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Reliance among 30 companies in negative list: Amazon to arbitrator - BusinessLine
E-comm giant prefers sale of Future Retail stake to Premji Invest
Amazon favours Future Retail selling a stake to Premji Invest and not to Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), as a 2019 agreement had listed the Mukesh Ambani company among the 30 entities to which shares could not be sold as part of a non-compete clause. Although the agreement was then signed with Future Coupons Pvt Ltd (FCPL), Amazon sees this only as a technicality because this company has a common promoter with Future Retail. This is the crux of the stand taken by Amazon at the hearing held by former Attorney-General of Singapore VK Rajah, the sole arbitrator looking into the dispute between the American retail giant and the Future Group over the latters 25,000-crore deal with RIL. At a hearing that lasted five hours, Amazon hinged its argument on alleged contract breach. In 2019, due to the FDI restrictions in the e-commerce sector, Amazon could not have invested in Future Retail; hence, it invested 1,430 crore in FCPL. If the deal between RIL and Future Retail is to happen, then Amazons investment goes waste as it will not get any returns, said a source. On the other hand, Future Retail informed the arbitrator the deal between Future Retail and RIL did not breach any contract because Amazons agreement is with FCPL, which is a separate entity. Of the five board seats of Future Retail, the promoters have only two. Hence, it was a not a decision by the promoters alone, it said. But a source close to Amazon said: In May, before the deal with RIL was announced, Amazon was informally helping Future Retail find a suitable partner. It had even recommended Premji Invest to Biyanis company. However, the Future Group decided to go ahead with the RIL deal, which is a breach of contract and anti-shareholder on multiple grounds. Singapore-based lawyer Davinder Singh appeared on behalf of Future Cuopons, the holding company of Kishore Biyani. Gopal Subramanium, former Solicitor-General of India, appeared for Amazon. P&A Law Firm, Naik & Naik Associates and AZB Associates have also been roped in for advice. The arbitrator is expected to give his verdict as early as October 26, said two people in the know. Queries sent to the arbitrators office did not elicit any response. Meanwhile, the Future Group is understood to have approached its lenders to restructure its debt under the new scheme announced by the RBI. A delay in closing the deal with RIL would leave the Future Group in severe financial crisis. Biyani would be the biggest loser in this battle between Jeff Bezos and Mukesh Ambani.
Reliance Retail gets ₹5,512.50 crore subscription amount from GIC - BusinessLine
Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), has received the subscription amount of ₹5,512.50 crore from Gamnat Pte Ltd an
Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), has received the subscription amount of 5,512.50 crore from Gamnat Pte Ltd and Lathe Investment Pte. Ltd. (GIC). Following this, the company has allotted 80,798,827 shares to GIC, it said in a regulatory filing. On October 3, RRVL raised 5,512.5 crore from global investment firm GIC in lieu of a 1.22 per cent stake. Also Read: Reliance Retail raises Rs 5,512.5 crore from GIC Earlier on October 15, RRVL has received the subscription amount of 5,550 crore from Alyssum Asia Holdings II Pte. Ltd. (KKR). Also Read: Reliance Retail Ventures gets 5,550 crore from KKR
Study shows numerous species of animals are vulnerable to Covid-19 - BusinessLine
The researchers examined how the spike protein from SARS-CoV-2 could interact with the ACE2 protein
According to a recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports, there is a growing body of evidence that at least 26 different species of animals regularly in contact with humans, are vulnerable to the novel coronavirus. For the study, the researchers examined how the spike protein from SARS-CoV-2 could interact with the ACE2 protein it attaches to when it infects people. The researchers, through their study, investigated whether coronavirus mutations could target the ACE2 receptors in 215 different animals. And, whether the binding of the virus to the receptor is stable or not. The researchers said it is unlikely based on current evidence that the virus could infect an animal if it cannot form a stable binding complex with ACE2. The researchers found that for some animals, including sheep and great apes (chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan, and bonobo, many of which are endangered in the wild), the proteins would be able to bind together just as strongly as they do when the virus infects people. Lead author Professor Christine Orengo (UCL Structural & Molecular Biology) said in an official statement: We wanted to look beyond just the animals that had been studied experimentally, to see which animals might be at risk of infection, and would warrant further investigation and possible monitoring. He added: The animals we identified may be at risk of outbreaks that could threaten endangered species or harm the livelihoods of farmers. The animals might also act as reservoirs of the virus, with the potential to re-infect humans later on, as has been documented on mink farms. The research team also performed a more detailed structural analysis of certain animals. This was done in order to gain a better understanding of how infection risks may differ across animal species. The researchers found that most birds, fish, and reptiles do not appear to be at risk of infection, but the majority of the mammals they reviewed could potentially be infected. Professor Orengo further said: The details of host infection and severity of response are more complex than just the interactions of the spike protein with ACE2, so our research is continuing to explore interactions involving other host-virus proteins. The team's findings predicted possible infection in domestic cats, dogs, mink, lions, and tigers, all of which have had reported cases, as well as ferrets and macaques, which have been infected in laboratory studies.
