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The first thing Nima Vaez-Zadeh does before starting work during football season is check up on his fantasy football team. “During the season when players get hurt, you’ve got to change your lineup, add people from the waivers,” the 30-year-old says. “You do spend up to an hour during lunch or whatever kind of monitoring everything, making sure you’re picking up the right people and your lineups are set.”
Fantasy football is a competition in which participants create imaginary teams from among the actual players in the National Football League (NFL). They score points based on the actual performance of their players in the real games. Money is often part of the equation. Each fantasy football participant contributes a certain amount of money to his or her respective league, which is won by the top player or players at the end of the season.
Washington-based Vaez-Zadeh, a key account manager in the hospitality world, is one of an estimated 12.5 million adults in the United States who will play fantasy football this year. But some estimate the number is actually much higher.
The Fantasy Sports and Gaming Association (FSGA) says there are 59 million fantasy sports players in the United States and Canada, and that about 39 million of those players prefer fantasy football. Overall, the fantasy sports industry is worth more than $7 billion a year, according to FSGA.
Like many Americans, Vaez-Zadeh has been playing fantasy football for years. And he doesn’t just take part in one competition. This season, he’s participating in four different fantasy football leagues with, in order, high school friends, college friends, co-workers and relatives.
“I enjoy it. You know my dream growing up was always to be, like, a GM [general manager] of a professional team,” he says. “This is the closest I’ll ever get to it, so it kind of makes me feel like I could put together a super team on my own and monitor that.”
But is that fun costing U.S. employers billions of dollars?
“We’re anticipating that fantasy football is going to cost employers this year around $9 billion in lost wages being paid to workers that are otherwise being unproductive participating in fantasy football activities in the office when normally they would be working,” says Andrew Challenger, vice president of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Although there’s no conclusive way to track employer losses, Challenger estimates workers will spend 30 minutes daily during work hours — outside of breaks or their lunch hour — checking on their players, proposing trades and doing related research.
But Challenger doesn’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. In fact, he thinks it would be a mistake for employers to crack down on fantasy football in the workplace, especially with smartphones and social media already providing lots of distractions for workers.
“Fantasy football is one of those few areas that employers can insert themselves,” Challenger says. “They can start their own league, and it gets people within the office talking to each other, often people from different departments within your organization … and we feel like that’s a really good investment for companies in terms of the culture of their organizations, employee morale and camaraderie.”
Challenger has seen these results firsthand. His company sanctions an official fantasy football league.
“We have a trophy that you get your name engraved on at the end of each season and get to keep that on your desk all year,” he says. “So, it’s kind of a fun non-monetary incentive.”
Vaez-Zadeh’s workplace doesn’t run an official league, but he says members of the leadership team do participate in the office fantasy football league.
Of course, everyone wants to win, but for Vaez-Zadeh, a key benefit of fantasy football is keeping in touch and interacting with old friends during the 17-week NFL season.
“A lot of you will do a live draft, so everyone plans a weekend to get together so you get to see each other,” he says. “Every year, you already have something on the books where you’ll see each other again. It gives you bragging rights for the year, too.” (VOA)
S.E.E. has unveiled plans to build a space station module that contains a sports and entertainment arena as well as a content studio by December 2024, reports variety.com.
Named SEE-1, the module is intended to host films, television, music and sports events as well as artists, producers and creatives who want to make content in the low orbit, micro-gravity environment. The facilities will enable development, production, recording, broadcasting and livestreaming of content.
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S.E.E. intend to produce its own content and events in the module as well as making it available to third-parties. Axiom Space, who in January 2022 won NASA's approval to build a commercial component of the International Space Station (ISS), will undertake the construction of SEE-1. The module will dock on Axiom's commercial arm, named Axiom Station, which will also host other commercial ventures, including space tourism.
Space Entertainment Enterprise (S.E.E), the company co-producing Tom Cruise's upcoming space movie.Metro/wikipedia
Axiom Station will then separate from the ISS in 2028.
S.E.E., which was co-founded in the UK by entrepreneurs and producers Elena and Dmitry Lesnevsky, is currently planning a fundraising round.
"SEE-1 is an incredible opportunity for humanity to move into a different realm and start an exciting new chapter in space," said Dmitry and Elena Lesnevsky in a statement.
"It will provide a unique, and accessible home for boundless entertainment possibilities in a venue packed with innovative infrastructure which will unleash a new world of creativity. With worldwide leader Axiom Space building this cutting-edge, revolutionary facility, SEE-1 will provide not only the first, but also the supreme quality space structure enabling the expansion of the two trillion-dollar global entertainment industry into low-Earth orbit."
"Axiom Station, the world's first commercial space station, is designed as the foundational infrastructure enabling a diverse economy in orbit," said Michael Suffredini, president/CEO of Axiom Space.
"Adding a dedicated entertainment venue to Axiom Station's commercial capabilities in the form of SEE-1 will expand the station's utility as a platform for a global user base and highlight the range of opportunities the new space economy offers."
