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Coca-Cola loses $4 billion after Ronaldo gesture

London: Coca-Cola has said that “everyone is entitled to their drink preferences” after football star Cristiano Ronaldo removed two of the company’s soft drink bottles from his press conference. The incident happened during Ronaldo’s press conference.

At the pre-match press conference for UEFA Euro 2020, the Portuguese star wasn’t pleased with the fact that two Coca-Cola bottles were kept in front of him. 

So, he moved the bottles out of the camera view and encouraged people to drink water instead. 

This gesture took $4 billion from Coca-Cola’s market value and its shares dropped 1.6 per cent.

Later, in a statement, a Coca-Cola spokesperson said, “Players are offered water, alongside Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, on arrival at our press conferences.” The spokesperson added that people have different “tastes and needs”.

Coca-Cola is one of the official sponsors of Euro 2020.

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Twitter loses status of intermediary platform in India

New Delhi: Social media platform Twitter has lost its status of intermediary platform in India over non-compliance to the new intermediary guidelines.

As a result of the development, the company has lost its legal shield in the country from prosecution over posts.

“Twitter has lost its status as an intermediary platform in India as it has not complied with new guidelines,” an official source said.

Further, in a series of Tweets, Union Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that there are numerous queries arising as to whether Twitter is entitled to safe harbour provision.

“However, the simple fact of the matter is that Twitter has failed to comply with the Intermediary Guidelines that came into effect from the 26th of May,” he added.

On Tuesday, the micro-blogging platform said that it has appointed an interim Chief Compliance Officer, the details of which would be soon shared with the IT Ministry directly.

On the row over an alleged fake video in Uttar Pradesh, the minister said: “What happened in UP was illustrative of Twitter’s arbitrariness in fighting fake news.”

He was of the view that while Twitter has been over enthusiastic about its fact checking mechanism, it’s failure to act in multiple cases like UP is perplexing and indicates its inconsistency in fighting misinformation.

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Adani Group cos say FPI accounts not frozen

New Delhi: Denying freezing of accounts of three foreign portfolio investors (FPI) holding shares in Adani Group companies by the NSDL, group companies have said that such reports are “erroneous” and “misleading”.

In separate communications to the BSE and the National Stock Exchange (NSE), all the listed Adani Group companies said that it has confirmation from the Registrar and Transfer Agent that the accounts have not been frozen.

“Given the seriousness of the article and its consequential adverse impact on minority investors, we requested Registrar and Transfer Agent, with respect to the status of the Demat Account of the aforesaid funds and have their written confirmation vide its e-mail dated 14th June, 2021, clarifying that the Demat Account in which the aforesaid funds hold the shares of the Company are not frozen,” said the letter.

“We regret to mention that these reports are blatantly erroneous and is done to deliberately mislead the investing community. This is causing irreparable loss of economic value to the investors at large and reputation of the group.”

Adani Power, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone, Adani Enterprises, Adani Total Gas, Adani Green Energy and Adani Transmission have written separate but similar letters to the exchanges.

The companies said that they are issuing these letters in the larger public interest and for the protection of minority investors’ interest.

Shares of Adani Group companies tumbled to their lower circuits on Monday after the reports of National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL) freezing the three FPI accounts.

As per the NSDL website, the depository has frozen the accounts of Albula Investment Fund Ltd, Cresta Fund Ltd and APMS Investment Fund Ltd as of May 31, 2021.

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Innovation came to rescue during Covid: Modi

New Delhi: Inviting investors to the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that innovation came to the rescue during Covid as he highlighted India’s major benefits for both investors and innovators.

Delivering his keynote address at the 5th edition of VivaTech, one of the largest digital and start-up events in Europe, he said: “Covid-19 put many of our conventional methods to test. However, it was innovation that came to the rescue. By innovation, I refer to: Innovation before the pandemic. Innovation during the pandemic.”

“When I speak about innovation before the pandemic, I refer to the pre-existing advances which helped us during the pandemic. Digital technology helped us cope, connect, comfort and console. Through digital media, we could work, talk with our loved ones and help others,” he said.

Modi stated that the second part, innovation for the pandemic refers to how humanity rose to the occasion and made the fight against it more effective and in this, the role of the country’s start-up sector, has been paramount.

“India’s strides in the world of tech and start-up are well-known. Our nation is home to one of the world’s largest start-up eco systems. Several unicorns have come up in recent years,” he said.

The Prime Minister said: “India offers what innovators and investors need.I invite the world to invest in India based on the five pillars of Talent, Market, Capital, Eco-system and Culture of openness.”

Citing reforms in different sectors, he said: “We, in India, implemented huge reforms across sectors, be it mining, space, banking, atomic energy and more. This goes on to show that India as a nation is adaptable and agile, even in the middle of the pandemic.”

Stressing India’s extensive relation with France, he said: “India and France have been working closely on a wide range of subjects. Among these, technology and digital are emerging areas of cooperation.”

