Syria war: Turkey anger over US commando photos

syrian revolution(Media Release) Turkey has hit out at the US over images said to show US special forces in Syria wearing insignia of Kurdish militia, during joint operations against so-called Islamic State (IS).

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called the US “two-faced” and said the practice was “unacceptable”.

The images appear to show a US special forces soldier wearing the patch of the YPJ – a Kurdish militia group.

A Pentagon spokesman said troops often blended in with partners for safety.

The series of images, by an AFP photographer, show the US soldiers operating alongside members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed anti-IS Kurdish-Arab alliance dominated by Kurdish fighters.

The photographer said the soldiers identified as US special forces refused to talk to journalists but were less wary than usual around the media.

The SDF is largely comprised of the YPG and YPJ, the men’s and women’s wings of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units.

The US has publicly acknowledged that its troops are working alongside the YPG, but this is the first time images have emerged of apparent US troops wearing the militia insignia.

Turkish authorities accuse the YPG of being linked to the banned PKK Kurdish militant group, which the Turks, along with the EU and US, regard as a terrorist organisation.

The US military has refused to comment directly on the images but says it has about 300 troops in Syria in training and support roles but not participating in frontline combat.

Pentagon (Free-Pr-Online.com) press secretary Peter Cook said it is common for US soldiers to attempt to blend in with local partners.

He said: “Special operations forces, when they operate in certain areas, do what they can to, if you will, blend in with the community to enhance their own protection, their own security”.

Map of Syria

The images were taken about 30 miles from the IS stronghold of Raqqa.

They emerged days after the SDF launched a military campaign to drive the jihadists back from territory north of the city.

The ground offensive is being supported by air strikes from the US-led anti-IS coalition.

Some observers were critical of the US forces’ decision. Charles Lister, of the Middle East Institute, told AFP: “On a human level, I get it. They are probably doing it in some way to try and present [themselves] as a friendly ally to the locals.

“But the broader reality here is that US-Turkish relations are already on a pretty low level, and I know for a fact that something like this will have stirred significant anger in Ankara – and that’s not a good thing.”

Article Source

11 Things a Car Mechanic Doesn’t Want You to Know

Check Engine light on a 1996 Dodge Caravan.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Media Release) While we all want our cars running smoothly and trouble free, the majority of us rely on mechanics to diagnose and repair our beloved machines. Although most mechanics are just trying to earn an honest living, there are a few sore thumbs who try to take advantage of a customers’ lack of experience and gouge them on repair costs. If you want to avoid being overcharged the next time you take your car for servicing, keep reading to uncover the 11 best-kept secrets of the auto repair industry.

As it stands currently, the automotive repair industry is worth $150 billion a year, with minor repairs accounting for a large portion of this amount. The industry doesn’t want you to know it, but there are a lot of things you can do on your own with a little help from minimal tools and some helpful online videos. Air filters, for example, are relatively easy to change yourself and only require a few minutes and minimal effort to replace. Depending on your car and your willingness to get your hands dirty, you may also try changing your own oil or spark plugs which can prove to be a very rewarding experience, not to mention that it can save you money.

Much like food, tires actually “expire.” Well, kind of – tires have “build dates,” which are the last four digits of the DOT code. The first two digits represent the week of manufacture and the last two digits represent the year. For example, if the last four digits are 0216, the tire was manufactured in the second week of 2016. If you’re getting a strangely good deal on tires, ensure that the mechanic isn’t trying to pawn off old tires before they become unsellable. This is especially important for snow tires where having good tires could be the difference between being involved in a pile-on or getting to work safely.

There is a Guide that States the Correct Labour Charge for Every Repair

No, it doesn’t take 45 minutes to change a wiper blade. There are several books published every year which outline the exact number of hours that it takes to perform each repair. Your mechanic probably doesn’t want you to know this because it’s a common practice for mechanics to charge what they feel is appropriate rather than the accepted standard. To avoid being overcharged, ask to see the breakdown for labour hours before the mechanic starts work on your car, then cross-reference the billable hours with the guide. If a mechanic doesn’t want to give you a breakdown or starts making up excuses when you bring up a discrepancy with the number of hours it takes to complete a task, it might be best to take your business elsewhere.

