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Reliance Entertainment Covid-19 fundraiser ‘We For India’ to feature Ed Sheeran, Mick Jagger, AR Rahman, 100+ artistes




Some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Ed Sheeran, Mick Jagger and A.R. Rahman, among many other personalities, are coming together for a global fundraiser on Facebook on Independence Day. It is expected to unlock philanthropic donations upwards of Rs 25 crore for Covid-19 relief work.

Reliance Entertainment, the leading media and entertainment company, is producing the event, ‘We For India’, in partnership with The World We Want (WWW), a purpose-driven enterprise, and supported by GiveIndia, India’s largest and most trusted giving platform. The exclusive streaming partner for this fundraiser is Facebook India.

‘We For India: Saving Lives, Protecting Livelihoods’ will be livestreamed on August 15 at 7.30 PM IST to raise funds for Covid-19 relief missions of GiveIndia.

The celebrity participants will express solidarity and support for saving lives and livelihoods in India after the devastation caused by the second wave of the pandemic. All proceeds from the mega event will be utilised by GiveIndia to provide both humanitarian aid and strengthen healthcare infrastructure.

Namit Sharma, Creative Producer, Reliance Entertainment, said: “The last 18 months have been transformational and have taught us the importance of giving back. Indian society is at a critical juncture where millions are economically displaced due to loss of jobs or loved ones. While future waves may bring other challenges, the job at hand is to help our fellow Indians as much as we can now.

“Our effort in putting together this fundraiser, working closely with multiple partners and talent from across the globe has taught us one thing — the world is one, and there is no dearth of goodness and kindness.”

Sharma added: “Personally, I’m grateful to the team that came together to put together ‘We for India’. We hope the audience will love the show and also open their hearts in helping fellow Indians.”

This three-hour videothon will feature more than 100 artistes, including leading Bollywood filmmakers Rajkumar Hirani, Karan Johar, Imtiaz Ali, Farah Khan, Vikramaditya Motwane, Vikram Bhatt and Ribhu Dasgupta.

International stars and music sensations will also be featuring in the show, such as Ed Sheeran, Annie Lennox alongside her daughter, Lola Lennox, Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, actress Ini Dima-Okojie, superstar and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Nancy Ajram, co-founder of CHIC Nile Rodgers, music group Sister Sledge ft Sledgendary, among others. Inspiring messages will also be shared by storyteller Jay Shetty and television star Dina Shihabi.

Several interesting interactions will also be seen with stars such as Ajay Devgn, Saif Ali Khan, Akkineni Nagarjuna, R. Madhavan, Farhan Akhtar, Shreyas Talpade, Tusshar Kapoor, Prosenjit Chatterjee and Pratik Gandhi. The show will be hosted by the dapper Rajkummar Rao.

Sweta Agnihotri, CEO – Content and Syndication, Reliance Entertainment, said: “Unity, empathy and community are the ideals we strive for at Reliance Entertainment, and we believe in their power to be a force of good. Case numbers may have subsided for now, but they do not truly reflect the on-ground reality.

“After almost a year and a half of the pandemic and after two waves, there has been a long-term health and economic fallout for families. That is why we believe in ‘We For India’, standing in solidarity with the people of India, and together aiming to raise much needed funds,” Agnihotri added.

Veteran writer Javed Akhtar, dance maestros Prabhudeva and Remo D’Souza, music world’s superstars A.R. Rahman, Shankar Mahadevan, Usha Uthup, Pandit Bikram Ghosh, Mithoon, Amit Trivedi, Vishal Dadlani and Shekhar Ravjiani, Salim Merchant and Sulaiman Merchant, Swanand Kirkire, Shantanu Moitra, Kanika Kapoor, Lisa Mishra and sporting superstar Mahesh Bhupati will also be seen participating in some of the most endearing and enthralling performances.

The show will also feature medical professionals who will share their experiences and urgent requirements to keep India safe.

Further amplifying the glamour quotient will be diva queens such as Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Vidya Balan, Sonakshi Sinha, Sara Ali Khan, Rakul Preet Singh, Malaika Arora, Dia Mirza, Kalki Koechlin, Sanya Malhotra, Ananya Panday and Alaya F.

Proceeds from the event will be utilised to provide critical-care facilities such as oxygen concentrators, cylinders, ventilators, and essential medicines as well as ICU units.

Funds will also go towards supporting the staffing of vaccination centres. Funds will also be mobilised to support long-term public recovery and rebuild livelihoods such as those thrust into poverty due to a decline in earnings and complete loss of income.

Humanitarian efforts in the form of meal and ration kits will be provided to the rural and urban families hit financially by the pandemic. Cash relief will be provided to families who have lost an immediate member.

