Apple may refund $400 million to consumers in digital book settlement

Apple has been accused for violating US antitrust law by orchestrating a price-fixing scheme with five major publishers of electronic books

Apple will refund up to $400 million to consumers ensnared in a plot to raise the prices of digital books unless the company gets a court to overturn a decision affirming its pivotal role in the collusion.


The settlement bill emerged in a court filing on Wednesday made a month after attorneys suing Apple notified US District Judge Denise Cote in New York that an agreement had been reached to avoid a trial over the issue.


Lawsuits filed on behalf of digital book buyers had originally been seeking damages of up to $840 million after Cote ruled in a separate trial last year that Apple had violated US antitrust law by orchestrating a price-fixing scheme with five major publishers of electronic books.


Cote’s decision sided with the US Justice Department’s contention that Apple’s late CEO, Steve Jobs, had schemed with major e-book publishers to charge higher prices in response to steep discounts offered by Inc. Jobs, who died in October 2011, negotiated the deals as Apple was preparing to release the first iPad in 2010.


Apple is appealing Cote’s decision from last year. The Cupertino, California, company will not have to pay the $400 million settlement if it prevails. If the appeals court voids Cote’s verdict and returns the case to her for further review, Apple would still have to refund $50 million to consumers. No money will be owed if the appeals court concludes that Apple did not break any antitrust laws.


“Apple did not conspire to fix e-book pricing, and we will continue to fight those allegations on appeal. We did nothing wrong and we believe a fair assessment of the facts will show it,” the company said in a statement.


A decision on Apple’s appeal, now in the Second Circuit in New York, might not be issued for another year, according to Wednesday’s filing. Consumer attorneys in the case are still hoping to get Cote’s preliminary approval of the settlement.


If its appeal is rejected, it would be more of a blow to Apple’s image than its finances. The company can easily afford to refund the money, given it has about $150 billion in cash.


India's gold imports in June up 65% to $3.12 billion

The high imports of the precious metal have marginally pushed up India's trade deficit to $11.76 billion in June from $11.28 billion a year ago period

After declining for seven months in a row, India's gold imports in June grew 65.13% to $3.12 billion from $1.88 billion in June 2013.


The high imports of the precious metal have marginally pushed up the country's trade deficit to $11.76 billion in June from $11.28 billion in the same month last year.


In October 2013, gold imports had risen 62.5% to $1.3 billion.


The government has imposed restrictions on inbound shipments of the precious metal to narrow the current account deficit (CAD). India's CAD, which is the excess of foreign exchange outflows over inflows, touched a historic high of 4.8% of GDP in 2012-13, mainly due to rising imports of petroleum products and gold.


A high CAD puts pressure on the rupee, which in turn makes imports expensive and fuels inflation.


The government had increased customs duty on gold to 10% and banned import of gold coins and medallions, while the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) linked imports of the metal to exports.


India is the largest importer of gold, which is mainly utilised to meet the demand of the jewellery industry.


The Commerce and Industry Ministry is pitching for easing of the gold import restrictions to boost gems and jewellery exports, which declined by 5% in June to $3.31 billion.


According to experts, decline in gold prices in the global market have pushed up imports in the country.


Gold in New York, which normally sets the price trend on the domestic front, fell by 0.7% to $1,297.10 an ounce after touching $1,292.60, the lowest since 19th June.


So, what is the BRICS Bank?

Here are the seven things you need to know about the New  Development Bank, formerly referred to as the BRICS Bank, which would be headed by India for first seven years

India will have the Presidency of the BRICS' $100 billion New Development Bank for six years with headquarters in China that will become operational in about two years. This is a major step for reshaping the international financial system dominated by the West.

India's presidency will be followed by Brazil and Russia who will have five years term each under an agreement reached after intense negotiations among the five country-grouping BRICS -Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The announcement about the bank and a $100 billion Currency Reserve Arrangement (CRA) that will help countries to deal with short-term liquidity pressures, was made last night at the conclusion of the VI BRICS Summit at Fortaleza attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Xi Jinping of China, Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Dilma Rousseff of Brazil.

Here are the seven things you need to know about the New Development Bank...
1. The New Development Bank, formerly referred to as the BRICS Bank is a newly established multilateral development bank operated by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The leaders of the five nations signed the document to create the $100 billion financial institution, along with $100 billion Contingent Reserve Arrangement at the 6th BRICS Summit at Fortaleza, Brazil on 15 July 2014

2. The main objective of the Bank is to foster greater financial and development cooperation among the five emerging markets. New Development Bank will essentially play the role similar to that of the World Bank – funding long term physical and social infrastructure projects in emerging economies.  The Contingent Reserve Arrangement will act more like the International Monetary Fund, helping countries mitigate short term currency crises, arising out of capital exodus.

3 .New Development Bank has been founded on the democratic principle – ‘one country, one vote’, which is at variance with the Bretton Woods institutions.

4. New Development Bank will have an initial authorised capital of $100 billion. The initial subscribed capital shall be of $50 billion, equally shared among founding members. Each country will contribute $10 billion over the next seven years.

5. The Contingent Reserve Arrangement will have $100 billion fund with China committing $41 billion, $18 billion each by India, Russia and Brazil and $5 billion by South Africa.

6. New Development Bank will be headquartered in Shanghai and its first President will be nominated by India. Chairman of the Board of Directors will come from Brazil while the Chairman of the Board of Governors will be from Russia. South Africa will host the Africa Regional Centre.

7. New Development Bank is an idea originally conceived in India. It was first proposed in July 2009, in Durban, South Africa at the  BRICS Summit. The Bank and the Fund will come into force after the respective legislatures of BRICS nations ratify their establishment.


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