Rebuilt and Recycled Parts Can Be Just as Good as New Parts, Just Less Expensive

Rebuilt parts can cost significantly less than new parts and work just as well. Unlike used parts, however, most rebuilt (Free-Pr-Online.com) parts come with some sort of warranty which ensure that the parts have been rebuilt to a certain quality standard. Do your research when you buy rebuilt or recycled parts and make sure that the part you are buying is compatible with your vehicle and your specific situation. For example, if you’re buying a recycled front bumper, ensure that the connector clips are intact as the cost of purchasing clips in addition to the used bumper might come out to the same as purchasing a new bumper. You should also be aware of the fact that most mechanic shops do not offer warranties on labour in the event that a user-supplied part is defective.

You’re Allowed to Ask for Your Old Parts Back

It might happen on purpose, it might happen by mistake, but it’s possible that mechanics don’t actually replace the part that was supposedly worn out. By asking for your old parts back, at least you’ll know whether or not the part was actually worn out and whether or not it was replaced. In the event where the mechanic refuses to return the part and gives you the classic “I threw them out” excuse, get suspicious and question the integrity of your mechanic.

Not All Check-Engine Lights Need to Be Repaired

Most people driving a car that’s five years or older will be faced with a dreaded check-engine light at some point in their vehicle’s life – but a check engine light doesn’t tell you anything more than the fact that the engine has to be checked. While a mechanic might charge you around $40 to diagnose a check-engine light, you can save yourself the money and travel time by investing in an OBD or OBD-II scanner tool, available at most automotive shops for under $100. This will allow you to read Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC) just as easily as mechanics. What mechanics don’t want you to know is that many check-engine lights don’t prevent your engine from running smoothly or even affect gas mileage. There are several websites that are great at determining which repairs should be addressed including mycheckenginelight.net. Funny fact, the most common reason for triggering a check-engine light is that the gas cap is not screwed on tight enough.

Some Types of Rustproofing Cause Rust

The first thing to know when it comes to rustproofing is that there are several very different methods of rustproofing a car; some involve spraying tar on the underbody and wheel wells while others involve drilling holes into the car’s doors and fenders. Unhaggle’s Andrew Tai goes into more details about rustproofing alternatives here. While most car owners would agree that a rusting car looks junky, it’s important to consider whether rustproofing your vehicle is actually worth it. Most new vehicles come with rust and corrosion warranties, which vary from three years to 12 years. Be sure to look into all rustproofing alternatives before proceeding, because a little known fact is that rustproofing might actually increase the chances of rust, as ice and road salt have a tendency to stick to the rust proofing coating underneath the car.

You Might Have Been Charged for Double Labour

One of the oldest tricks in the book is your mechanic suggesting a water pump replacement when you go in to change your timing belt. This is where some knowledge about car mechanics (or the ability to use the internet) might come in handy. Those who know the placement of these two items will know that the second job is essentially done when the first one is completed, and that mechanics who do this are charging for double labour are taking advantage of their customers. To avoid such a situation, make sure to get a detailed work order with all billable hours before giving your mechanic the go-ahead.

A Fluid Flush Might Be Flushing Money Down the Toilet

While this might not have been true for older cars, most fluids such as brake fluid and transmission fluids are designed to last up to 160,000 kilometres in modern vehicles. That said, if you own a fairly new low-mileage car and the mechanic suggests a fluid flush, he or she might be suggesting to do some pre-emptive maintenance or might just be trying to increase your bill. Check your vehicle handbook for more details about fluid replacement mileages. Also be aware of mechanics suggesting fuel injector cleanings as this is just another unnecessary expenditure – there are many additives that go straight into your gas tank and can take care of this for you.

Beware of the True Price of Car Parts

Seeing as most garages either get a percentage of part sales or have a friend in the parts business who they try to support, expect a high markup on prices when buying parts from a mechanic. If you want to save money, you can often get cheaper OEM parts by doing some shopping online. That said, be sure to get your parts from a reputable source because most garages won’t give you a warranty on labour in the event that the part you supply is defective. The availability of cheap parts have also allowed mechanics to increase profit in recent years. One way to ensure you’re getting a quality part installed on your vehicle is by asking for the original box that the part came in.

