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Amazon Removes Indian Flag Doormats after Government Criticism

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — India’s foreign minister criticized online retail giant Amazon.com after its Canadian website began selling doormats made from the South Asian nation’s flag.

Sushma Swaraj tweeted that Amazon should issue an “unconditional apology” and withdraw the “insulting” products. She added that India would be revoking the visas of the company’s officials living the country, if the doormats were not taken down.

Amazon said Wednesday it had removed the doormats from its site.

In a series of tweets, Swaraj asked India’s High Commission in Canada to broach the matter with the company, after it was brought to her attention by another Twitter user. The doormats, which were being sold by a third party retailer, were described as, “personalized durable machine-washable indoor/outdoor items.”

Amazon sells doormats featuring the flags of nations from around the world, however, in India, desecration of the flag is punishable with fines and imprisonment. Last June, Amazon found itself in a similar situation after doormats featuring Hindu gods went on sale. In years past, several questionable items, such as toilet seats, shoes and dog tags, have gone on sale adorned with the images of Hindu deities, particularly that of Ganesha, known most commonly in the West for his elephant face.

“It is inappropriate, and it is offensive to devotees,” said Rajan Zed, a Reno, Nev.-based Hindu activist who protests against such commercial products, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Some Hindu symbols have become particularly valuable to some brands.

For example, Brahma Beer in Brazil, estimated to be the world’s ninth top-selling beer, carries a name that also refers to a Hindu god. Zed said he contacted Anheuser-Busch InBev, now the owner of Brahma, about discontinuing the product, but he acknowledged that it was too significant a revenue source for the company to terminate.

In the U.S., the yoga industry is a multibillion-dollar per year business. One which has for years been churning out yoga mats, towels and exercise pants that place “om” symbols and images of Ganesha close to or directly underneath the feet and legs. The fact that these images are so valuable to companies is a real problem, said Suhag Shukla of the Hindu-American Foundation.

“On the one side, people are very familiar with Hindu concepts like karma or reincarnation” and practices like yoga, she said. But on the other hand, these elements have been stripped of any association with Hinduism.

Shukla’s group is trying to change that. Its members previously launched a “Take Back Yoga” campaign to educate the public about yoga’s connection to Hinduism.

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Former MGM executive Roma Khanna named Revolt TV’s next CEO

Former MGM executive Roma Khanna named Revolt TV’s next CEO

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Roma Khanna

Sean Combs Announces Roma Khanna CEO of Revolt TV

LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) — Sean Combs has announced Roma Khanna the CEO of Revolt TV.

“As Revolt continues to grow as a brand and expand globally, I knew we needed a seasoned executive with a proven track record to keep the momentum going and help me lead the network into the future,” said Combs. “Roma is that person. She has the experience and tenacity to build on Revolt’s success and as we continue to influence content and culture around the world.”

“After decades of building large-scale businesses in TV and media, I am excited to have the opportunity to work alongside visionary Sean Combs to get hands-on and redefine content models with a view to building a modern, relevant, global cultural brand,” said Khanna. “Revolt is ready to create and curate content and super-serve its audience on its own TV platform and beyond, living and breathing with its audience wherever they might be.”

Revolt says the company’s mission is to build on its platform to offer long- and short-form content revolving around hip-hop music and culture. According to Revolt’s website, “REVOLT is focused on expertly curating the best of the best in music and engaging youth in social conversation – on-air, on-line, on-demand. The multi-genre, multi-platform network offers breaking music news, videos, artist interviews, exclusive performances, and original programming.”

Revolt claims to have over 50 million young adult consumers through television, digital properties, social and mobile. REVOLT is accessible 24/7 – anytime, anywhere, any screen.

Khanna left MGM, where she served as president, in late 2015. She helped launch FX’s “Fargo” and History’s “Vikings.” She spent three years as president of global networks for NBC Universal’s international networks wing. She also oversaw the development of Hulu hit “Handmaid’s Tale.”

Revolt had been without a CEO for a year, since Keith Clinkscales left the company last August. Revolt launched as a linear channel in the U.S. in October 2013 and has since expanded to Africa and the Caribbean.

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Indian American Physician Vas Narasimhan Named CEO of Novartis

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Vas Narasimhan

Indian American Physician Vas Narasimhan Named CEO of Novartis

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Switzerland-based biotech giant Novartis says Indian American physician Vas Narasimhan will take reins as CEO on Feb. 1.

The 41-year-old Narasimhan joined Novartis in 2005. He currently serves as the company’s Global Head of Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer. He is also a member of Novartis’ Executive Committee.

“Both from a professional and a personal perspective, this is the right moment to hand the leadership reins of the company to Vas,” said current Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez. “Our strong pipeline and the strategic moves we have taken to focus the company have put Novartis on a strong path for the future. On the personal side, after 10 wonderful years in Switzerland, my family is ready to return to Silicon Valley and the U.S. I’m confident that Vas will be an excellent successor.”

Joerg Reinhardt, chairman of the Novartis board of directors, said the company anticipates “a smooth transition, as Joe built a strong leadership team and mentored his successor.”

Narasimhan graduated from Harvard Medical School. He also has a master’s in public policy from the university’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He earned undergraduate degree in biological sciences from the University of Chicago.

Prior to joining Novartis, he worked at McKinsey & Company, first as a consultant and then as an engagement manager.

An elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, Narasimhan has held a number of positions at Novartis.

Reinhardt expressed confidence in Narasimhan’s ability to lead the company to “expected next growth phase … The strength of Novartis is our ability to drive science-based innovation. Vas is deeply anchored in medical science, has significant experience in managing the interfaces between Research and Development and commercial units and has strong business acumen with a track record of outstanding achievements. As a physician, he has a strong patient focus and a genuine humane perspective and care for the mission and values of Novartis. As a result, the Board of Directors is confident that Vas is the right choice to lead Novartis on our expected next growth phase, driving innovation and further strengthening our competitive position.”

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Former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya to raise $500M for a large fund

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Charmath Palihapitiya

Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive and a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors is attempting to raise $500 million as he builds a large investment firm.

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive and a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors is attempting to raise $500 million as he builds a large investment firm.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Palihapitiya is listed as CEO of “blank check company,” Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings. The company plans to raise $500 million in its IPO and subsequently acquire emerging private businesses that have little incentive to go public.

“Our mission is to create an alternative path to a traditional IPO for disruptive and agile technology companies to achieve their long-term objectives and overcome key deterrents to becoming public,” the filing said.

Palihapitiya has often condemned the traditional venture model and expressed his admiration for billionaire Warren Buffett, who erected Berkshire Hathaway into one of the World’s largest publicly-traded holding companies over a half century.

Social Capital is going to be more like a “bastard stepchild of Berkshire Hathaway and Blackstone and BlackRock” than a traditional venture firm, Palihapitiya said at an event in 2015.

One of Palihapitiya’s goals in the venture is bringing together “technologists, entrepreneurs, and technology-oriented investors,” the filing said.

The Wall Street Journal reported Palihapitiya’s team is planning to meet with investors soon, then initiating the IPO shortly thereafter on the New York Stock Exchange.

Hedosophia has offices in Hong Kong and London. Ian Osborne, CEO of Hedosophia, will be president of the new holding company. Former Skype CEO Tony Bates and former Twitter executive Adam Bain are among the Board members.

Palihapitiya spoke to Diya TV moments after the Warriors championship win in 2017

 

 

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