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US Chamber of Commerce sends aid to help India fight Covid

Washington: The Global Task Force on Pandemic Response, a newly-formed public-private partnership formed by the US Chamber of Commerce with nearly 40 tech giants on board, on Wednesday announced to start sending crucial aid to address the grim Covid situation in India.

Supported by the non-profit Business Roundtable, the Task Force will coordinate a coalition of corporations, nonprofits and individual efforts to organise 1,000 Medtronic ventilators (to be delivered to India starting Wednesday), 25,000 oxygen concentrators scheduled to be delivered by the end of May (thousands already delivered) and offer practical guidance on supporting employees in India via a network of human resources.

Medtronic will manufacture the ventilators and handle end-to-end shipping, installation and ongoing and virtual training.

The Task Force said in a statement that it is working with the Chamber’s US-India Business Council and the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum towards helping India.

“The Global Task Force is working in close collaboration with the US and Indian government officials to share information and coordinate efforts. This includes regular briefings with the Narendra Modi and Joe Biden administrations, US Congress, US State Department and the US Agency for International Development,” the statement added.

The Global Task Force on Pandemic Response was launched last month to provide a unified platform for businesses to mobilise and deliver resources to assist Covid control efforts in areas of the highest need around the world.

The initial efforts will focus on the pressing need for support in India.

“What we are witnessing in India is a stark reminder that while the US has turned a corner in our efforts to combat the pandemic, our global partners are facing a staggering health crisis that requires a substantial public-private response,” Suzanne Clark, President and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, had said in an earlier statement.

The coalition of leading companies and associations that have come together to support the cause includes Accenture, Adobe, Amazon, American Express, Apple, Citi, Dell, Deloitte, Facebook, FedEx, Goldman Sachs, IBM, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, Mastercard, Microsoft, Pfizer, Qualcomm Foundation, VMware, and Walmart, among others.

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RBI unleashes liquidity support to suppress Covid turbulence

Mumbai: India’s Reserve Bank has initiated several liquidity boosting measures to combat economic turbulence unleashed by the resurgence of Covid-19.

In a virtual address, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das announced a number of liquidity enhancement and targeted measures to ease the build of economic strain seen recently.

“As in the recent past, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will continue to monitor the emerging situation and deploy all resources and instruments at its command in the service of the nation, especially for our citizens, business entities and institutions beleaguered by the second wave,” he said.

“The devastating speed with which the virus affects different regions of the country has to be matched by swift-footed and wide-ranging actions that are calibrated, sequenced and well-timed so as to reach out to various sections of society and business, right down to the smallest and the most vulnerable.”

Accordingly, RBI will conduct the second purchase of G-Secs worth Rs 35,000 crore on May 20.

“Domestic financial conditions remain easy on abundant and surplus system liquidity. The average daily net liquidity absorption under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) was at Rs 5.8 lakh crore in April 2021,” Das said.

“G-SAP has engendered a softening bias in G- sec yields which has continued since then… With system liquidity assured, the RBI is now focusing on increasingly channelising its liquidity operations to support growth impulses, especially at the grassroot level.”

The first auction under G-SAP 1.0 was conducted on April 15, 2021 for a notified amount of Rs 25,000 crore.

Besides, RBI announced a targeted on-tap liquidity window of Rs 50,000 crore to set up Covid-related healthcare infra till March 31, 2022.

“Under the scheme, banks can provide fresh lending support to a wide range of entities including vaccine manufacturers; importers or suppliers of vaccines and priority medical devices; hospitals or dispensaries; pathology labs; manufactures and suppliers of oxygen and ventilators; importers of vaccines and Covid related drugs; logistics firms and also patients for treatment.”

“Banks are being incentivised for quick delivery of credit under the scheme through extension of priority sector classification to such lending up to March 31, 2022. These loans will continue to be classified under priority sector till repayment or maturity, whichever is earlier.”

According to Das, banks may deliver these loans to borrowers directly or through intermediary financial entities regulated by the RBI.

Furthermore, the Reserve Bank will allow restructuring for borrowers with exposure of Rs 25 crore, who have not been beneficiaries of RBI’s previous loan restructuring schemes.

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RBI extends video KYC to new customers

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India did not stop at providing liquidity enhancement measures to tackle the current economic strain unleashed by the resurgence of a Covid-19 wave. It also rationalised certain compliance matters to provide ease of doing business for consumers.

Accordingly, RBI governor Shaktikanta Das, in his virtual address on Wednesday also announced rationalisation of compliance to KYC requirements.

Taking forward the initiatives of the apex bank for enhancing customer convenience, it has now been decided to rationalise certain components of the extant KYC norms including extension of the scope of video KYC known as V-CIP (video-based customer identification process) for new categories of customers such as proprietorship firms, authorised signatories and beneficial owners of Legal Entities and for periodic updation of KYC.

