individual researchers to mitigate against any bug or shortfall in the company’s systems.

This is in line with the established practice of recognition and reward for ethical hackers who help responsibly investigate shortfalls within the tech architecture of several tech companies including the likes of Facebook, Google etc., OYO said in a statement this week.

OYO has accordingly developed an improved responsible disclosure policy to encourage honest and responsible reporting of any potential risks.

Additionally, OYO has partnered with a specialised cybersecurity startup, AppSecure/Hackerhive, that connects companies and ethical hackers to help the former discover and fix security vulnerabilities.

“In today’s digital world, a cyberattack is a real concern. Hence, in line with our efforts to continually improve, we are investing in ethical hacking programmes as well,” said Anil Goel, Group Chief Technology and Product Officer at OYO.

OYO said it has also joined hands with other technology companies to address the issue of increasing online frauds and save guests from cybercrimes.

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Fiscal deficit as GDP percentage touched 4.56% in Dec: Finance Ministry data

Out of total government expenditure of Rs 21.09 lakh crore, which is 76 per cent of the BE, revenue expenditure was Rs 18.54 lakh crore and capital expenditure Rs 2.55 lakh crore.

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National debt under Modi govt surges

New Delhi, Feb 21 : Fiscal deficit as a percentage of GDP touched 4.56 per cent as of December 2019 with total receipts pegged at Rs 11.77 lakh crore against a higher expenditure of Rs 21.09 lakh crore, data of government accounts showed.

For the fiscal 2019-20 (till March 31, 2020), the fiscal deficit has been revised to 3.8 per cent now.

Gross tax collection was Rs 13.83 lakh crore (53 per cent of the Budget estimates). The net tax revenue of the Central government was at Rs 9.04 lakh crore which was 55 per cent of the BE, after deducting devolution to the states to the tune of Rs 4.76 lakh crore and Rs 2,480 crore towards NDRF.

The non-tax revenue accrued to the Centre was Rs 2.41 lakh crore whereas other receipts were pegged at Rs 31,000 crore. The government released Rs 54,621.14 crore to the states as their share in central taxes and duties as well as Rs 6,989.38 crore as recommended by the Finance Commission in January.

In December 2019, the states received Rs 7,499.89 crore as recommended by the Finance Commission and the government released Rs 2,714.03 crore towards various schemes. In January 2020, the states received much lower Rs 101.29 crore.

Out of total government expenditure of Rs 21.09 lakh crore, which is 76 per cent of the BE, revenue expenditure was Rs 18.54 lakh crore and capital expenditure Rs 2.55 lakh crore.

Fiscal deficit was pegged at Rs 8.07 lakh crore, which was 11 per cent of BE.

“As a percentage of the GDP, fiscal deficit is 4.56 per cent. The revenue receipts are sufficient to cover only 56 per cent of the expenditure,” the Accounts Review Report of the Finance Ministry said.

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