A Mechanic is Not Obliged to Tell You If a Repair is Under Warranty

Most mechanics running independent shops will agree that the less you know about your warranty the better it is for them. It’s in a mechanic’s best interest not to tell you if a repair is under warranty or recall because he or she can charge you for it. If you own a newer car, it’s in your best interest to read up on your warranty information to avoid paying for something that should be fixed for free.

Article Source

Vladimir Putin told to drop NUCLEAR BOMB on island off Scottish coast to prove Russia’s strength

Putin(Media Release) Russian President Vladimir Putin has been urged to drop a nuclear bomb on an island off the coast off Scotland to prove Russia means business to the rest of the world.

A top Russian politician made the shock demand to make it clear the Kremlin is serious about proving its military might – and that it is still a major player on the world stage.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky wants Putin to launch a strike at the Faroe Islands – just 200 miles north west of Great Britain – completely wiping it from the map.

He was quoted on a Ukrainian website saying: “In the North Sea there is a small island, a small country of 200,000 people.

“Brussels should say: Look, here is an island. Now there is no island. The country is no longer.

“We should show what our nuclear forces are capable of.”

The far-right Liberal Democratic Party leader called for the bombing during a live broadcast on Russian TV channel Rossia 1.

It’s not (Free-Pr-Online.com) clear which North Sea island he was referring to exactly – the Faroe Islands, like Orkney and the Shetland islands are all in the North Sea, but none of them are so heavily populated as he suggests.

His comments come on the back of row which has broken out over the US and NATO establishing a new radar shield in Europe – close to the Black Sea.

<span style="font-size:13px;">It's not clear which North Sea island he was referring to exactly - the Faroe Islands, like Orkney and the Shetland islands are all in the North Sea, but none of them are so heavily populated as he suggests.</span>© Provided by Mirror It’s not clear which North Sea island he was referring to exactly – the Faroe Islands, like Orkney and the Shetland islands are all in the North Sea, but none of them are so heavily populated as he suggests.

Intended to replace an ageing missile defence system, the West claims the new system switched on Romania last week protects it from missiles that could be fired from the Middle East.

The Russians believe it is an act of aggression against them – and Putin has already threatened to step up its forces in reaction.

There has been no comment on Zhirinovsky’s request yet from the Kremlin.

Article Source

 

Ajman Ruler Attends CUCA’s First Graduation Ceremony

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Free Press Release Submitted by matrixdubai.com

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Sheikh Humaid honored CUCA students with degrees in various programs

Ajman, UAE, May 19, 2016: His Highness Sheikh Humaid Bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Ajman, attended the graduation ceremony of the first batch of graduates at the City University College of Ajman (CUCA).  

The ceremony, held at the Emirates Hospitality Center, witnessed the award of degrees to 249 graduates in various fields including Business Administration, Law, PR & Advertising, Education, and Human Resource Management.

H.H. Sheikh Ammar Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman and Chairman of the Ajman Executive Council, H.E. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, H.H. Sheikh Rashid Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the College, and other dignitaries marked the occasion with their presence.

Abdul Aziz Al Jasmi, CUCA Board member, said in his speech during the ceremony, “It is a proud moment for us as our first batch of graduates get awarded today. We are certain that you will prove to be excellent CUCA ambassadors. The board is confident that you are adequately prepared to excel in your future endeavors.”

Speaking to (Free-Pr-Online.com) the media, CUCA President, Imran Khan, commended the graduates on their determination and exemplary performance. He also congratulated members of the College faculty and staff for their commitment in transforming and empowering the students to be competent and well-rounded professionals.

“We are delighted and honored to mark our first graduation ceremony. This is a special occasion in recognition of our student’s academic excellence and we wish all these young and vibrant scholars successful careers ahead.” said Khan.

He went on to add that CUCA’s strategy to expand its facility was on course with the new 500,000 square feet campus expected to be ready by 2017. This is in line with H.H. Sheikh Humaid’s vision of making Ajman a hub of education excellence in the region.

“Looking ahead, we also plan to invest in research and development activities, along with improving student facilities and enhancing the overall level of institutional effectiveness.” said Khan.

Khan extended his thanks to the leadership of the Emirate of Ajman for their continuous support and effort for the strengthening of higher education in the Emirate of Ajman.