Dhoot family offers ₹30,000 crore to take back control of Videocon Industries - BusinessLine
Lenders to meet later this month to consider proposal under IBC rules
With no significant bids in hand for the acquisition of Videocon Industries under the NCLT-led debt resolution process, lenders will examine a proposal by the companys promoters to repay about 30,000 crore for taking back control of the conglomerate. Lenders to the company will meet later this month to consider the offer under IBC rules. We have given a proposal to the banks under Section 12A of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) that we are ready to pay the full 30,000 crore. This means there will be no haircut to the bank, a top company official told BusinessLine Videocon, which is in multiple businesses ranging from oils to consumer durables, was controlled by the Dhoot family before lenders dragged it to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in 2017. However, the lenders have not received any serious offer so far. For example, a UK-based family office made an offer of just 2,200 crore for the company. The banks will now have to either place the company under liquidation or accept the offer made by the Dhoot family. Section 12A of the IBC, under which the offer has been made, allows the withdrawal of the debt resolution proceedings under NCLT if the majority of the lenders agree to it. Banking sources said the offer made by the Dhoots is under consideration as liquidation may lead to poor debt recovery for the lenders. Company officials said the offer made by the Dhoots is similar to the debt restructuring plan agreed upon by the joint lending forum of banks in 2017. Videocon had nearly received the banks approval for the plan, but it was rejected by the RBI, which had by then asked banks to refer non-performing assets to the NCLT. Essar Steel promoters, the Ruia family, had also offered a similar plan but the lenders chose to pick a bid placed by ArcellorMittal. This was after Section 12A of the IBC was introduced, in June 2018. Since then there have been a number of debt resolution cases where lenders have been allowed to withdraw the case from the NCLT. The intent of Section 12 A is to give the corporate debtor a chance to regain control of the company by making a fresh offer to lenders. As of December 2019, 135 withdrawals have taken place via this Section.
Wearing a mask does not lead to overexposure to carbon dioxide: Study - BusinessLine
A recent study published in the journal of Annals of the American Thoracic Society stated that it is highly unlikely that a mask would cause overexposure to carbon dioxide, even for patients with lung
A recent study published in the journal of Annals of the American Thoracic Society stated that it is highly unlikely that a mask would cause overexposure to carbon dioxide, even for patients with lung issues. The researchers carried out the study after some health experts claimed that wearing masks for long period could lead to a health risk. Study co-author Michael Campos from the University of Miami said in a statement: We show that the effects are minimal at most even in people with very severe lung impairment. It likely occurs from the restriction of airflow with the mask in particular when higher ventilation is needed (on exertion), he explained, adding that shortness of breath is not due to lack of gas exchange after sporting a mask. If you're walking briskly up an incline, for example, you may experience feelings of breathlessness. An overly tight mask may also increase the feeling of breathlessness, the scientists noted in a statement. They said the solution is to slow down or remove the mask if one is at a safe distance from other people. Campos stressed the importance of wearing a face mask to prevent Covid-19 infection. The researchers also stated that if a surgical mask is not available, a cloth mask with at least two layers, as recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), should be worn. They said patients with lung disease should take extra precautions by wearing a mask, which, along with hand washing and social distancing can reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection. The authors of the study wrote: We acknowledge that our observations may be limited by sample size, however, our population offers a clear signal on the nil effect of surgical masks on relevant physiological changes in gas exchange under routine circumstances (prolonged rest, brief walking). Researchers stressed that people should not stop wearing masks due to some unsubstantiated safety concerns. They added that the public should not believe that masks kill.
