🤼♀️The Brawl Stars? Epic Games has now taken Apple to Brussels aka The European Union. It’s trying to toughen up its offense. According to Epic Games, Apple uses its IOS ecosystem to impose “commercially unviable burdens on rivals.” The worst being the 30% ‘tax’ on all App Store purchases. Last summer when Epic Games’ Fortnite tried to dodge this by adding its own payment option. Apple responded by kicking it out of the store. Not only that, it was kicked out of Google’s Play Store.
⚖️Ever since then, it has been lawsuit after lawsuits and antitrust cases. But can we underestimate Apple’s defenses? Can Epic Games hold down the Fort until the very end?
🥅 Milestone, Disaster & the Double Jinx? The petrol price in India (Rajasthan) touched a whopping INR 100 per liter. Prices have increased 20 times in 2021. The year 2020 year alone saw a major increase. In this one year, people have lost jobs and incomes, and inflation has soared. That’s a double jinx: fuel getting expensive just when people have less money in their pockets.
🤷 What Happened? Let’s begin with 2020. Brent crude (an international oil price standard) fell by 70% to $19 per barrel. We did not benefit, as the government used it as an opportunity to increase taxes and fill up the coffers. Reason? All major sources of revenue had dried up while the country was facing one of the severest lockdowns in history. 💰A fact: the government collected a record 48% more tax from on petrol & diesel April-November 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
Now that the world is reviving from the pandemic, the crude prices are going up and up. It reached over the $63.5 per barrel mark (a single-day gain of over 2%).📈
🔢 Crunching Numbers & Crushing Taxes. Jan’20, before the lockdown: crude prices were around INR 29 per liter, while end-users paid INR 78 for a liter of petrol. Feb’20, after international crude prices fell to INR 15.60 per liter: end-users still paid 5 times higher i.e INR 72.93 per liter. Jan’21, after easing of the lockdown: crude oil price was revived to INR 25 a liter and we’re still paying 3 times more.📉
India imports almost 80% of its crude oil requirements and every time crude prices fall, the government imposes fresh taxes. And these taxes account for almost 55-60% of what we pay at the pump.
🤔 While in Singapore. The government just rolled out with a so-called ‘glorious’ Budget. And a total of 113M Singapore Dollars will be set aside to provide road tax rebates for petrol & petrol-hybrid vehicles.
…this is to ease the transition to the upcoming higher petrol duties.
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Germany, Bribery, and in the middle of it all – Siemens, the automation giant!
“…unprecedented in scale and geographic reach. The corruption involved more than $1.4 billion in bribes to government officials in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas.”
So, what happened? Until 2002, Bribery was kinda legal in Germany. What’s even weird, it was ‘tax-deductible.’ When calculating the cost of a project, Siemens employees used “nützliche aufwendungen”, a common tax term literally translated as “useful expenditures” or internally understood as “bribes.” There was also a law in Germany, written in a way, that allowed bribes to be accounted for as tax-deductible expenses.
So, finally, in 1999, the laws were amended and brought into line.