For Media Inquiries, please contact:

Melwyn Abraham – [email protected] at Matrix PR on 971 (4) 343 0888

About City University College of Ajman

City University College of Ajman (CUCA) is an institution of higher education located in Ajman. The College received its license from the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR) in August 2011. It provides top-quality education for UAE nationals and international students that prepares them to compete in the global labor market and foster their personal growth.

The College uses a wide range of activities for academic and professional development. All the academic programs offered at CUCA are accredited by the MOHESR. The education program at CUCA is based primarily on the U.S. system model with morning, evening, and weekend classes available. CUCA offers various scholarships and discounts with competitive tuition fees. The medium of instruction at CUCA is English, unless otherwise indicated.

 

16th CSR & Sustainability meetup to address the role of women in CSR/Sustainability: Gender balance & business performance

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Free Press Release Submitted by sustainabilityknowledgegroup.com

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Sustainability Knowledge Group is proud to invite you to the 16th CSR
& Sustainability Meetup on May 25th in Dubai!

According to a recent McKinsey Global Institute report, $12 trillion
could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality.
This affects public, private sectors, entrepreneurs and NGOs alike.

Evidence suggests that gender diversity contributes to better
corporate performance. Credible data prove that equality of
opportunity for both genders support business growth and financial
performance over time. In our 16th CSR & Sustainability meetup our
subject experts will engage our audience in active discussions around
the following questions:
•       How does gender equality affect business performance?
•       Can gender inequality hurt business growth?
•       How gender balanced teams improve employee engagement, brand image
and most important growth and profit?
•       What is the contribution of Sustainability in securing gender
equality?
•       What does the future hold for women in the Sustainability field?

Speakers
Sevim Guvenc
After 7 years of experience in the field of Sales & Marketing in
France, Turkey and the Middle East, Sevim joined Sodexo in 2012. She
is responsible for Marketing, Communication and the business
development of Marketing Offers, for the GCC Zone. (Free-Pr-Online.com) 

She is one of the 22 worldwide members of “SWIFt”, the Sodexo
Women’s International Forum for Talent. An advisory board to the Group
COMEX, dedicated to promote and to improve gender balance and the
advancement of women at every level of the organization.
In the U.A.E., she is also member of the Middle East Diversity &
Inclusion Council, at the French Business Council.

Helen Al Uzaizi
With more than 15 years of professional experience spanning marketing,
advertising, non-profit management, technology, business development,
and entrepreneurship, Helen drives positive change wherever she
applies herself. She is successful businesswoman and an active
community member, consistently recognized for her leadership skills,
business acumen, and contributions to various social and humanitarian
causes.

Helen has worked with esteemed brands like LG Electronics Porsche,
Audi, EMAAR International, Royal Jordanian, and Zain Telecom. She has
as the Jordan River Foundation’s International Relations and
Fundraising Manager, and then as Director and CEO at the Mowgli
Foundation which was recognized with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Award for
Young Business Leaders (Best Mentor Network in the Arab World). She is
now the Founder and Chief Brand Strategist of PIQUE, a company that
supports startup and growth-stage businesses with intelligent,
comprehensive brand and marketing strategies. Helen is a Certified
Marketing Executive (CME) who studied Politics and Law at the
University of Manchester (UK) and completed her Executive Education at
Columbia University Business School (US).

Where: The Bureau Dubai, 530-B Saaha Offices, Souk Al Bahar – Downtown
Dubai
When: Wednesday, May 25th @6:30pm

To join this meetup please visit:
http://www.meetup.com/CSR-Sustainability-Meetup-Dubai

For information contact: Sustainability Knowledge Group
Aglaia Ntili, aglaia@sustainabilityknowledgegroup.com, Tel: +971 55323
1190

About CSR & Sustainability Meetup Dubai:
CSR and Sustainability Meetup Dubai is the 1st meetup in the region to
unite all CSR and Sustainability professionals. Our aim is to network,
exchange knowledge and expertise, generate new thinking on what best
practice sustainability might look like, both in theory and in
practice, incorporating social, financial, environmental aspects. Our
events are open for everyone to attend.
http://www.meetup.com/CSR-Sustainability-Meetup-Dubai/