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"SEE-1 will showcase and leverage the space environment in an unprecedented way," Axiom chief engineer Dr Michael Baine said. "The inflatable module design provides for around six meters diameter of unobstructed pressurized volume, which can be adapted to a range of activities - including an onboard state-of-the-art media production capability that will capture and convey the experience of weightlessness with breathtaking impact."
Richard Johnston, COO of S.E.E. added: "From Jules Verne to 'Star Trek,' science fiction entertainment has inspired millions of people around the world to dream about what the future might bring. Creating a next generation entertainment venue in space inspire opens countless doors to create incredible new content and make these dreams a reality."
(Keywords: New film studio, space, 2024, Richard Johnston, COO of S.E.E, "From Jules Verne to 'Star Trek,' science fiction, entertainment, space environment)
By Rohit Vaid
Till now, activities associated with laying of power and telecom transmission and distribution lines, roads, highways, railways and construction of facilities such as hospitals, affordable housing, power generation units, water treatment plants, SEZs and certain type of hotels amongst others were given such status.
Besides, these sectors are a part of harmonised master list for infrastructure sub-sectors. However, in April 2021, exhibition-cum-convention centre was included in the list. "Given the focus around electric vehicle, and need for significant investment in charging stations, if the government adds the sector in infrastructure list, the benefits arising out of it will be significant," said Vishal Kotecha, Director, India Ratings and Research. "Infra tag on sectors increases ability to raise funds, access to dedicated funds and lenders, foreign capital, lower interest rates among others."
Given the focus on electric vehicles, the advantages of including the industry in the infrastructure list will be enormous. Free SVG
In recent years, lenders have taken a severe hit on their books consequent to cater to the unique financing requirements of the infra sector. This necessitated regulatory changes and government support from time to time. "The pandemic has hit the retail, hospitality and automobile sectors hard and the need for credit and liquidity support is real and urgent," said Vipula Sharma, Senior Director - Ratings and Head - Infrastructure Ratings, Brickwork Ratings.
"Any likely move to reclassify lending to these sectors as infrastructure lending will enable the banks to lend at concessional rates and extended timeline which in turn would give the sectors time to recover from the three years of repeated extended closures and rebuild their businesses. It would also enable access to funds from a larger set of institutions and funds."
Furthermore, as the economy continues to recover from the prolonged pandemic, the sustainability of the recovery is clearly the key fiscal and monetary policy objective. Consequently, Centre would need to focus on not only enhancing public capital expenditure further in infrastructure but also encouraging the private sector including foreign players to invest in the sector.
The economy is still recovering from the pandemic, and the recovery must be sustained. Unsplash
Lately, the Centre has already taken an initiative to kickstart private sector capital expenditure through the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) programme that has already covered 13 sectors with an aggregate outlay of Rs 1.97 trillion spread over the next few years. "We believe there is a case for considering 'infrastructure sector' status to the healthcare and the EV charging eco-system. The criticality of adequate healthcare infrastructure across the country has increased significantly after the pandemic and the 'infrastructure' tag can be extended to not only hospitals but also diagnostic centres," said Suman Chowdhury, Chief Analytical Officer, Acuité Ratings & Research. "As regards EV, the government has started to provide cash subsidies for EV purchases but the need of the hour is to build the charging infrastructure in an expeditious manner. The 'infrastructure' tag can clearly help attract funds to the EV ecosystem." (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: lending, power, hospitals, rate, capital, government, pandemic, funds, budget, ratings, sector, infrastructure)
A team led by chief scientist Ravi Shankar, is working on two combinations to provide the safest medication to coronavirus patients. "Experts say that a combination of antivirals with different mechanisms can be more effective to counter the viral pandemic. We are working on two combinations - Umifenovir with Molnupiravir (an antiviral) and Umifenovir with Niclosamide (anti-parasitic)," he said.
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Molnupiravur drug has received only Emergency Use Authorisation in India and abroad. Though its usage showed reduced hospitalisation during clinical trials, its biggest drawback are the side-effects, he added.
"Now, we are trying to keep a low dosage of Molnupiravir in its combination with Umifenovir which may weed out the side-effects such as the risk of cartilage and muscle damage. If successful, it will make Umifenovir more effective in Covid-19 treatment," said the chief scientist. The other combination is Umifenovir with Niclosamide.
Niclosamide is known for its efficacy for Covid treatment but the biggest challenge is that its high dosage is required for treatment and that leads to side-effects. A safe and efficacious combination of Umifenovir with Niclosamide is being researched on for the exact dosage in the combination that can give positive results, he added.
CDRI director Prof Tapas Kundu said: "CDRI is working round-the-clock to develop drugs that can help in treating all variants of Covid-19, besides being economical and safe for people. We have achieved a major breakthrough with Umifenovir and are hopeful of developing a new drug to win the pandemic battle."
Molnupiravur drug has received only Emergency Use Authorisation in India.Wikipedia
(Keywords: CDRI director Prof Tapas Kundu, Niclosamide, Covid treatment, Umifenovir, Molnupiravir, safest medication, coronavirus)