The easing of compliance measures also includes conversion of limited KYC accounts opened on the basis of Aadhaar e-KYC authentication in non face-to-face mode to fully KYC-compliant accounts. Also, the RBI has allowed the use of KYC Identifier of Centralised KYC Registry (CKYCR) for V-CIP and submission of electronic documents (including identity documents issued through DigiLocker) as identity proof.

Banks have also been asked to introduce more customer-friendly options, including the use of digital channels for the purpose of periodically updating KYC details of customers.

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India assures ramp up in supply of oxygen, Remdesivir to states

New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman praised the Indian industry for its extreme forbearance, patience and perseverance, using Japanese word ‘Gamanzuyoi’.

Addressing more than 150 senior industry captains in a virtual interaction organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), she emphasised on the need for adopting micro-containment strategy in dealing with the second surge of the pandemic and acknowledged that the deliberations with CII had helped shaped this strategy.

Explaining the rationale, the Finance Minister said that unlike last time, the government now has important tools such as vaccines and medicines to deal with the pandemic.

On meeting the phenomenal increase in demand for medical oxygen, a critical treatment tool for Covid-19, she assured seamless supply to states. Measures that the government is taking include importing medical oxygen, round the clock working of oxygen filling stations and allowing containers used for nitrogen and argon to be used for oxygen, she added.

Sitharaman also gave details of government initiatives to help ramp up capacity of Remdesivir from 36 lakh vials per month to 78 lakh vials per month. Some of these measures include rapid clearances for new capacities, stopping exports, stopping the exports of APIs and formulations used in the manufacture of this life saving drug, and allowing EoUs and manufacturers located in SEZs to also sell in the domestic market, she said.

During the interaction, CII members manufacturing Remdesivir apprised the Finance Minister that they were in fact working towards exceeding the committed target of 78 lakh vials per month and aiming to reach a production of 1 crore vials per month.

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Biden’s summit: UK sets target to slash emissions by 78%

New Delhi/New York: Ahead of Britain Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the opening session of the US Leaders’ Summit on Climate, hosted by US President Joe Biden on Earth Day, the UK government announced to set the world’s most ambitious climate change target into law to reduce emissions by 78 per cent by 2035 compared to 1990 levels.

For the first time, the UK’s sixth Carbon Budget will incorporate the UK’s share of international aviation and shipping emissions, bringing more than three-quarters of the way to net zero by 2050.

In line with the recommendation from the independent Climate Change Committee, this sixth Carbon Budget limits the volume of greenhouse gases emitted over a five-year period from 2033 to 2037.

According to the UK government, the Carbon Budget will ensure Britain remains on track to end its contribution to climate change while remaining consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goal to limit global warming to well below 2oC and pursue efforts towards 1.5oC.

Enshrining the new target in law to slash emissions was announced on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Johnson said: “We want to continue to raise the bar on tackling climate change, and that’s why we’re setting the most ambitious target to cut emissions in the world.

“The UK will be home to pioneering businesses, new technologies and green innovation as we make progress to net zero emissions, laying the foundations for decades of economic growth in a way that creates thousands of jobs.

“We want to see world leaders follow our lead and match our ambition in the run up to the crucial climate summit COP26, as we will only build back greener and protect our planet if we come together to take action.”

The government is already working towards its commitment to reduce emissions in 2030 by at least 68 per cent compared to 1990 levels through the UK’s latest Nationally Determined Contribution — the highest reduction target made by a major economy to date.

Today’s world-leading announcement builds on this goal to achieve a 78 per cent reduction by 2035.

The new target will become enshrined in law by the end of June 2021.

Prior to enshrining its net zero commitment in law, the UK had a target of reducing emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 — through Tuesday’s sixth Carbon Budget announcement, the government is aiming to achieve almost the same level 15 years earlier.

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Second wave casts a cloud over fragile aviation sector

Mumbai: India’s second wave of covid-19 has cast a cloud over its airlines, which were barely recovering from the harsh lockdown of 2020.

Domestic passenger traffic has been rising every month since airlines returned to the skies in June. However, in the week ended April 3, fewer Indians flew than the week before, the second straight weekly fall in passenger numbers. 

According to a report by ICICI Securities, an average of 239,000 people took domestic flights every day during the week, less than the 251,000 people who travelled in the previous week.

This is the first time in the last three months that passenger traffic declined. In comparison, domestic passenger traffic in the first week of March stood at 18,14,867. Domestic passenger traffic in the first seven days of January and February stood at 16,22,249 and 17,41,013, respectively, as per data.

Meanwhile, amid the rising number of Covid cases in the country, the government has barred meals on flights with less than 2-hour duration.

Further, in terms of longer flights, the servicing of inflight meals would have to be staggered among the adjacent seats as far as possible, according to an office memorandum issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

“Crew shall wear a fresh set of gloves for each meal/beverage service,” the notification added.

Scheduled domestic flights were resumed on May 25 last year after Covid related lockdown, and the ministry had then allowed the airlines to serve in-flight meals under certain conditions.

The ministry said it has decided to review the on-board meal services in domestic flights in view of the increasing threat of Covid-19 and its variants.

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