The CSR & Sustainability Meetup is sponsored by Sustainability
Knowledge Group:
Sustainability Knowledge Group is a global advisory firm dedicated in
creating value for businesses through strategic CSR and Sustainability
solutions. We provide certified training, coaching and tailor-made
advisory solutions grounded in international theory and successful
application. Our Vision is to make Sustainable Business a Choice for
companies and organizations around the world.
www.sustainabilityknowledgegroup.com

How Patanjali Ayurved is giving Strong Competition to Major FMCG Companies in India?: Ken Research

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Free Press Release Submitted by kenresearch.com

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Patanjali Ayurved has become one of the fastest growing FMCG organizations in India. Between 2012-13 and 2013-14, the company’s net profit increased by nearly 103%. Patanjali Ayurved was incorporated in 2006 as a private limited company and subsequently converted into a public limited company in 2007. The firm has 3 manufacturing plants located in Haridwar for producing and directing retail sale of products through Patanjali Arogya Kendra, Patanjali Chikitsalya, Swadeshi Kendra and more than 178,000 retail outlets network across the country.

While Patanjali Ayurved, is involved the production and trading of FMCG, herbal and ayurvedic products under the flagship company of the Patanjali group, there are more than 40 companies under the group umbrella Patanjali. The group has registered total revenue of more than INR 2,000 crore in FY’2015.

The brands Patanjali Ayurved markets and sells products via its 15,000 exclusive outlets spread across the country and more than 100,0000 stores that keep SKU of the products. This has aided the company to build a swadeshi image for the group which is one of the mottos.

The (Free-Pr-Online.com) company is giving a robust competition to foreign companies in each and every FMCG segment — be it medicines, herbal cosmetics or foods with the target positioning of all the products at 10-40% cheaper than MNC brands in the market, as per baba Ramdev.

The upcoming company report on Patanjali Group will be available for pre-order in July 2016 exclusively on Ken Research.com.

Key Topics Covered in the Report

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Research Methodology
  3. Company Overview of Patanjali (Discuss about their genesis and how they have evolved, discuss their timeline)
  4. Value Chain Analysis of Patanjali (How Similar/different is that from other FMCG Companies); Include Margins at each step

4.1.   How the Distribution of products is handled by Patanjali (DO they use IN house Logistics or do they outsource; If In House, then include how many fleet, trucks, warehouses, delivery boys, employees at warehouses)

  1. Revenue Streams for Patanjali

5.1.   Sales Volume Segmentation by Nutrition and Supplements, Grocery, Medicine, Home Care, Personal Care, Books and Media, Health Care and Others, FY’2010-FY’2015

5.1.1.      Sales Volume Segmentation for Nutrition and Supplements by Chyawanprash, Badam Pak, Ghee, Honey, Health Drinks and Fruit Juice, FY’2010-FY’2015

5.1.2.      Sales Volume Segmentation for Grocery by Biscuit and Cookies, Spices, Candy, Herbal Tea, Sugar, Noodles, Mustard Oil and others), FY’2010-FY’2015

5.1.3.      Sales Volume Segmentation for Personal Care (Skin Care, Dental Care, Hair Care, Body Care, Toiletries and Eye Care), FY’2010-FY’2015

5.2.   Sales Volume by Each State, FY’2010-FY’2015

5.3.   Sales Volume by Company Owned Websites, Third Party Online Websites and Offline Stores (Company Owned Stores and Departmental Stores), FY’2013-FY’2015

5.4.   Sales Volume/Value Split by Rural and Urban Sales, FY’2010-FY’2015

5.5.   Product Range Split by Price (Below 100, between INR 100-300, Between INR 300-500 and above INR 500), FY’2010-FY’2015

  1. Consumer Profiles for Patanjali Products

6.1.   Why do Target Group Prefer Patanjali Products – Decision Making Matrix?

6.2.   Target Group by Age Group, Income Group, Gender, FY’2015

  1. Patanjali Instant Noodles

7.1.   Instant Noodles Market Size by Revenue and Sales Volume in India, FY’2010-FY’2015

7.2.   Share of Patanjali in Instant Noodles as well as for other companies, and mention how patanjali is operating vis-à-vis other players