Industrywide support for producing the fundraiser was provided by Amar Ujala, Artist Original, Bling Entertainment, CAA Foundation, Collective Artists Network, D’Artist Talent Ventures, Dharma Cornerstone Agency, Eros International, Exceed, Matrix, Merchant Records, Mukta Arts and Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment, Saregama, Shemaroo Entertainment, Sony Music, Tips International, T-Series, Universal Music Group, UTV Music, UTV Software Communication, Warner Music, YRF Talent and Zee Music Company.

The list of artistes/celebrities participating in the ‘We for India’ concert: A.R. Rahman, Adah Sharma, Aditi Rao Hydari, Ajay Devgn, Ajit Mohan, Akkineni Nagarjuna, Alaya F, Amit Mishra, Amit Tandon, Ananya Panday, Ankur Tewari, Annie Lennox, Arjun Kapoor, Arjun Mathur, Atul Satija, Bickram Ghosh, Dia Mirza, Dina Shihabi, Divyenndu Sharma, Dr Ankesh Sahetya, Dr Himanshu Mehta, Dr Sanjay Arora, Dr Tanu Singhal, Ed Sheeran, Farah Khan, Farhan Akhtar, Guru Randhawa, Harmeet Singh, Harrdy Sandhu, Hrishitaa Bhatt, Imtiaz Ali, Ini Dima-Okojie, Jaaved Jaaferi, Javed Akhtar, Jay Shetty, Jeeveshu Ahluwalia, Johnny Lever, Kabir Khan, Kalki Koechlin, Kanika Kapoor, Karan Johar, Karan Wahi, Kirti Kulhari, Lisa Mishra, Lola Lennox, Mahesh Bhupathi, Malaika Arora, Manish Malhotra, Manjari Fadnnis, Manmeet Singh, Meezaan, Mick Jagger, Mira Kapoor, Mithoon, Nakuul Mehta, Nancy Ajram, Natasha Mudhar, Nikhita Gandhi, Nile Rodgers, Nushrratt Bharuccha, Parampara Tandon, Parineeti Chopra, Prabhudeva, Pragya Jaiswal, Prakriti Kakar, Pratik Gandhi, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Purab Kohli, R. Madhavan, Rahul Bose, Rajkumar Hirani, Rajkummar Rao, Rakul Preet Singh, Rannvijay Singha, Remo D’Souza, Ribhu Dasgupta, Rohit Saraf, Sachet Tandon, Saif Ali Khan, Salim Merchant, Sanjana Sanghi, Sanya Malhotra, Sapan Verma, Saqib Saleem, Sara Ali Khan, Shankar Mahadevan, Shantanu Moitra, Sharad Kelkar, Shekhar Ravjiani, Shibasish Sarkar, Shilpa Rao, Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Shreyas Talpade, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Siddhanth Kapoor, Sidharth Malhotra, Sister Sledge ft Sledgendary, Sonakshi Sinha, Sonu Sood, Steven Spielberg, Sukriti Kakar, Sulaiman Merchant, Swanand Kirkire, Tanya Maniktala, Tisca Chopra, Tusshar Kapoor, Usha Uthup, Varun Sharma, Vidya Balan, Vikram Bhatt, Vikramaditya Motwane and Vishal Dadlani.

Natasha Mudhar, founder of ‘The World We Want’, said: “We believe in the power that lies in global solidarity when everyone, everywhere comes together in a collective effort to create change. Leveraging the power of popular culture, we hope ‘We For India’ will entertain and inspire action, encouraging the global population to act now to raise vital funds to not only save lives but to restore, rebuild, and renew lives devastated by the crisis.

“This is one of the largest coordinated efforts to raise support to address the impact of the pandemic. Together, we can prevent this health crisis from having a lasting impact. ‘We For India’ is a clarion call that we are all with India – side by side.”

Atul Satija, CEO of GiveIndia, said: “We all know that the pandemic and the suffering it has caused is far from over. ‘We For India’ is a great, timely initiative to remind us of the need to continue to provide humanitarian aid and strengthen our health infrastructure. During the peak of the second wave we at GiveIndia saw that compassion is not exclusive to any one class or community.”

He added: “People from all walks of life chipped in to help – if not with money, with their time as volunteers. So, when our heroes in the world of entertainment lead the giving, it is sure to inspire our collective altruism once again.”

Manish Chopra, Director and Head of Partnerships, Facebook India, said, “Millions of people have been impacted by the pandemic and our mission of building communities and bringing people together is even more relevant today than ever before.

“It is truly inspiring to see celebrities and artists from across the globe come together for this noble cause; and as part of our Social for Good initiative we are happy to partner with ‘We for India’ to help provide relief to urban and rural communities impacted by Covid-19. Together, we will make a difference,” Chopra concluded.

