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Alarmed at the Reliance Industries Ltd’s ecommerce push in 2020 with online retail arm JioMart that will deliver groceries and other household essentials, Amazon India and the Kishore Biyani-led Future Retail Ltd (FRL), part of the Future Group, on Monday announced long-term agreements to expand the reach of Future Retail stores and consumer brands through the Amazon India marketplace.
Amazon India will become the authorized online sales channel for Future Retail stores and FRL will ensure the participation of relevant stores on the Amazon India marketplace, and its programmes, the companies said in a statement.
The agreements focus on key categories like grocery and general merchandise and fashion and footwear.
Future Retail currently attracts over 35 crore footfalls across its retail network like Big Bazaar and Foodhall.
“Amazon and Future Retail share common values of serving customers everywhere in the best possible manner,” said Kishore Biyani, Chairman and Managing Director, Future Retail Limited.
“This arrangement will allow us to build upon each other’s strengths in the physical and digital space so that customers benefit from the best services, products, assortment and price,” he added.
The grocery segment is a big growth area in 2020.
Announced last week, JioMart will list over 50,000 products and will offer no questions asked return policy.
Currently in the soft-launch period, JioMart will provide savings up to Rs 3,000 to those who pre-register for JioMart before the platform goes live.
Reliance Retail’s entry into the online retail sector is the biggest challenge for Amazon and Walmart-Flipkart as the Mukesh Ambani-led behemoth is well positioned to create massive disruption in the market.
Reliance Retail operates 10,415 stores in more than 6,600 cities and towns, with 500 million annual footfalls – giving the company the kind of scale required to swiftly launch India-based operations.
“We have seen players like Grofers (backed by SoftBank, Tiger Global and Sequoia Capital) making inroads into the grocery segment. Social commerce will be another big growth area in 2020,” according to Satish Meena, Senior Forecast Analyst with Forrester.
“The viability of the existing and upcoming ecommerce players will be tested big time in 2020,” he added.
Future Retail Ltd will list on the ‘Amazon Prime Now’ programme, allowing customers to get food, grocery and general merchandise delivery within two hours in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad.
The company will soon list stores like Big Bazaar and Foodhall in more cities on the Amazon India marketplace.
“We are excited about the business collaboration with FRL. FRL’s national footprint of stores offering thousands of products across fashion, appliances, home, kitchen and grocery will now be available to millions of customers shopping on Amazon.in, in hours across over 25 cities,” said Amit Agarwal, SVP and Country Head, Amazon India.
Future Retail is present in more than 400 cities with over 1,500 stores that cover over 16 million square feet of retail space.
Last year, Amazon agreed to acquire a 49 per cent stake in Biyani’s Future Coupons, which owns 7.3 per cent of Future Retail. According to reports, Future Group’s Republic Day ‘Sabse Saste Din’ sale will also feature on Amazon.
In a separate announcement, Future Consumer Limited (FCL) and Amazon Retail India Private Limited (ARIPL) signed a long-term agreement for distribution of Future Consumer’s portfolio of brands online.
“Thiss collaboration with will expand the reach of our brands to new sets of customers on its online marketplace,” said Ashni Biyani, Managing Director, Future Consumer Limited.
“We are delighted to have Future Consumer’s strong brand portfolio added in, such as Golden Harvest and Desi Atta for staples, ready to eat food from Tasty Treat and dry fruits from Karmiq,” said Sameer Khetarpal, Director, ARIPL. (IANS)
The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.
The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.
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"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.
"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.
The immune system has to be educated not to attack one's own tissues and organs to prevent autoimmune disease. But pregnancy presents a unique challenge since the fetus expresses proteins found in the placenta as well as proteins whose genetics are distinct from the mother.
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"It was a conceptual leap to link Aire-expressing cells, which are critical for preventing autoimmune disease, to pregnancy," said Tippi Mackenzie, Professor of Surgery at UCSF's Center for Maternal Foetal Precision Medicine.
In the thymus, Aire-expressing cells begin interacting with other immune cells very early in life to teach them what not to attack. The thymus begins to shrink and is nearly gone by adulthood, by which time most immune cells have been educated. But as the thymus shrinks, the population of eTACs in lymph nodes and the spleen expands, the researchers explained.
The study suggests a healthy pregnancy may depend on having these cells around, they added. (IANS/KB)
The tiny emojis being shared on billions of devices worldwide can play a major role in digital communication, with most people saying that emoji compels them to feel more empathy towards others, according to an Adobe report.
Adobe's global emoji study found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
"We were surprised and delighted by the discoveries made in the survey, most notably how enthusiastic respondents were for emoji as a means to express themselves," the company said in a statement.
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Emojis sometimes get criticized for being overly saccharine, but this sweetness is key when it comes to diffusing some of the heaviness of online communication.
"Many of the emoji are focused on positive emotions, so it's easy to insert them into our conversations and lighten the mood," the Adobe study said.
It's not surprising that over half of those surveyed feel more comfortable using emojis than talking on the phone or in person.
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This applies to less intense situations too. Dating, for example, can be tricky — especially when it's online or via digital apps, as it often is now.
The study also found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
In celebration of World Emoji Day on Saturday, Adobe's '2021 Global Emoji Trend Report' surveyed 7,000 people in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, and South Korea. (IANS/KB)
Following the grand Richard Branson show where he carried Andhra Pradesh-born Sirisha Bandla and fellow space travelers on his shoulders after successfully flying to the edge of space, it is time for Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos to applaud Sanjal Gavande, one of the key engineers who designed the New Shephard rocket set to take Bezos and the crew to space on July 20.
Billionaire Bezos is set to fly to the edge of space aboard what is touted as the world's first unpiloted suborbital flight. Born in Kalyan, Maharashtra, Gavande is a systems engineer at Blue Origin who always dreamt of designing aerospace rockets.
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After completing Bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the University of Mumbai, she flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University. She also applied for an engineering job at the US space agency NASA but finally landed her dream job at Blue Origin
Sirisha flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University.IANS
Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Mary Wallace 'Wally' Funk, and other passengers are set to liftoff from west Texas and travel just beyond the edge of space on July 20. Blue Origin announced this week that Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old high school graduate from the Netherlands, would join the crew.
Oliver is the son of millionaire Joe Daemen, Founder, and CEO of the Dutch investment company Somerset Capital Partners. Blue Origin, however, did not reveal how much Daemen paid for his son's trip to space. Bezos chose July 20 as the launch date to honor the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
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The launch site for Blue Origin's first human flight will be in a remote location north of Van Horn, Texas, from where the firm had launched New Shepard for previous flights. Blue Origin has received final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to carry humans on the New Shepard rocket into space.
On July 12, Bandla touched the edge of space with three others, including Virgin Galactic's billionaire CEO Richard Branson. Bandla vaulted into space onboard VSS Unity 22. After the successful spaceflight, Branson carried the Indian-American on his shoulders while celebrating their flight to space, at Spaceport America in New Mexico. (IANS/KB)