7.3.   4PS for Instant Noddles

7.4.   Strength and Weakness

  1. Patanjali Honey

8.1.   Honey Market Size by Revenues and Sales Volume, FY’2010-FY’2015

8.2.   Share of Patanjali in Honey as well as for other companies, and mention how patanjali is operating vis-à-vis other players

8.3.   4PS for Patanjali Honey

8.4.   Strength and Weakness

  1. Patanjali Toothpaste

9.1.   Toothpaste Market Size by Revenues and Sales Volume, FY’2010-FY’2015

9.2.   Share of Patanjali in Toothpaste as well as for other companies, and mention how patanjali is operating vis-à-vis other players

9.3.   4PS for Patanjali Toothpaste

9.4.   Strength and Weakness

  1. Patanjali Face Wash

10.1.                    Face Wash Market Size by Revenues and Sales Volume, FY’2010-FY’2015

10.2.                    Share of Patanjali in Face Wash as well as for other companies, and mention how patanjali is operating vis-à-vis other players

10.3.                    4PS for Patanjali Face Wash

10.4.                    Strength and Weakness

  1. Patanjali Spices

11.1.                    Spice Market Size and Segments by Revenues and Sales Volume, FY’2010-FY’2015

11.2.                    Share of Patanjali in Spices as well as for other companies, and mention how patanjali is operating vis-à-vis other players

11.3.                    4PS for Patanjali Spices

11.4.                    Strength and Weakness

  1. Patanjali Biscuit and Cookies

12.1.                    Biscuit and Cookies Market Size by Revenues and Sales Volume, FY’2010-FY’2015

12.2.                    Share of Patanjali in Biscuit and Cookies as well as for other companies, and mention how patanjali is operating vis-à-vis other players

12.3.                    4PS for Patanjali Biscuit and Cookies

12.4.                    Strength and Weakness

  1. Patanjali Hair Oil

13.1.                    Revenues and Sales Volume from Hair Oil, FY’2010-FY’2015

13.2.                    Share of Patanjali in Hair Oil as well as for other companies, and mention how patanjali is operating vis-à-vis other players

13.3.                    4PS for Patanjali Hair Oil

13.4.                    Strength and Weakness

  1. Patanjali Ayurvedic Medicines

14.1.                    Ayurvedic Medicines Market Size by Revenues and Sales Volume, FY’2010-FY’2015

14.2.                    Share of Patanjali in Ayurvedic Medicines as well as for other companies, and mention how patanjali is operating vis-à-vis other players

14.3.                    4PS for Patanjali Ayurvedic Medicines

14.4.                    Strength and Weakness

  1. Financial Performance of Patanjali

15.1.                    Profit and Loss Statement (FY’2013-FY’2015) (Include revenues, net profit, Sales Volume, EBITDA and EBITDA Margin, Production Volume, Number of Dealers, Marketing Expenditure, CAPEX, Number of Employees, Number of Products, Number of Manufacturing Locations)

15.2.                    Balance Sheet Statement (FY’2013-FY’2015)

  1. Product Portfoilo along with pricing (Compare this with other companies selling the same product)
  2. Competitive Landscape for Patanjali Online Sales (Cover Parameters such as GMV, GMV by Product Categories, Number of Orders through Mobile and Desktop, Number of Products in a Cart, Average Ticket Size by Mobile and Desktop Orders, Margins, Cancellation Rate, Replacement Rate, number of warehouses, average size of warehouse, number of local fulfillment centers, logistics cost per order, cancellation charges and other parameters, weekday and weekend orders)
  3. Investment Model/Plant Analysis for Patanjali (Show it as we create investment model)
  4. Expected Financial Performance for Patanjali in Future (FY’2016-FY’2020)

19.1.                    BY Segment, FY’2016-FY’2020

19.2.                    Which Product Category will expand the most in future

19.3.                    Business Strategies/Future Plans for Patanjali

19.4.                    How it will Influence the other FMCG Companies in the Sector

19.5.                    Analyst Recommendations

19.5.1.  For Patanjali

19.5.2.  For Other FMCG Manufacturers

Contact:
Ken Research
Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications
[email protected]
+91-9015378249

www.kenresearch.com

 

Netflix and Amazon face quota on EU-made content

netflix(Media Release) On-demand video streaming services face a call that at least 20% of the catalogues they offer to EU subscribers should be made locally.