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Small LPG cylinders, financial services at FPS proposed





 The Centre on Wednesday proposed to sell small LPG cylinders through Fair Price Shops (FPS) across the country.

There is a proposal to provide financial services through FPS and extending MUDRA loans to its dealers for capital augmentation.

There are a total of 5.32 lakh FPS in the country. With this step, the Centre is aiming at taking its services closer to poorer and needy consumers.

Focussing on enhancing financial viability of FPS, Department of Food and Public Distribution Secretary, Sudhanshu Pandey in a video conference with representatives of multiple ministries and PSUs stressed on the need of taking proactive measures for the same.

The representatives from oil marketing companies appreciated the proposal for retail selling of small LPG cylinders through FPS and informed that “necessary support required would be provided for the same in coordination with interested state or Union Territory (UT) governments,” said a release from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in New Delhi.

The representative from the Department of Financial Services appreciated the government’s proposal to provide financial services through FPS, extending MUDRA loans to FPS dealers for capital augmentation and informed that necessary support would be provided for it in coordination with interested state or UT governments.

Earlier, the CEO, Common Service Centre (CSC), gave a presentation about the various service offerings provided by it. An update on the activities undertaken by CSC to tie-up with individual state or UT governments to take this initiative forward was presented, too.

Set up under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the CSC scheme provides a centralised and collaborative framework for delivery of services to the citizens.

In his concluding remarks, Sudhanshu Pandey mentioned that different states or UTs can take up these initiatives and tailor them to suit their individual requirements.

Representatives from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, CSC e-Governance Services India Limited and all states/UTs participated in the virtual conference, the release added.

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Google logs record $18.9 bn profit, Search and YouTube soar




Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has posted an all-time record revenue of $61.9 billion for the July-September quarter, along with record profits at $18.9 billion.

Google Services revenues were $59.9 billion, up 41 per cent, and Google Search and other advertising revenues of $37.9 million in the quarter were up 44 per cent.

The company said in a statement late on Tuesday that YouTube advertising revenues of $7.2 billion were up 43 per cent due to strength in both direct response and brand advertising.

“Our long-term investments in AI and Google Cloud are helping us drive significant improvements in everyone’s digital experience,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google.

“Search remains the heart of what we do. We have made remarkable advances over the past 23 years that benefits Search and related products like Google Assistant, which just celebrated five years,” he added.

For Google Cloud, the revenues were $5 billion for the third quarter, up 45 per cent.

“Google Cloud Platform’s (GCP) revenue growth was again above cloud overall, reflecting significant growth in both infrastructure and platform services,” said Ruth Porat, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

At the Alphabet level, headcount grew by nearly 6,000 in the third quarter, including seasonal campus hires.

“We expect robust headcount growth in Q4 for both Google Services and Google Cloud,” the company said.

Alphabet said that with respect to foreign exchange impact on reported revenues, it expects virtually no impact in Q4 in contrast to a 1.5 per cent tailwind in Q3 and 4 per cent in its Q2.

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Petrol, diesel rates raised again by 35 paise/ltr





Petrol and diesel prices increased again on Wednesday after a two-day break as global oil prices failed to relent and continued to remain firm.

Accordingly, the pump price of petrol in Delhi increased by 35 paise per litre to jump to Rs 107.94 a litre while diesel prices also increased by the same margin to reach Rs 96.67 a litre, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers.

In the financial capital Mumbai, petrol prices have now risen to Rs 113.80 per litre while diesel to Rs 104.8 5 a litre, the highest among all metros.

Across the country as well petrol and diesel prices increased between 35-40 paise per litre, but their retail rates varied depending on the level of local taxes on petroleum products.

The fuel prices remained static last week on Monday and Tuesday, but had risen for four straight days by 35 paise per litre previously before again rising for five consecutive days between Wednesday and Sunday. It remained static again on Monday and Tuesday before rising again on Wednesday. There was no change in rates on October 12 and 13.

Diesel prices have now increased for 25 of the last 33 days taking up its retail price by Rs 8.15 per litre in Delhi.

With diesel prices rising sharply, the fuel is now available at over Rs 100 a litre in several parts of the country. This dubious distinction was earlier available to petrol that had crossed Rs 100 a litre-mark across the country a few months earlier.

Petrol prices had maintained stability since September 5, but oil companies finally raised the pump prices last week and this week given a spurt in the product prices lately. Petrol prices have also risen on 22 of the previous 29 days taking up its pump price by Rs 6.75 per litre.

Crude prices have been on a surge rising over three year high level of over $ 86 a barrel now as global demand remains firm while OPEC+ continues to move slowly on increasing production. Since September 5, when both petrol and diesel prices were revised, the price of petrol and diesel in the international market is higher by around $9-10 per barrel as compared to average prices during August.

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