Researchers believe loss of smell or taste a ‘highly reliable indicator’ of Covid-19 - BusinessLine
According to the researchers from the United Kingdom, the loss of smell or taste is a “highly reliable” indicator of the coronavirus. The researchers stressed that this should be made a global criteri
According to the researchers from the United Kingdom, the loss of smell or taste is a highly reliable indicator of the coronavirus. The researchers stressed that this should be made a global criterion for testing, tracing, and self-isolating. For the study, researchers assessed health data from primary care centres in London. Their study was published in the journal PLOS Medicine. Researchers carried out the study between April 23 and May 14 at the peak of the pandemic. The researchers sent text messages to people registered with a number of primary care centres in London who had reported a sudden loss in their sense of smell and/or taste. They then recruited a total of 590 participants via a web-based platform and responded to questions about the loss of smell and taste and other Covid-19 related symptoms. Of these, 567 had a telemedicine consultation with a healthcare professional who confirmed the history of their symptoms and supervised a test to find out if they had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The researchers concluded after a cohort study that 78 per cent of people who had reported loss of smell or taste during the initial phase of the pandemic had antibodies against the virus. Of these around 40 per cent did not have a cough, cold, or fever. Lead author professor Rachel Batterham, from University College London (UCL) Medicine and UCL Hospitals said in an official statement: As we approach the second wave of infections, early recognition of Covid-19 symptoms by the public, together with rapid self-isolation and testing will be of vital importance to limit the disease's spread. She added: Our findings show that loss of smell and taste is a highly reliable indicator that someone is likely to have Covid-19 and if we are to reduce the spread of this pandemic, it should now be considered by governments globally as a criterion for self-isolation, testing, and contact tracing. While people in the UK who experience sudden onset loss of smell or taste are advised to self-isolate and seek a test, at a global level only a few countries recognize this symptom as a Covid-19 indicator: most focus on fever and respiratory symptoms, she said. Researchers believe that the key public health message should be: people who notice a loss in their ability to smell everyday household odours. This includes garlic, onions, coffee, and perfumes should self-isolate and seek a coronavirus PCR swab test. The study is first of its kind to explore the symptom of loss of taste and smell as one of the preliminary symptoms of the virus. The study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre.
Biyani close to deal with SBI to ‘future’-proof insurance arms - BusinessLine
‘Promising’ move will help group bring down debt
Our Bureau As part of a plan to cut down on debt, the Kishore Biyani-led Future Group is all set to close a deal with State Bank of India for the sale of both the general and life insurance segments. Sources close to the development said that Future Groups discussions with State Bank of India for a possible stake sale of its insurance businesses to SBI Life Insurance and SBI General Insurance have reached the final stages. Valuations and approvals Talks are at an advanced stage for a possible merger of the two insurance arms with SBI Life and SBI General Insurance. But it is to be seen how they proceed in terms of valuations and approvals, said another person familiar with the development. In response to an e-mail query from BusinessLine, SBI Life Insurance said it does not comment on market speculation. A spokesperson for SBI General Insurance too said: We would not like to comment on market speculations. Future Generali India Life Insurance Company is a joint venture between the Future Group, global insurance major Generali Group and Industrial Investment Trust Ltd. It is present in 136 locations across the country and has covered 1.2 crore lives since inception. Similarly, Future General India Insurance is a joint venture between Future Group and Generali Group. It has over 125 branches in the country and has sold more than 82 lakh policies. Debt burden Biyani has been keen to exit or sell at least part stake in the insurance ventures for some time as he looks to bring down his debt obligations. In the past, the Future Group has also held discussions with other investors to this effect. However, sources said talks with SBI seem to have been the most promising. Just last month, Reliance Industries Ltd had announced that its subsidiary Reliance Retail Ventures would acquire the retail and wholesale business and the logistics and warehousing business from the Future Group for 24,713 crore.