The European Commission has also proposed that the programming must be given “good visibility”.

It says there are cultural benefits to the move, which would affect Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

However, one expert suggested the new rules might not have as much impact on what was on offer as intended.

The call is part of a proposed update to the 28-nation bloc’s Audiovisual Media Services directive.

Other measures include:

  • a requirement that video-sharing platforms including YouTube adopt “better” measures to protect minors from violent content and people of all ages from clips that act as an incitement to hatred
  • a call for the creation of new symbols or phrases that would warn viewers of potentially harmful video content – such as bad language, sex or drugs – that would be used across the EU by both broadcasters and internet-based platforms
  • the ability for TV broadcasters to have more flexibility as to when they show adverts

“The way we watch TV or videos may have changed, but our values don’t” said Gunther Oettinger, commissioner for the digital economy.

One (Free-Pr-Online.com) industry watcher said that many of the online platforms already met the proposed quota requirement because they carried so much BBC and other British-made material.

But even if the UK leaves the EU, and its programmes no longer counted, it would not necessarily mean lots of additional content from other countries would have to be commissioned as a result.

“This is driven by the core problem that the EU identified 40 years ago, that the Hollywood studios and other US producers dominate global box office and broadcasting because they have scale that cannot be achieved in a fragmented EU,” said Alice Enders, from the media consultancy Enders Analysis.

“It does send out an important signal to Netflix and others.

“But let’s face it, the online services could meet the 20% quota by loading up themselves with lots of rubbish French, Italian, Spanish and whatever content.

“Or they could simply remove some of their lesser-watched non-EU material.”

Why does the European Commission say it wants the quota?

EU rules already oblige TV broadcasters to:

  • invest about 20% of their revenues into making or commissioning original content
  • to spend at least 50% of their time showing European works, including material made in their own country

But since audiences are spending increasing amounts of their time watching on-demand services, the EU civil service thinks the new measure is required.

“This will have a positive impact on cultural diversity and bring more opportunities for European creators,” it says.

How would a quota system work?

On-demand platforms would have to ensure at least a 20% of the catalogue they offered to EU subscribers was made up of “European works” and that this content was given prominence on viewers’ screens.

This would not be enforced centrally from Brussels.

Rather, individual countries would have the right to demand the likes of Netflix and Amazon invest in local productions and/or buy the rights to EU-made shows and films.

The companies could be given the option of either making the investments themselves or paying a levy into a fund that would then be shared out.

The commission says the platforms could make sure the content was visible by making it easy for users to search for European-made productions, ensuring it appeared on their front pages and streaming trailers.

Wouldn’t that make it hard for niche services to operate?

The European Commission acknowledges there could be a problem for smaller providers.

For example, it would be hard for Crunchyroll, a service that specialises in Japanese anime, or KorTV, which streams South Korean content, to meet the requirement.

As a result, it is proposed a mandatory exception be made for companies with “a low turnover and low audiences, as well as small and micro-enterprises”.

What do Netflix and Amazon make of this?

Netflix said it was against quotas, but was already investing in local content.

“Our members around the world love European programming, that’s why our investment in European programming, including Netflix original titles created in Europe, is growing,” said a spokesman.

The company recently started streaming Marseille, its first European-produced “original” TV series.

And in November, it will premiere The Crown, a series about Queen Elizabeth II, which was filmed in the UK.

It has also formed partnerships with European broadcasters to co-produce other shows.

It is also worth noting that the Commission acknowledges 21% of the films offered by Netflix are currently classed as being from the EU.

Amazon has yet to comment.

The company would potentially be less affected as, at present, Germany, Austria and the UK are the only EU countries where its video-streaming subscription service, Prime Video, is available.

But it is already making local shows, including the drama series Ripper Street, the forthcoming The Grand Tour – a car-themed show featuring the former hosts of Top Gear – and Wanted, a German-language thriller.

What happens next?

The revised directive still needs to go before the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

And even if it is adopted, local regulators would still have to enforce it.

Existing requirements affecting broadcasters are not always strictly adhered to.

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