80% of initially asymptomatic cases develop Covid-19 symptoms later: Study - BusinessLine
According to a new study published in the journal PLOS Medicine, true asymptomatic cases of the novel coronavirus comprise a minority of infections.The researchers at the University of Bern, Switzerla
According to a new study published in the journal PLOS Medicine, true asymptomatic cases of the novel coronavirus comprise a minority of infections. The researchers at the University of Bern, Switzerland, and colleagues, maintained that the world is yet to know the full spectrum of the coronavirus and how it gets transmitted. Authors mentioned in their study that some Covid-19 positive people may experience severe infections that can even lead to viral pneumonia, respiratory distress syndrome, and death. While others demonstrate no symptoms at all and remain completely asymptomatic or have nonspecific symptoms. The researchers conducted the study to better understand the proportion of asymptomatic people with SARS-CoV-2 who never show any symptoms and the proportion of people who are asymptomatic at the time of diagnosis but develop symptoms later. For the study, the researchers reviewed the literature of 79 studies that reported empirical data on 6,616 people, 1,287 of whom were defined as asymptomatic. The researchers estimated that 20 per cent of infections remained asymptomatic during follow-up. The limitation of the study was that it could not ascertain the cases of false negatives among asymptomatic cases. The researchers noted that accurate estimations of both cases are important to better understand the distribution of the virus Researchers revealed that around 80 per cent of asymptomatic cases eventually develop the symptoms of the virus. This means that presymptomatic transmission may significantly contribute to overall SARS CoV-2 epidemics. Diana Buitrago-Garcia at the University of Bern said in a statement cited in PLOS: The findings of this systematic review of publications early in the pandemic suggests that most SARS-CoV-2 infections are not asymptomatic throughout the course of infection. The contribution of presymptomatic and asymptomatic infections to overall SARS-CoV-2 transmission means that combination prevention measures, with enhanced hand and respiratory hygiene, testing and tracing, and isolation strategies and social distancing, will continue to be needed, Buitrago-Garcia added.
Japan’s supercomputer finds face visors almost 100% ineffective at preventing Covid-19 spread: Report - BusinessLine
Non-woven fabric face masks found more effective at trapping droplets, and containing Covid-19 transmission than cotton and polyester masks
The worlds fastest supercomputer of Japan Fugaku found that plastic face visors are almost 100 per cent ineffective at trapping respiratory aerosols. Fugaku used a simulation to find out that droplets that are less than 5 micrometers in size could easily escape through face visors. The visors are extensively used by corporate staff, and airline staff, among others. Researchers also said that half of the droplets of 50 micrometers in size could escape the valve. Researchers warned people against using face visors as an alternative to face masks. Also read: India may be detecting 1 in 4 Covid-19 cases: Mathematical expert Tsubokura told the Guardian: Judging from the results of the simulation, unfortunately, the effectiveness of face guards in preventing droplets from spreading from an infected persons mouth is limited compared with masks. He further added that small droplets easily escape through the small gap between the face and the visor. Tsubokura recommended visors only for those who face difficulty in breathing after wearing a face mask. Small children can also sport a visor but only in properly-ventilated outdoors or in indoor settings. Fugaku also discovered that non-woven fabric face masks are more effective at trapping the droplets and containing the transmission of the virus than those made of cotton and polyester. Another study corroborates that face visors are infective in controlling the spread of the pandemic. The study was carried out by scientists at Florida Atlantic University where researchers showed, through their model, that aerosol droplets spread around visors and pass through mask valves. They added that such coverings are not as reliable as masks made of cloth and medical masks, Sky News reported.
Iodine solution can completely inactivate Covid-19: Study - BusinessLine
A recent study carried out by the researchers from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine suggested that iodine solution may help in preventing the spread of novel coronavirus, as per the st
A recent study carried out by the researchers from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine suggested that iodine solution may help in preventing the spread of novel coronavirus, as per the study published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. For the study, the researchers observed the reaction of the virus in three different iodine concentrations -- 0.5 per cent, 1.25 per cent, and 2.5 per cent. Researchers found that all three concentrations, including the weakest 0.5, can completely inactivate the virus. The solutions inactivated the virus within 15 seconds. The same test was conducted with ethanol alcohol, but it did not show any promising results. An earlier study cited in the Times Now report also found that the iodine solution is remedial against other similar infections, including SARS and MERS. Researchers maintained in their study that these solutions can be used in the form of nasal disinfectants and can be induced in patients before intranasal procedures. This could help reduce the risk of viral spread through droplets and aerosols. Researchers further mentioned that medical professionals could instruct patients to use the solution before their appointments. This will help prevent the spread of the virus in waiting rooms and common areas of the hospitals/clinics. Researchers also added that this method could reduce the risk of coronavirus positive patients developing critical symptoms of the virus. It can help decrease the viral load that travels to the lungs. The authors wrote: "Povidone-iodine nasal irrigation may be beneficial for the population at large as an adjunct to mask usage as a means of virus mitigation." However, researchers also warned the public to not try this at home. They concluded that the nasal wash is best done under the supervision of a clinician only.